Embellishments, a little shop around the corner

“Another business bites the dust.” It’s an all-too-frequent headline these days as companies crash and burn, victims of the economic firestorm. Although small firms drive the U.S. economy — they create 60 to 80 percent of new jobs each year — they are also more subject to the whim of the markets than their larger peers. It’s heartbreaking to watch our Rancho Santa Fe restaurants and shops flounder and fail in the face of the recession.
But one Rancho Santa Fe businesswoman has a strategy to avoid the destruction. Tamara Mahoney, owner of the lovely Embellishments boutique in Del Rayo Village, is deploying a combination of beautiful, reasonably priced products, personalized, no-pressure service, and a rock-solid commitment to charity. This mixture of the entrepreneurial and the philanthropic is helping her store weather the recession — so far, anyway.
A bold step for a small business
Tamara took a bold step by opening Embellishments less than a year ago, just as markets tanked. She’s a retail and fashion veteran with more than 12 years in the business, including two years at the now-defunct Madison Leather & Luggage in Flower Hill Mall. She is also creator of a popular and gorgeous line of jewelry sold throughout San Diego. So, she knew all about the risk of opening a new store — even in good economic times more new stores fail than succeed. But she also trusted her instincts and believed that Embellishments was her life’s calling and the culmination of her dreams and years of hard work.
“I had to do it. I literally felt I had no choice,” Tamara said, describing the creative spark that drove her. When opportunity knocked in the form of a suitable store space in the Ranch last fall, she was ready.
The result is a store that captures her distinct aesthetic while offering general appeal. It’s chic, lushly decorated and cozy. It has an extraordinary array of shoes, handbags, jewelry, wraps, gifts and home décor. From stunning pashminas, hip Eric Javitz and Ada handbags, and stylish Dana Davis and Donald Pliner shoes, to things you didn’t even know you wanted, such as hand-painted note cards, crystallized picture frames and wine bags made of silk and velvet, Embellishments has a rare mix of items and prices. If you walk in, there’s no way you’re leaving without a purchase — no way you’d want to!
Tamara highlights the idea that her shoe selection is not only fashionable but also comfortable. ”I strive to stock my boutique with shoes my customers love, shoes that I would be happy to wear myself. It’s important to be good to our feet!” she said. 
Still, the crown jewel of Embellishments’ business model is charity. While many small business owners slash charitable giving, Tamara is ramping hers up. She gives products, financial support and time to Childhelp, the Helen Woodward Animal Center, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Casa de Amparo, Rady Children’s Hospital, the Alzheimer’s Association and other good causes. She offers her store space and exquisite goods for nonprofit fundraisers, donating a percentage of sales along with her own personal time and effort. “I believe in supporting my community,” she said. “I have faith that people believe in the importance of supporting local businesses too.”
Let’s hope residents of the Ranch agree with Tamara that local firms deserve loyal patronage. Because if we don’t, it won’t matter how great her store is or how generous her heart is the Ranch could lose one of its newest and most brilliant retail gems. For more information on upcoming events, call (858) 759-4195 or e-mail embellishments_rsyahoo.com.
Around town
At the end of the school year, Santa Fe Christian Seniors raised more than $17,000 dollars for their school! Now that’s something to talk about. Each year the seniors are given the task of learning the tasks of fundraising and how to bring in profit for a business. The seniors developed a business plan and each group had to secure a loan to start their entrepreneurial venture. Once they obtained their money, the students begin building their business, like selling T-shirts before and after school. According to economics teacher Jon Wallace, “Business week gives the students an opportunity to gain firstshand experience of the effort involved in creating and maintaining a business.” How exciting to learn these skills at an early age. I want to thank Santa Fe Christian for sharing this successful story with me. Featured in my column are seniors Jonny Searle, Nick Wright, Ryan Huffman, Kyle Pullman and Mile Butler. Congrats to all those that helped raise money for this fabulous program. Now that’s a school that rocks.
On June 17, my good girlfriend Melissa Willams hosted a spectacular event at Delicias honoring her clients from Premier Magazine. Rancho Bernardo Winery sponsored the event along with Delicias. Ten exhibitors proudly displayed their products, while guests mingled on the outdoor patio on a beautiful Wednesday afternoon. Some of the guests included fashion designer Janice Jaraicie, Ranch Realtor Michael Taylor and Rebecca Green from Encinitas. Melissa planned for weeks for this event. Her hard work paid off with smiles and delight from the guests that were lucky enough to be on the RSVP list. Thanks for including me on your special day.
On June 18, I stopped in to Acacia Wellness to see Dr. Bennett and his beautiful wife, Debbie Bennett. They are just around the corner in Solana Beach near Cedros and the Coast Highway. I met Dr. Bennett a few months ago and I just loved his tranquil office and approach to chiropractic medicine, which incorporates holistic treatment. Dr. Bennett is approaching his year anniversary at Acacia Wellness. Acacia has been serving Solana Beach and Rancho Santa Fe clients for more than 15 years. “Dr. Bennett and his wife Debbie graciously invite you to come and experience our state of the art integrative wellness care. We provide gentle chiropractic treatment, Functional Diagnostic Medicine, and are one of a handful of clinics offering Class IV laser pain relief therapy. Class IV laser therapy is particularly effective in addressing inflammation and arthritis in the hands, wrists and shoulders. Many of Dr. Bennett’s clients are avid golfers and tennis players who find lasting relief from pain through laser treatment.” If you mention my column to Dr. Bennett, he will give you 50 percent off of laser treatment. Now that’s an offer I wouldn’t refuse!
Later that evening, I attended the 10th annual Chianti Classic Golf tournament at The Bridges. Bob Jackson was kind enough to invite me to this lavish evening for all of the members of the Bridges. I stood curbside, while I watched Ferraris drive up to the valet. I felt like I was in the south of France watching these gorgeous guests arrive in red carpet flair. How exciting. Two of the guests I met and spoke to were Kirk Dove and childhood friend Nick Eliopoulos who flew in from San Francisco just attend this special event. They were all smiles, while I snapped their photo that evening. Some of the other guests included Alan and Mary Schulman, Stacy and Dan Gatto. Event Coordinator Michelle Stricker also took time out of her busy evening to pose for a gorgeous photo with Jacob Wark by the pool. Member Phil Cameron one all of the money that even for the ‘shoot out’ event. More than 240 guests enjoyed fine wine and food and danced the night away under the stars at the Bridges. Now that’s what I call high society — Rancho Santa Fe style.
On June 22, Debbie Beran shared with me the wonderful success story of her 17-year-old son Landon Boetteger. Landon has become an accomplished ukulele soloist. Yes, that’s right, the ukulele is making a sweeping comeback in the U.S. Think Jimi Hendrix meets Hawaii poolside. Debbie informed me that her son has been asked to perform all over San Diego County. “I am really proud at how he has grasped this instrument and the love he has for it. He may even go to Hawaii to study under his mentor Jake Shimabakuro.” Landon will be a senior at Cathedral Catholic High School this fall. Who knows, maybe we can have a concert here in Rancho Santa Fe under the Eucalyptus trees.
On June 24, The Coast News Group sponsored the pitch session at Flight (aka Pasuales) at lunchtime. Chris Kydd, Jenny Fake and myself attended this fun one-hour session of realtors networking. Kevin Burke hosted the event by microphone, while slides of the hottest properties in town were on display. I snapped a quick photo of Rancho Realtor Debbi Holder, with Kevin Burke and Jenny Fake (also from The Coast News Group). A quick tip: If you know anyone that is looking for a beautiful Ranch rental, call Debbi Holder at (858) 735-3541. She has the best listing in town.

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