High-end couture has come to Wesley Chapel.
A & A Boutique opened last week on Bruce B. Downs Boulevard not far from The Shops at Wiregrass and Plato’s Closet. But the owners of the consignment store say there is no local competition because A & A carries strictly high-end brands such as Versace, Ferragamo, Louis Vuitton and Burberry.
Selection might make A & A stand apart but so, too, does the age of the owners, twin sisters Allie and Amber Malott; they are only 16.
The seeds for the endeavor were planted after repeated trips from the family’s home in Wesley Chapel to International Plaza for fancy threads.
“There were no high-end shops here,” Allie said. “We were just talking to mom about it and it snowballed. If no one was going to open a shop in Wesley Chapel, we better.”
The love of fashion was nurtured at a young age when mother, Lori, started bringing the twins to high-end spots for shopping trips. When the pair were really small, they started sketching out clothing designs, and today they run a blog about fashion.
Their first love is design. But they were led to the world of retail after meeting fashion guru Tim Gunn.
“We asked him how to become fashion designers and he said study business and marketing,” Allie said.
A clothing line is in the pipeline. Next year, the pair are launching the aptly titled Twin brand.
Opening A & A Boutique during the current downturn in the economy will be a brilliant idea, the pair hope, figuring customers want quality like never before.
“Now they are looking to buy things that last,” Allie said. “You buy it once and never have to replace it.”
In addition to men’s and women’s clothing, there will be jewelry, accessories and handbags. The twins say customers can expect to pay 50 to 75 percent less than what’s being sold on retail shelves.
Clearly, the Malott twins have supportive parents — and not just because they are funding the boutique.
“Oh my gosh, 'I’m so excited and so proud of them!'" their mother gushed to My Fox Tampa Bay.
The pair, who are home-schooled, said their friends are stoked about A & A, too.
“They said, ‘We want to come in and buy everything in the store!’” Allie said.