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Photos by Stephanie Colgan
Sacha Martin and Allison Mowery
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Astrid pullover, $352
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Azland chunky scarf, $264
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Clio goat fur jacket, $2,020
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Abiah python lamb jacket, $1,140
It’s hard to believe it’s been eight years since Sacha Martin and Allison Mowery left sales positions with Banana Republic at 50th & France to start their own store, bluebird boutique, just a few doors down in a shoebox of a space. They survived a recession, the birth of Mowery’s two daughters, and the poncho trend. They not only outlasted several boutiques and even a few chains, they added a second bluebird store and opened a 50th & France shoe store, ladyslipper boutique. And they still really like each other.
Best thing about running a store with a friend?
Martin: Allison takes care of me. I call her my handler.
Mowery: The best thing is having someone else who is as fully invested and as passionate about the store as I am. I think it would be so much harder to do this alone.
How do you divide responsibilities?
Martin: Allison does what she is good at, and I do what I’m good at, and they happen to be opposite things.
Mowery: We have fallen into our roles as the business has grown. I’m super detailed and organized, so I handle a lot of the operations, scheduling, paperwork. Sacha is one of the best trend spotters and trend makers anywhere, so she focuses on buying, marketing, and social media. We both love to be on the floor working with our customers.
How might we find you goofing off at the store?
Mowery: Trying on clothes. Talking about clothes. And then talking about what we are eating for dinner.
Martin: It’s true. We are always thinking of what we can eat or drink next.
What would you gift your partner from the store?
Martin: We try to pawn off the sale merchandise on one another. So I’d give her the top for $19 that has been sitting there all year.
Mowery: Anything from the J Brand ready-to-wear collection. Fall 2012 will only be the second season, and it’s only available in a few stores nationwide.
Martin: That’s so sweet. OK, I’d get her a Vince sweater. She loves that brand, and Vince does the best job with classic but contemporary style.
Ever have any major disagreements at the store?
Martin: If one of us loves something and the other doesn’t, it’s that person’s responsibility to sell it!
Mowery: That usually works out great. We do have different styles.
3909 W. 50th St., Edina, 952-746-8675; Shoppes at Arbor Lakes, Maple Grove, 763-315-6524, bluebirdboutique.com