Rose’s Fashion House in Taos has a cozy, yet fashionable feel to it with a comfy leather sofa under the chandelier lamp, Audrey Hepburn posters, with mannequins dressed to the nines in hats and sparkling jewelry.
You can browse the racks and shelves or just sit and have a good chat with the owner, Rose Martinez.
“I love fashion,” she said. “I am so happy for having a chance to share it with other women. Fashion isn’t frivolous; it can also be empowering and validating.”
Martinez says she has always been interested in clothes and design, but it wasn’t until a year ago that she could bring her dream project, her very own “house of fashion,” to life.
“Now I am having fun with it,” she said.
She has inspirational signs all over the place, such as, “Successful women still have their feet on the ground, they just have better shoes.”
And while you can find shoes of many different kinds at Rose’s Fashion House, high heels are in the majority.
“Some are really comfortable,” Martinez said assuringly. “Don’t be intimidated by high heels. Once you get used to them, you don’t even notice you have them on.”
Rose’s Fashion House has an eclectic inventory, mostly on the stylish side. There are outfits for special occasions, like prom dresses, as well as work ensembles, blouses and skirts.
“The ‘little black dress’ is my old-time favorite,” she said. “It’s still an essential part of any woman’s wardrobe. So simple and elegant, and you can wear all sorts of accessories to dress it up or down.”
She has a variety of little black dresses in many sizes and styles.
“I carry a large variety of name-brand, classic clothing to meet the needs [of] every woman at every age,” she said. “But I favor dresses. They make you feel like a princess, a businesswoman or an everyday successful woman.”
Martinez’s goal is to learn more in the areas of design and fashion consulting to integrate them into her business.
“I want to help women express their inner beauty through the way they present themselves,” Martinez said.
Martinez was born and raised in Taos. She attended the University of New Mexico and received an associate degree in early childhood education. She currently works at Enos Garcia Elementary as an educational assistant for Exceptional Programs.
“I love working with children and helping them with their daily and academic needs,” she said. “The staff is amazing as well, but the kids are the ones that make the job enjoyable.”
Martinez said she has always had an artistic side.
“When I was raising my children, I enjoyed painting, wood burning retablos, sewing fiesta tops and skirts,” she said. “At the time, those projects met my need to express myself as an artist. Fortunately, I now have the time and desire to help other women look and feel their best and, at the same time, use my eye for design to help them discover or create their own style.”
Martinez is also a skilled seamstress.
“My daughter was a cheerleading coach at Taos High School for 10 years,” she said. “One day, she came home and asked me to make her a fiesta blouse. When I said yes, she told me, ‘Great, Mom, now I need 25 – for all the girls in the team.’ And I made them, of course.”
Three years ago, Martinez made a hundred blouses.
“I used a simple pattern and made them pretty and comfortable,” she said. “The girls loved them. But that was a lot of work!”
Martinez’s four children live in Taos, Albuquerque, Las Vegas and Colorado Springs.
“They are strong supporters of my business venture,” she said. “I am doing this for them as well. I would like for Rose’s Fashion House to become a family-run business so I can leave a legacy for my children and grandchildren.”
For Martinez, the best thing about having her own business is the flexibility she has with it.
“I can highlight a special accessory or focus on how it fits a dress,” she said. “I can move items around, play with them. ... The success of my business is in my hands, and that is a powerful thing.”
As for the most challenging part, she admits that it has been promoting the store and understanding how to network.
“When I was looking for a good location, it was hard to find an affordable space,” she said. “This led me to opening the store in my home, and I am glad I did.”
She recently joined Las Comadres in Commerce and considers it to be one of the best business decisions she’s ever made.
“The networking that has come from this group has strengthened my ability to promote my business and has given me a push to get my name out there,” she said. “I feel blessed to be part of this group of amazing, supportive women.”