By Anthony Orozco
Reading Eagle, Pa.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Entrepreneur Talia Ortiz hopes her new fashion boutique called “Slay” helps to re-energize business activity in Reading.
In a world where people increasingly shop online, Talia Ortiz wants to bring back face-to-face retail.
She is also trying to promote small retail business in a city once known for its stores and shopping, Ortiz said.
“With online shopping you may buy the wrong size and then you have the hassle of shipping it back but with us, you can bring it back and get something else,” said Ortiz, 22. “Also, I want to have a place in Reading where women can shop because there is not a lot of stores on Penn Street anymore.”
Ortiz hosted an opening for her Slay Boutique at 200 S. Ninth St. on Saturday, welcoming friends, family and customers to peruse the business she says is nothing short of a dream come true.
The unusual name, Slay, is meant as in “you have a killer outfit on” or “you’re killing that look.”
“I’ve wanted to open my own boutique since I was 16 years old,” Ortiz said.
Ortiz came to Reading from New York when she was 13 and two years later got a job at Mixx Boutique in West Reading, where she learned everything she knows about retailing from owner Julia Katerman.
“I fell in love with the whole boutique feel. I loved Julia and that she was her own boss,” Ortiz said. “I wanted to do that but I never had the push.”
Ortiz worked full time at the store for two years and then intermittently for another year.
Ortiz, an I-LEAD Charter School graduate, went on work at a local bank. She’s still there.
But something was missing in her life.
Ortiz said her fiance, David Mendoza, saw that she was feeling unfulfilled and needed to do something for herself.
David’s brother, Rolando, is an entrepreneur and the owner of Mendoza Auto Repair & Body Shop in Fleetwood and learned of the Ninth Street location opening up.
“Rolando said ‘If you don’t do it you’re never going to and if it doesn’t work out, at least you tried,’ ” Ortiz said. “My fiance said he knew if I did do this it would be successful and that was the push I needed.”
In two months, Ortiz dove headlong into the business.
The business will carry more than 200 different items of women’s clothing, including rompers, jumpsuits, crop tops, clubbing dresses and everyday wear.
The store will sell Fashion Nova attire, a web-based clothing line that has a few brick and mortar locations.
Ortiz said she wants her store to be a place where women can get unique items and plans on selling only two of each size — small, medium and large — of every piece of merchandise.
“I want women to come and get an exclusive look,” Ortiz said. “I want to help women and make them feel welcome when they come in the boutique.”
The boutique may add men’s clothes in the fall, she said.
Though Ortiz is achieving her own dream, she said she wants to take the leap of faith of starting the business for her children Ella, 3, and Stephen, 8 months.
“I want to be a role model for my kids,” Ortiz said. “I want them to be able to think about their own goals and say ‘if my mom can do it, so can I.’ ”