New boutique blossoms in Whitehorse

Whitehorse has a new clothing store. Unity Clothing opened its doors on May 1 at the corner of Second and Elliot, in the former location of Shades Harley Davidson.

Whitehorse has a new clothing store.

Unity Clothing opened its doors on May 1 at the corner of Second and Elliot, in the former location of Shades Harley Davidson.

The modest boutique inside, which largely caters to women but includes a rack of men’s shirts, wouldn’t look out of place in downtown Vancouver.

Which is exactly the idea. The business idea arose when co-founders Lori Simcox and Heidi George discussed how Yukoners frequently wait until they pass through Vancouver to go on a shopping spree.

The duo, who happen to be both Vancouverites and fashionistas, saw a niche market waiting to be filled.

Unity aims to cater to the 25-35 year old crowd of young professionals, said Simcox. The aim is to keep pricing comparable to what’s found in Vancouver, she said. The most expensive items are typically no more than $70, although there are a few outliers, such as a pair of trendy green Scottish hunting boots, selling for $144.

The store features a selection of fashion T-shirts, button-ups, wraps, skirts and jeans by brands such as U.N.ME, Sakura, Vera Moda and Dish Jeans.

There’s also a small rack of consignment clothing picked up in Vancouver – some of which has never been worn – with jeans selling for $25.

And a few pieces of jewelry are on offer, including silver necklaces adorned with quirky icons by Toronto’s Marmalade Designs.

The men’s rack includes short-sleeved Penguin button-ups for about $50.

The store aims to keep a small stock of each item, “that way you don’t run into a lot of people in town wearing the same garment,” said Simcox.

Simcox, 35, is a member of the Tr’ondek Hwech’in First Nation. She grew up in Whitehorse and graduated from FH Collins.

She went on to receive a Bachelor of Business Administration from Simon Fraser University and an MBA from Royal Roads University. She’s lived in Vancouver for the past 15 years, but still has family in the Yukon.

George has managed several clothing stores, including the Guess outlet on Vancouver’s Robson Street.

This isn’t the duo’s first business venture. They’ve already helped launch Evolve, distributors of a line of leather handbags that sport solar panels to recharge electronic gadgets.

The duo welcomes suggestions from clients. They already plan to stock more shoes and undergarments, based on customers’ comments.

The store’s location has already proved a boon. It’s right beside Tim Horton’s, which assures plenty of walk-by customers.

And they’ve caught the attention of competitors, too. As Simcox spoke, the owner of Sandor’s Clothing browsed the store, sizing up what he’s up against.

Contact John Thompson at

johnt@yukon-news.com.

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