In Midtown, Davis and now Oak Park
Owner of Rire Boutique, Josie Lee, didn’t plan to have her own midtown clothing store. She didn’t plan to have a second boutique in Davis either. Instead, the former fashion blogger turned popular fashion retailer says everything just happily fell into place. Now, Rire Boutique’s newest and third location at 3330 Broadway in Oak Park’s bustling Triangle District brings affordable fashion to the budding neighborhood.
Lee, 29, is a Sacramento State graduate and says she’s come a long way since the days of selling merchandise in a 100-square-foot space at the East Sac Mercantile. With three boutiques and a brand new webstore up and running, Lee now ships her Rire-brand styles across the country.
When asked to describe the ideal woman that shops at Rire, Lee says she imagines a happy, 24 to 35-year-old young professional. A woman that’s still figuring out what her ultimate career will be, but has a soft spot in her heart for small businesses, a love for local craft beer, and a penchant for happiness, life and is genuinely friendly.
“I wanted [Rire] to be a happy place,” says Lee of her fashion empire. “I look for things that are more on the feminine side, but the cool thing about the clothing that I offer is even if someone is more boho or edgy they can definitely use pieces from here for the styles that they like to wear.”
The styles at Rire are more on the sweet, feminine side with floral prints, bright colors, long and flowing dresses, and lacey bralettes to be worn under tank tops or crop tops. There are dozens of local, handcrafted accessories like earrings, necklaces and bracelets to add a little extra panache to any look. Not to mention, the selection of hats because let’s face it: oversized headwear is definitely in this summer.
Lee also keeps her customers’ fashion budgets in mind when choosing her pieces at trade shows from the Bay Area to Las Vegas. She looks for quality, versatility, and most importantly, prides herself on keeping items below $50.
“Most dresses are between $36 and $42 and a lot of our tops are $18 to $36. It’s all pretty affordable,” says Lee. “We have a lot of accessories as low as $5 for earrings, necklaces for $9 to $12, [and] the bralettes are from $12 to $18. I’m still paying my student loans, so I know what it’s like to be on a budget.” (Laughs)
What draws Lee to fashion is the variety of creative ways her customers wear a Rire piece. For instance, no two customers will rock the same skirt or top the exact same way and she admires that.
“Everyone will wear it differently because they’re just different people,” says Lee. “Everyone has their own style and they can do what they want with it and I like that. It’s really fun.”
Some fun summertime trends found at all three Rire locations include rompers, a one-piece shorts-set with thin straps on top, and bralettes, a light and airy alternative to the bra that can be layered with low-cut tank tops and paired with jean shorts.
Between running three stores and operating the new webstore, Lee finds time to donate to charities like the Sacramento SPCA, which receives a portion of all Rire sales.
Lee’s newest location in Oak Park opened in July and she says the neighborhood’s reception to her little store on the corner of Broadway and 33rd Streets is positive, which makes the long hours and 2 a.m. emails all worthwhile.
“I have not been in Oak Park very long, but just walking around to the post office to Old Soul and back, this has been the friendliest neighborhood,” says Lee. “Here, I’m just walking down the street and people will be like, ‘Hey! How’s your day going?’”
It seems like Lee’s goal of making Rire a “happy place” is well on its way.