Sometimes the plan you have for yourself isn’t always the path you ultimately take. For many, a change in plans can be difficult, but for others, it’s a door of opportunity to walk through with success waiting for you on the other side. That is exactly what happened to one local fashion entrepreneur.
Several years ago on Sixth Street, back when you could easily find parking, there was a boutique named Giada. The large boutique stocked beautiful, contemporary clothing and was run by a young and energetic Stephanie Coultress, who embraced every part of the business and helped make her very successful. Her plan to be a family counselor took a back seat and she moved forward with the next business title, a boutique owner.
When the Giada boutique made plans to close its doors, Stephanie decided with a partner to open up a store in a new area of town. The 2nd Street District was growing as a new shopping destination in downtown Austin and there wasn’t a store offering contemporary men’s and women’s clothing. It was good timing, a new opportunity and with a desire to be her own boss, Stephanie opened Estilo in 2005.
“I named the store Estilo because it means style in Spanish. I thought it was a good strong name for both men and women”, said Stephanie.
The store survived the mid-2000s recession and went on to be a fashion destination downtown. In fact, Estilo was an 11-year anchor in the 2nd Street District and was also the longest tenant on the block. When Stephanie’s lease was up for renewal, it was time to make some new decisions. A new opportunity was waiting at her doorstep.
A space in the Casis Shopping center in the posh Tarrytown area of Austin was available and she decided a second store was the new opportunity. She also lived in the neighborhood which made it easier to handle her busy schedule with her husband Todd and two young daughters.
The expansion of two stores was short-lived and she decided a one-store business was just fine. “It was the best decision I could have made. It’s the right clientele that comes through the store all day long”, added Stephanie.
The store stocks only women’s clothing now, more contemporary casual wear than in the downtown location and now there are shoes! Stephanie supports local jewelry designers stocking Megan Wells with Ruby & Violet and Monica Ruiz of pharao jewelry to name a few.
Stephanie volunteers her time with several Austin charities, Lifeworks, and SafePlace. She also was a 2015 Golden Boot winner for Trailblazer at the Austin Fashion Awards.
Running an Austin fashion business is hard, but with Stephanie’s determination, resiliency and timing, she has thrived. “I love being an Austin business because everyone is so supportive and everyone wants you to succeed,” said Stephanie.
What’s not to love about a local fashion success story?