Home to a vibrant community of small businesses, the Denver metro area hosts a wide variety of local clothing stores run by inspiring teams of women. Both female-owned, White Oak & Rooted Boutique and Blue Haus Collective offer their surrounding neighborhoods with more than just impressive style selections.
Through dedicated collaboration with their customer bases, these businesses demonstrate the importance of providing communities with spaces created from the ground up by women.
White Oak & Rooted Boutique
With everything from prom dresses to blouses to baby clothes, White Oak & Rooted Boutique has something to offer for women from all walks of life. Located on Main Street in Downtown Littleton, the boutique is owned and operated by close friends Sara Bearss and Tayler Krietemeier.
Bearss and Krietemeier met while working together at a bridal boutique. After forming a friendship, they decided over a glass of wine to open their own boutique. Within a week, they had found a location and purchased their inventory.
“It was all very fast. We just thought, ‘if we don’t do this now, we’re never going to do it,’” Krietemeier said.
Rooted Boutique opened its doors in 2016 and remained in its location for only six months before outgrowing the space. Two years later, the pair acquired a second location across the street to sell formal wear, opening White Oak Boutique in 2018.
Krietemeier and Bearss ran the two locations for two years, then combined the casual attire of Rooted and the formal wear of White Oak into White Oak & Rooted Boutique in 2020.
“We noticed at Rooted that we were slowly but surely adding more cocktail attire naturally, so it was a really easy transition to blend the two stores,” Bearss said.
Bearss explained that their move to combine into one location happened only two weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic began, which proved to be a significant challenge for the business.
“It was really hard at first. Our business is really based on that personal interaction. We love our customers and they come back because we form that relationship with them. You don’t get that same experience online,” Bearss said.
Fostering a comfortable and enjoyable experience for customers is the top priority at White Oak & Rooted. The boutique’s decor, characterized by classic femininity and pops of glitz, creates a welcoming atmosphere.
“We want people to feel really welcome when they come in. I think we’ve all walked into a store and had a feeling that we shouldn’t be in there. That’s the exact opposite of what we wanted. We want you to feel like we’re your friends and here to help you find something that you love,” said Krietemeier.
Krietemeier and Bearss offer styling assistance to their customers as well. Krietemeier explained that helping women feel confident in what they wear is something she and Bearss developed a love for during their time working in bridal.
Women empowerment goes beyond the customer experience for the two business owners, with the representation of women in the small business realm holding particular importance for them. Downtown Littleton is home to a multitude of female-owned businesses, all of which work together in the community rather than competing, said Krietemeier.
A sense of community is a pillar in all areas of business for Krietemeier and Bearss, especially when it comes to choosing designers to sell in the boutique. High quality and reasonable prices are of first concern, but their relationship with the brand reps are often just as important.
“They’ve become family. We have a really great group of designers that we sell in our store,” Bearss said.
The boutique adapts its clothing to each season, currently offering a wide selection of pastels and summery patterns. However, providing customers with unique, well-made pieces is something that is offered year-round.
“We don’t carry things you can find in a department store. Each item we bring in we typically only get four to six pieces, and we like to keep that exclusivity. We want it to feel like you found a little treasure” Krietemeier said.
The baby clothes are a recent addition — a result of Krietemeier and Bearss becoming mothers themselves. For Bearss, not having to choose between motherhood and owning a business is one of her proudest accomplishments, accrediting both their team of stylists and customer base as vital components of support.
“We’re super grateful for all of our customers. They’re so loyal. It’s really exciting being part of our customers’ lives every step of the way,” Bearss said.
The relationships built with customers seem to be the defining experience for both Krietemeier and Bearss throughout their six years as business owners. “They truly feel like friends and family,” Krietemeier said.
White Oak & Rooted Boutique is located at 2565 Main Street in Littleton. For more information or to shop their clothing online, visit their website here.
All photos courtesy of White Oak & Rooted Boutique.
Blue Haus Collective
Owned and operated by sisters Mia Wead and Savannah Wead, Blue Haus Collective opened its doors to Denver this past May. With a collection of mannequins and plants in its window, Blue Haus Collective provides a unique shopping experience for the foot traffic of South Broadway.
The collective, coined by Savannah as “a pop-up market with a storefront,” hosts 30 different vendors, with each rack offering a different assortment of vintage clothing. Mia explained that one of their intentions when opening the collective was to create a space that supported other small businesses within the vintage reseller community.
“It’s a tiny little community once you get into it and everyone is so kind and generous. It’s very uplifting. I’m proud we have this group of vendors,” Mia said.
Echoing her sister’s sentiment, Savannah noted one of her favorite experiences of opening the collective is watching the vendors’ creative visions come to life on their clothing racks.
Having an expansive selection of vendors also provides customers with a sweeping variety of clothing to choose from. Additionally, the majority of items for sale were sourced from the last step before ending up in a landfill.
“We want to be known for sustainable fashion. We’re not charging crazy prices either, we’re just here to resell clothes,” Savannah said, noting that the majority of positive feedback the store receives is about its affordability.
Growing up, the sisters spent their summers playing with the vintage dresses that were sold in the antique shop where their mother worked. Opening a store dedicated to vintage clothing and keepsakes seemed to be a natural step for the two.
“I have always been obsessed with vintage clothes. Our nana would take us back to school shopping, and we always went to Goodwill’s and Salvation Armies, so we have been second-hand shopping our whole lives,” Mia said.
Savannah explained that it was Mia who inspired her to get into the vintage community that she has been part of it since 2019.
“She fully inspired me with all of this. She’s always been extremely fashionable” Savannah said.
It was Savannah, however, who found the location for Blue Haus. After agreeing to embark on the venture together, the pair got to work painting and decorating its interior, armed with the Pinterest board they had been creating together as inspiration.
Blue Haus Collective is any vintage lover’s dream, replete with collections of cowboy boots, T-shirts, vinyl, kitchenware and jewelry. The customer demographic is wide-ranging, with people of all ages experiencing the unavoidable sense of nostalgia in the store’s atmosphere.
“I personally love when someone finds something on the racks that reminds them of when they were a kid,” Savannah said.
Sustainability and sentimentality undoubtedly find a crossroads at Blue Haus Collective. It’s difficult to walk past the eclectic collection of knick-knacks and the timeless patterns that populate the clothing racks without being reminded of decades past.
“It’s definitely comforting when you come in here and you see something that you recognize. There’s that sense of nostalgia that can’t really be replicated. It unlocks memories” Mia said. Savannah added that they have many customers who find pieces similar to what their grandmothers had when they were young.
Having a lasting impact on their customers’ lives is the most fulfilling experience for Mia and Savannah, with the pieces they sell continuing on to be an integral part of their new owner’s life story.
“I love seeing pieces I’ve fallen in love with go to their new home. There was this one dress I had been swooning over and someone bought it for their wedding. Those wedding pictures are going to exist forever and the dress is something they got here,” Mia said.
Blue Haus Collective is located at 64 North Broadway in Denver. For more information, visit their Instagram page.