UNIVERSITY PARK -- Danielle Garrow of Lakewood Ranch is a fashionista, working mom and entrepreneur.
Come June, the budding clothing designer and stylist aims to open own boutique called MalibuFox, 5275 University Parkway, Suite 103, in the University Park Center by Kohl's.
"MalibuFox is kind of a mixture of my kind of personal style," said Garrow, a Texas native who grew up in Wilmington, N.C.
The 1,238-square-foot boutique will feature Garrow's own clothing line, MalibuFox, along with brands like National LTD, Kris Nations, and BB Dakota. There will also be accessories, vintage clothing and furniture. A grand opening date will be announced soon.
Garrow's eclectic collection is inspired by Southwest Native American themes and colors and a Malibu beach vibe, she said.
"I kind of design for the Bohemian beach babe kind-of-girl," she said. That style led her to luxury department store Neiman Marcus, which ordered her line last year, a surprising deal so early in her career. The experience opened her eyes to big department store demands.
"Working with big stores is an amazing opportunity and a lot of work goes into it," Garrow said. "It's something I'm definitely not ruling out."
The work and the strict rules made Garrow realize that it's best to focus on growing her own line from a boutique she can control before having to supply a department store chain.
Her goal is to solidify her relationships with her manufacturers and suppliers before diving into that world again while making clothes that will beautifully drape a woman's body.
"I'm really good at taking pieces and making them look good on women in
their twenties and looking good in their fifties," she said. "And just being able to put together an outfit for their appropriate age."
Her dream is turning into hard work. She is also raising two children with her husband, Don Garrow, a gastroenterologist. She's working to connect with salons in the region to hold events at her yet-to-open store, like mother-daughter shopping nights, or clinics on how to put together a holiday look.
Kristen Dresden at Marmalade Salon & Boutique met Garrow while she was getting her hair done at Marmalade and in conversation became drawn to their shared interest in fashion.
"I definitely see -- and just from knowing her -- that MalibuFox is going to be very care-free, fun and young with a Bohemian beach vibe," Dresden said.
Dresden, a native of Hawaii, sees Bradenton-Sarasota as an up-and-coming area for trendy original, fashion and believes Garrow could become a part of that.
"Even since the couple years I've lived here, I'm finding some things that appeal to more of my taste, and I'm finding more places to shop. When you meet another person in the industry, they kind of lead you to the next place," Dresden said. "It's kind of like a treasure hunt here. [Trendy clothing] stores are definitely out there and expanding, but you almost have to look for it."
The salon is increasing its focus on the boutique end and sees that the two businesses can work together instead of competing. They are hoping to organize a joint fashion show with Garrow on the beach.
Garrow is also going to offer her personal style consulting services, too.
"I can do a personal closet reorganization and personal styling where I take pieces from the store to your home and incorporate what you have in your closet already," Garrow said.
Her foray into fashion might not have ever been if it wasn't for a change of heart. She has several family members in the medical field and was pushed to be a nurse, so she started out majoring in organic chemistry at the College of Charleston to become a pharmacist.
"Halfway through, it was fine but I realized this really isn't for me. I understood when I leave college I'd have a good job, but it wasn't something I would have a passion for."
Instead, she changed her major to business administration and graduated from the College of Charleston in 2008 with her bachelor's degree, becoming a style intern for Charleston Magazine and then an assistant buyer for women's apparel at Il Brunettes in Mount Pleasant, S.C., to get her start in fashion.
"It's something I'm passionate about and in the end, it's worked out for me," Garrow said. "I have a husband who supported me and my crazy dream."
Charles Schelle, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow him on Twitter @ImYourChuck.