During the COVID lockdown last year, hairstylist Olga Arreola decided to grow the accessory section of her Bella Mia Salon into a boutique.
“Salons were closed and retail stores were open, so I decided to make an investment in the boutique,” she said. “The building was open, and since I had to pay for it still, I added more merchandise—a lot more women’s clothing.”
Located at 729 San Benito Street in Hollister, Ella Boutique is easy to miss, as it shares space with Bella Mia Salon.
Arreola purchases clothing from vendors in-person, as she prefers to ensure the quality of clothing she sells. She said after searching around Hollister for women’s attire, she wanted to provide locals with options that couldn’t be found anywhere nearby.
“I like to touch and feel to make sure I know what I’m buying,” she said. “That’s why I hand-pick. I know there’s a lot of stuff available online, but I choose to make a trip and really look for clothing that is going to [appeal to everyone].”
New customer Kendra Baron was surprised by what she found at the boutique.
“The boots are phenomenal and the sweaters are so soft,” she said. “I’m excited to have something like this in town. It gives us some new styles other than what Target has.”
“I want to make it a little bit different than what’s out in the department stores,” Arreola said. “And it’s a small town, so I wanted to make something available for trendy, casual, and work attire. It’s got a little bit of everything.”
A single mother of three, Arreola has made the boutique a family affair—her son Julian, 20, created and runs the boutique’s website; her daughter Isabela, 17, works part-time at the front desk; and her son Noah, 15, has expressed interest in styling hair.
“Hopefully one of them will follow in my footsteps and take over something,” she said.
A hairdresser for over 20 years, Arreola has not left that profession and doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. But she considers herself a fashionista and loves choosing merchandise to sell at her boutique.
“It’s like having two full-time jobs,” she said, noting how the boutique has been growing.
Arreola said the Ella Boutique serves all types of women. Sizes range from small to plus-sizes, and customers are encouraged to also visit the boutique’s website to find more options.
A separate sign for the boutique is being made and will be placed outside along with Bella Mia.
Arreola said she hopes to eventually open a separate store for Ella Boutique.
“I’ve looked around town for a location, but I guess I will open one when the time is right,” she said. “So far, it’s working this way. And it keeps growing.”
Ella Boutique is open Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
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