ADDRESS: 221 NW 2nd Street, Corvallis, Oregon 97330
PHONE NUMBER: 541-286-4040
OWNER: Rebecca Irene Robinson
YEARS IN BUSINESS: 2
WHAT THEY SELL: Women’s apparel, jewelry, pottery, handbags, candles and bath items, linens, gifts, cards
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: Irenes’ offers an intimate shopping experience in a warm, friendly, inviting atmosphere. Most of the items sold there are not sold in other shops.
Nestled in a small alcove on 2nd Street just north of Peak Sports, Irenes’ Boutique is one of Downtown Corvallis’s newer treasures. Owner Rebecca Robinson has created a tasteful, welcoming atmosphere in her cozy women’s clothing store. She is committed to supporting local artisans and to featuring eco-friendly products. Greeting customers with her warm smile and friendly “hello,” Rebecca invites both window shoppers and serious buyers to have a look around.
Rebecca, how did you get started? I chose Corvallis because it’s so community-oriented. There’s a thriving downtown, and I figured it was a perfect place to start a business. The name of my shop originated from a long line of Irenes in my family. My middle name and my sister’s middle name is Irene. One of my grandmother’s first names is Irene and another grandmother also has the middle name Irene. Irene represents many significant elements of these women in my life. One of my grandmothers loved Value Village, vintage clothing, bargains, and treasures. She taught me how to refurbish and reuse everything. My other grandmother was a classic shopper, but she loved things made by local artists. I like to feel my shop is the perfect blend of these wonderful women.
What is your niche? We have eco-friendly apparel and jewelry handcrafted by local artists. We carry Clair Vintage Inspired, Hubris Apparel, Ecoskin, Blue Platypus, Whitewash, Appetite (handbags and linens), Anina K. handbags, Dani Bath, La Petite Vie, just to name a few. I love to support people who are artisans, people who want to quit their day jobs. I enjoy creating and recreating my shop.
Do you have any specialties? Having independent designers makes my shop special and local. If a featured jeweler, for example, sells their things here, I like them to keep those items specific to my shop.
How many people do you employ? There are three of us now – myself, Mary who has been with me the longest, and Jacquelyn. They offer me the much needed break to spend quality time with my family.
Are there other ways you contribute to the community? Because I own my own business, I can contribute to whomever or whatever cause I like. Kids and cancer are the causes I feel passionate about right now.
What has your business done to model sustainability? I purchase mostly locally produced items, certainly Oregon based manufacturers. The things I choose to sell have either been made from recycled or up-cycled materials.
What inspires you about your work? I personally do not have one specific creative talent but I appreciate creative people. What people bring to me to sell inspires me. My neighbors here in the complex are so supportive of me and my shop, they are also a source of inspiration for me. People who shop here and appreciate my selection and admire the pieces are also a real inspiration.
(Interview and article by Debra Hascall – October 21, 2012)
The Local Business of the Week program is designed to help the Corvallis community identify our locally-owned independent businesses by featuring one business each week. The program is part of the Buy Local First campaign co-sponsored by the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition and the Corvallis Independent Business Alliance.