Remember Alfred’s? The short-lived mini-department store at 44th and France set out to elevate the Twin Cities shopping experience. It was intimate and selective while offering a one-stop shop for luxury goods—unfortunately, a bit too luxurious for Minnesota’s threshold.
But Alfred’s whet our appetite for curated shopping experiences, and it brought together Maria Walker and Maryn Bulygo, whose new store, Motto, feels like a more modern, relevant version (“Ninety-eight dollars is our sweet spot”) of what Alfred’s tried to achieve.
Walker is an interior designer; Bulygo is a fashion stylist. After Alfred’s, Walker went to work for Room & Board. Bulygo moved to Los Angeles, where she worked at Kitson and dressed celebrities including Usher, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, and Nicole Richie. All the while, the two plotted their dream store, and this summer they decided Minneapolis was ready.
Motto is ambitious yet grounded. A $200 sweater hangs near a $38 dress. Motto offers fashion for men and women, gifts, beauty products, and a home assortment that includes pillows and reupholstered furniture designed exclusively for the store. Across categories, the vibe is West Coast casual—hip and modern, but not overly trendy.
Motto has big boots to fill: The store at 31st and Hennepin replaces veteran boutique Intoto. Its owner, Karen Heithoff, is still landlord, and she has been a mentor to Walker and Bulygo. “We love the iconic factor,” Walker says. The “Get Dressed” sign atop the building is illuminated once again.
Beyond the building, Walker and Bulygo plan to offer styling services for both wardrobes and interiors. They’re listening to customers, and the store name reflects that. “We want to offer something for everyone,” they say, “whatever your motto.” 3105 Hennepin Ave. S., Mpls., 612-545-5636, shopmotto.com