Sweet Mapel Interview / by Kamie Kahlo

click on this image for a closer look!

Our feature boutique for this month, Mapel sent me something yummy in the mail. Check out this gorgeous cardigan from Champagne Lace! At $48 it's a steal but the ladies at Mapel have decided to sweetin' the pot; They are offering Adelita Style another cardigan for me to give-away to one of you lucky Fashionista Club members! Sign up today because this pretty prize will be gone April 30, 2010. Annnnd, for ALL my readers type in Adelita20 for an exclusive 20% off anything at ShopMapel.com! The coupon code is active today and is good until April 18, 2010. Fashion IS sweet!

Here's my interview with one of Mapel's owners Staci Stevens :

AS: Leavenworth is a very small town. Did the two of you grow up there?

Mapel: Neither or us are "from" Leavenworth. We met in Seattle but both come from areas outside of Seattle originally. I'm from Portland and Jenelle is from Chicago. Part of our "inspiration" for opening a store in Leavenworth was because of Jenelle family connection in town. She has family that has lived in Leavenworth and she would visit (from Seattle) on a regular basis. She came to love the cute Bavarian town. It can be endearing (if only they had a good happy hour- the food kind of happy hour)!!!!

AS: So a mutual friend introduced you and a little wine brought your mutual ambitions of owning a store to light. How has partnering in your darling boutique illuminated your friendship? I mean, are you besties now?

Mapel: Good Question- the first time we have been asked that. Most people want to know about how "difficult" it is to have a partner OR warns us how difficult the result will be. To be honest between managing the store and operating the website, we talk/email/text "about" 70 times a day, so we pretty much know everything there is to know about each other - when one of us gets a bad case of the hiccups, the other is notified immediately. We both like to work hard and play hard, so we've bonded over wine (beer during O'fest) after busy days in the shop. We joke (on a regular basis) that we are "married" and need to ask the other one before we plan a girls weekend with friends OR laugh that we should be sending each other flowers (which.... we have done). We are both lucky that it's been a compatible partnership and resulted in a friendship.

AS: Do you find the urge to yodel every now and then?

Mapel: One of our first business meetings (in Leavenworth- when Jenelle lived there) resulted in an after hours mtg at The Post Office (have you been there?). It's a karaoke bar in Leavenworth. After hearing the other one "attempt" to sing we knew our calling was in fashion- nothing that had to do with our voices. HOWEVER- Jenelle's husband has assumed the role of the yodeler (or in this case singer) and during the conception of our business we would work late late late hours @ Jenelle's house in Leavenworth while her husband kept us entertained doing that "rock star" band singing game- on the wi or something. I don't even quite know the name.... but there were numerous nights when we worked in her office while he sang us to work.

AS: I absolutely love the Champagne Lace cardigan you sent me!! I know my followers will love it too (and one lucky winner from our fashionista club). Can you tell us a little about this line?

Mapel: Oh You!!!! Since I'm officially coming out of the closet this Thursday at a wearable art exhibit in Portland I will let you in on a little industry news. Champagne Lace is my label. I have an apparel design background (Nordstrom for 6 years) and this last winter had an itch to do something crafty. So essentially I take raw goods (basic knits) and embellish them with vintage trims OR A grade trims. It was more of a casual side project but it kinda keeps growing. So... .in my spare of my spare of my spare time I craft the Champagne Lace collection. I love things that exude a romantic, vintage yet relevantly modern aesthetic- and that's what I strive for with this collection. In addition to the apparel I have a few jewelry pieces that are comprised of vintage chandelier pieces and vintage buttons. Voila'. Also- this Thursday the collection will be shown in a Portland art gallery that highlights wearable art. Thanks for your kind words about the cardi. It's one of my favorites. It's a raw 100% silk trim that is torn on the seam (to prevent fraying) with a gold ribbon trim.

AS: What is the sweetest part of working together at Mapel?

Mapel: I don't think Jenelle and I would still be in business if we didn't have each other. We OFTEN need to bounce ideas off each other and more importantly vent to the other one. You know how hard it is to have your own business- and even if you have family that supports you emotionally it's not the same as actually being in the trenches owning the business. We are able to relate and support the other one emotionally unlike any other family member. We also are always running at full speed and it takes two people to maintain a website and brick/mortar. We each have such different strengths that perfectly compliment the other one.