Walking into the Dress In Love boutique in Southcenter is truly a fashion lover's dream - a wondrous escape from the outside world where colors and prints play vibrantly together.
Karina Silva is the proud owner of Dress In Love, one of the few locally-owned clothing stores inside the Westfield Southcenter Mall. Silva has worked in the clothing industry since she was 21, and prior to opening the shop had operated The Shoecloset, another women's boutique, in Southcenter. After six years of business, Silva had to close in 2019 - but she's thrilled to be back with a brand new store.
"I love the whole process of putting a store together, and I missed retail so much," she said.
From the looks of the boutique, she is pretty great at it! The aesthetic is Instagram heaven: walls of multi-colored patterns of pink, crystal chandeliers and a decked out floral swing near the front of the store.
Silva's love for fashion has inspired her entrepreneurial journey, and dresses are the focal point of her boutique. Since the Seattle area isn't necessarily known for trendy fashion, she wanted to offer more of a variety to those looking for some stylish glamour.
"I always had a passion for fashion and also knew I wanted to own my own business one day," said Silva. "[I] constantly struggled to find cute clothing in Seattle and realizing there wasn't any store with sexier, feminine clothing. I wanted to fill that gap and bring something different to my hometown."
Shoppers will find a variety of women's party dresses in various colors, cocktail-style dresses, bandage dresses, jumpers, tops, bottoms, and sets to wear. The boutique also carries some accessories in rotation, like eyelash extensions, lip balm, face masks, foot masks and facial sprays. The boutique has gained a following of women looking for a beautiful dress to wear for a night on the town, special occasion, or just to feel glamorous.
"I think that's my favorite part of my job," Silva said. "Seeing my dresses on my customers and knowing I picked a dress that someone loved enough to wear on a special day for them."
Operating inside a mall can be very challenging.
"[...] but also very rewarding!" said Silva. "I love our location and being inside Westfield because it challenges me every day to meet mall expectations, and I get to meet so many amazing women."
Silva's sister Jasmine also works at the boutique and helps operate the store. Since Silva recently had her baby boy, she is grateful for having her sister help her run the store, as life has gotten busier both personally and professionally. She also offers classes for aspiring entrepreneurs.
"I recently started offering a class called 'Racks on Racks,' I teach absolutely everything you need to know to operate a successful boutique online or in-store," she said. "I truly believe there is room for everyone to be successful in the clothing industry and I love empowering other women."
You can visit Dress in Love at 2800 Southcenter Mall, Seattle, WA 98188.