Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Le'Talk: Roe Wolfe co-owner Romeny Chan

by Jahna Peloquin

Two of the Twin Cities better-known makeup artists, Romeny Chan and Ashley Kilcher, have joined forces on a new endeavor: Roe Wolfe. The boutique, which opened its doors last week in St. Paul suburb Mendota Heights, sells a well-edited mix of women's clothing, accessories, cosmetics and fragrances from on-the-cusp luxury brands like Aryn K., Matiko Footwear, and BECCA Cosmetics. We chatted with Chan about how the two went from makeup artists to store owners, their collaboration with internationally-renowned knitwear designer Kevin Kramp, and why they opened up shop in the 'burbs.

l'étoile: You and Ashley are both longtime Twin Cities makeup artists. Is this the end of your work in makeup artistry? Romeny Chan: The end? Oh, no! We see this as being a catalyst to our career. Not only are we expanding our realm of expertise in the industry, we are branching into a whole new audience. In fact, our staff is composed of two other make-up artists. We have brought in the full Becca Cosmetics line so we are now working as a team offering services to not only our everyday customers but as free-lancers. We have a lot of plans for Roe Wolfe and staff. We see a lot of partnerships ahead. What inspired your foray into retail? Ashley and I have been freelancing for the last eight years or so, and often times side by side. We have always entertained the idea of a partnership but it wasn't until last spring that we approached the idea of a different business endeavor all together. As it turns out, we both have always wanted a boutique. Since we both have styled in the past and a mutual love for high-end contemporary fashion. It was a perfect combination of image consulting - make-up and styling. It is a bit ambitious, but we didn't want to stop there. We are big supporters of local artisans, so it only made sense that much of the decor are hand made and can be bought right off the floor. I also have an olfactory obsession, hence the atelier lines of fragrances. Why Mendota Heights? We don't typically see this level of fashion in the 'burbs. Our first thoughts were to bring this kind of boutique to St Paul. That was when Mendota Heights caught our attention. With it only being 20 minutes away from Minneapolis, it's perfectly tucked in-between Hudson and St Paul. Our location is perfect stop for those traveling to the cities for high-end shopping. I wouldn't say the caliber of service and clothing we are offering is far off from what some suburbs want or need. There is a strong intent and ambition on our part to provide this astute area a luxurious experience they are craving. Tell us about your space. RW is about 700 square feet with weathered floors and antlers all decorated about. We have bowls and pottery all made by local artisans, fixtures are also custom made by an artisan that specializes in making furniture out of old window frames! So, you can imagine, the rustic ambiance we provide, but with a very polished and contemporary feel. What kind of price points can customers expect? Our price points (currently for our soft opening) are $60 to $150+ tops and we carry denim lines that are $150+. We have already ordered for Holiday and Spring with lines such as Love Sam and Winter Kate! On that note, our average price point will be $100+ once the core collections hit the floor. Kevin Kramp had yet to be sold in any Twin Cities stores until you started carrying him. How did you go about getting in touch with Kevin to sell his line? Ashley first worked with Kevin Kramp on Voltage 2010 when she was leading as key artist. From there, their professional careers continued to cross paths as she worked alongside him on other fashion shows. Weeks before Roe Wolfe opened her doors, the seed was planted that we wanted to carry his pieces. When I met him we discussed design and textiles. The conversation immersed itself in how well crafted pieces are a translation of harmony between color, texture and form. Roe Wolfe is honored to be exclusively showcasing Kramp's pieces. We've come up with a luxurious line that represents us yet doesn't compromise his intuition and vision as the designer. Both Kevin Kramp and I were able to work out a very unique collection for the RW that will grace our floors for Holiday. Though limited (we are bringing around six large circle scarves, with a price point at $225+), it will give RW customers a taste of designer luxe, right from Mpls. We are very excited about this and so supportive of Kevin. Roe Wolfe is located at 750 Main Street in Mendota Heights, 651-330-4434. Check out Roe Wolfe on Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter. Look for an online shop to come.

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