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Success Story: Francesca's

What a great time...to be a girl!

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During the last 16 years, Francesca’s Clothing Boutique has established itself as the leading woman’s clothing boutique in Taos County, winning Best of Taos Annually.  “What a great time to be a girl” is the famous quote that says it all! Francesca’s  carries comfy, feel-good apparel and lots of yummy fabrics such as silks from India, Thai dyes from Thailand, and cottons from Hard Tail active wear, a local favorite made in America.

Francesca says, “Every girl needs yoga pants, darling”. Francesca’s favorites are the palazzo pants reminiscent of the ‘60’s.

The story of Francesca’s Clothing Boutique begins with owner Francesca Medina, who was raised in Great Neck, Long Island, and brought up in the women’s clothing business. Her mother was a famous New York clothier, and her father was a women’s sportswear manufacturer. Francesca attended Manhattan’s prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology, one of the largest fashion schools in the world and a breeding ground for upcoming New York designers and entrepreneurs.

Following graduation, Francesca managed a boutique on Madison Avenue for several years. She eventually moved back to Long Island to start a family for the next 20 years, and open her own gem and mineral businesses that she ran until a stranger offered to buy her store in 1999.

Francesca had been visiting New Mexico for 20 years, buying Native American arts in Santa Fe, Taos, Gallup and Shiprock. After selling her New York store, she set out on an extended vacation to see her daughter Liz, who was living in Arroyo Seco, and her grandson, Judah, who was born in Taos.

Soon after her mother’s arrival in New Mexico, Liz suggested that Francesca rent an empty building in Arroyo Seco once known as the Post Office and open a new store. Leaving her other daughter Melissa, who was a college student learning massage therapy, and her granddaughter Maya in New York, Francesca moved to Arroyo Seco.

Now Melissa and Maya live in New Mexico, too.

By November 2000, Francesca was back in business in a completely new setting.

“I had no idea what I was going to do,” she said in her characteristically animated style. “My father had always said, ‘You gotta get the big idea, the whole purpose of what you’re doing.’ I realized that I should return to my roots and go back into clothing. The local women here needed reasonably priced clothing and fashionably fun designs. All this time, I was thinking about my mother and her successful business and what she would do. My big idea was to offer imported and unusual women’s clothing, with most items priced under $50, in a cute boutique with a down-home atmosphere.”

So Francesca returned to her old stomping grounds, New York City’s famed Garment District, to be inspired.

“I had ‘the big idea,’ but I didn’t know if it would work out or not,” Francesca remembered. “I opened with a small stock of imported clothing, and I had a huge response from the Taos locals and tourists. I was working seven days a week to figure out the rhythm of things. All the while, my mother was watching me from a photo on the shelf.” The rest is history.

Come to Arroyo Seco on the Ski Valley Road and you will see FRANCESCA’S as you drive to the front porch displaying a sampling of gaily colored merchandise. “I have an adorable staff of girls who are very helpful and dedicated to providing good customer service,” said Francesca. Daughter Melissa works there too and Liz is the Bookkeepe r. The store is open seven days a week.

What a great time...to be a girl!

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