With the aroma of fries wafting through the section of Fifth Avenue South that is home to Hamburger Harry’s, it could be easy to miss the area’s newest business. Inconspicuously tucked beneath the restaurant — across from the Edmonds IGA store on Howell Way — is a new fashion oasis for the women of Edmonds, Straight Up Fashions, which officially opened at the location last Tuesday.
Owner and manager Christina Schafer started the store in her hometown of Pullman in 2006 after earning a degree in fashion design at the Art Institute of Seattle. However, after just a couple of years in business, Schafer noticed that the store was selling more online than in the Pullman location. So she closed down her Pullman shop and headed for Seattle with her family, keeping the business online at first and moving it into a space in Seattle’s Westlake neighborhood shortly after.
But for Schafer, the product of a small-town upbringing and lifestyle, running a shop in Seattle felt stressful and relationships with customers seemed impersonal. And so again, she packed up the store and this time landed in Edmonds, chosing the location largely because of the proximity it gives her to nearby King’s School, which both of her children attend.
“I was happy to get out of the rush and come to Edmonds where people walking around are actually enjoying their day,” Schafer said.
Already, Schafer thinks she made a wise decision, given the warm welcome she has received so far from both customers and nearby business owners.
And by being in a smaller community, she sees an opportunity to develop more personal relationships with her customers because she can know them for years.
“People here care,” Schafer. said in an interview Friday. “The owner at the restaurant above even got my kids ice cream cones yesterday.”
Schafer’s goal is to provide unique hand-picked brands and items for women in the area. “A lot of fashionable moms are going elsewhere to buy things,” she said. “I want to keep it in Edmonds, keep the hipness here and stay local. My hope is to appeal to moms and daughters, and be a place where they can all shop together.”
Though Straight Up Fashions carries some brands that also appear in department stores, Schafer emphasizes that she tries to do things differently from them. Rather than aiming for trendiness, she seeks out styles that customers can keep in their wardrobe for years.
“Everything that is on the floor is how many there is,” Schafer said. “So it’s not like we keep restocking from the back and all of Edmonds will end up wearing the same dress.”
Catering to clothing collectors, Schafer said, is what Straight Up Fashions is all about. And because she plans to stay in Edmonds long term, she hopes to become somewhat of a personal stylist for the city’s residents.
To browse through the selections that Schafer has to offer at Straight Up Fashions, visit 610 5th Ave. S. Suite D from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday. Select styles are also available to order online at StraightUpFashions.com.
— Story and photo by Olivia Fuller