Truckee High grad realizes metro-meets-mountain dream with Nomad Boutique
Special to the Sun
TRUCKEE, Calif. — Though their landscapes are remarkably different, mountain living versus city living may have more in common than meets the eye.
A certain level of survival skills is required for each, whether it’s plotting the course of a backcountry expedition or navigating the complex interworkings of a city’s transportation system.
At Nomad Boutique, located in Downtown Truckee’s Commercial Row, Allison Shultz is helping those two worlds collide by bringing a stylish urban look to the mountain-girl scene, with an affordable price tag to boot.
“I feel like people — especially my local customers — want to dress outside of the mountain style of apparel, so I try to find pieces that are edgy and chic without being over-the-top crazy,” the Alaskan-born, Truckee-raised fashionista said. “I think we all aspire to dress in a way that makes us feel good, so I try to bring a little more fashion into the outdoor styles we’re used to seeing up here.”
Through travels abroad and trips to New York and San Francisco for trade shows, Shultz has been greatly influenced by a metropolitan-meets-mod-mountaineer look, reflected in the bohemian-chic fabrics that line the racks inside Nomad, as well as the boutique’s tastefully trendy interior décor.
“Traveling to other fashion hubs and just sitting on a park bench and watching the styles of the city go by is where I find a lot of inspiration,” Shultz said. “It gets me excited to dig around for clothes and find the right styles to bring back to Truckee.”
Although the 27-year-old has been a mountain dweller for most of her life, she’s found herself drawn to urban fashion since her days at Truckee High School, when she started stitching together the pieces of her career.
“When I got my first job in high school, I spent most of the money I was making on clothes — not because of some materialistic need, but because clothes made me feel good no matter if they were brand new or from the thrift store,” Shultz said. “That’s when I realized my interest in fashion was more than just a hobby, and I started to think more seriously about owning my own shop after I graduated.”
However, finding the right rental space in her hometown wasn’t easy for the aspiring young business owner, so she decided to gain some clothing-store-clout by taking on the online retail world while juggling a job as a restaurant server to save money.
“I was looking to open a shop downtown for about five years, but whenever a space would become available, there was always a huge line of people competing for it, so I started my own website and ran that out of my house,” Shultz said.
When reality TV star Audrina Patridge reposted one of Shultz’s retail pictures on Instagram, online sales shot over “The Hills” so to speak.
“I had Tupperware full of clothing stacked to the ceiling, and I still couldn’t find a shop to rent in Truckee,” Shultz said. “I started to get really discouraged and considered going back to school to be a dental assistant or something, but then it finally all came together at the right time, right before I almost gave up.”
AMERICAN MADE — AND AFFORDABLE
Last October, Shultz celebrated the opening of Nomad Boutique — a vision nearly 10 years in the making and one that reflects her tastefully-sweet-yet-edgy personal style as well as her trendy take on what threads Tahoe-Truckee women are drawn to.
The one-stop-boutique-shop sells tops, pants, purses, shoes, jewelry, home décor, sunglasses, and other accessories that are inspired by the looks found in some of Shultz’s favorite stores like Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie.
Most importantly for Shultz, most items are made in America — and nothing in the store is priced over $70.
“There’s nothing more disappointing than walking into a store and falling in love with a piece only to find out it was made for someone else because you can’t afford it,” Shultz said. “That was my main motivation for wanting to open my shop in Truckee.”
With e-commerce sales supplementing Nomad’s brick-and-mortar success, Shultz is now looking to hire a female clothing model to ramp up her Instagram marketing and online retail sales.
“My goal is to keep growing my business in Truckee, and to always keep it affordable,” Shultz said. “I’ll never want to sell a $120 ripped t-shirt; I don’t believe in that.”
Jenny Goldsmith is a North Tahoe-based freelance writer and a former reporter for the Sierra Sun newspaper. Have an idea for a merchant to feature? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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