Kaitlyn Martin of Kaitlyn Collective Boutique started her journey into both the fashion and business worlds at only age 22. Since then, she has opened and managed the boutique — located in Cherry Creek — that carries designers accessories, women’s everyday styles and both men and women’s activewear. While speaking with Martin, we found out more about how she became a businesswoman at such a young age and how her love for fashion motivated her to get there.
303 Magazine: How did you get into the business and fashion industries?
Kaitlyn Martin: I went to the fashion program and CSU and always knew I wanted to do something like this so I got a degree in business and apparel merchandise. I’ve always loved shopping in boutiques and knew I wanted my own (literal) store. I had an internship at Anna Bé Bridal Boutique and then on my 22nd birthday, I opened my store. I figured I’m young and have so much passion, so why don’t I just work my butt off for myself?
My parents are both business owners so I just always had the mentality that this is doable. So basically, I went for it and decided I was going to do it. I was a dancer for the Broncos during that time so I felt like I had a lot of support and was surrounded by so much drive, which gave me the confidence to do something like this.
303: Tell us a little bit more about Kaitlyn Collective’s opening and where it is now.
KM: I first opened at Third and St. Paul and then it just went from there. I also did a pop-up shop by North at one point. Our first store had everything and then I opened this location to solely be an activewear store, but we ended up having enough room here for everything. So here, we’re able to fit it all.
Kaitlyn Collective definitely changed a lot. The biggest thing I’ve learned is about adapting to your clientele. The biggest takeaway in this experience is to find what your client and customer want and then to cater to them whether it’s your vibe or not.
303: Tell us a little bit about the store and its style.
KM: It’s a mixture of athletic and women’s every day. So, a lot of high-end women’s every day where you can always get a nice pair of jeans, a dress or a good cashmere sweater. We have a very curated collective of activewear and a lot of the designers are from either L.A. or the East Coast. We have a lot of designers that are big names but also small and local designers as well — we like to mix both. That being said, we like to always work with sustainable companies or companies that are from the U.S. Overall, I’d say the main focus is women’s every day, accessories and we also have a small amount of men’s athleticwear.
303: How do you go about finding pieces that you want to carry in the store?
KM: I like to go to L.A. and New York for market. I’ve been to all of them and it’s fun to also go to the smaller ones and try those out too. You get to a point where you find who your main designers are and then we’re constantly reordering from them. The nice thing about market is that it gets you out of the store and gets you to see all of the new, fresh and fun stuff. But sometimes I do it online too. It’s hard to always find time to go to market.
303: Tell us about your day-to-day life as a business owner in fashion.
KM: A day in the life of retail is insane and it can be really hard to find good help sometimes. I’m currently working full time and I had a manager who was lovely to work with but she moved. We invite our clientele here and so working with them is something I do every day.
Currently, I do everything. I’m doing social media, merchandising, styling — since we do that here too — and unboxing since we get shipments every day. With styling, people can make appointments too. We’ve really found out enough about our customers and what they like, so we have a great relationship with them to the point where I can text someone if I see something they might like in the store and they can come in and try it.
303: What brands do you carry?
KM: We carry Minnie Rose, James Perse, Parker Smith and Black Halo. For activewear, the men’s line is Rhone, Varley, P.E. Nation. We also have Katie Lux — who is a Denver designer — Year Of Ours and Splits 59. For accessories, our jewelry designer is Evolved Conceptions, which is high-end jewelry. We also carry Gucci and YSL.
303: What do you think about Denver’s fashion scene?
KM: My whole M.O. when I opened this store was that I liked classic and timeless pieces that are wearable anywhere. I wouldn’t say I have the L.A. or New York vibe. When I first started, I wanted every piece to be able to stay in your wardrobe forever. For me, it’s been great because that’s my customer too. I like a solid cashmere sweater you can have for ten years or a timeless dress and I think for that, Denver is great because women here are timeless too. I think we’ll always be like that, which is why I think we’ve been good here.
303: What do you hope for the future of Kaitlyn Collective?
KM: We are definitely thinking about expanding. We are very thankful for our customers and this city. This store just holds a special place in my heart and it’s been such a growing experience for me and the business. The growth and learning I’ve gotten from this are something I’ll never forget.
All photography by Coy Jennings.