Sandwiched between the Shorebreak Hotel and Forever 21 in downtown Huntington Beach, Irene's Story opened its doors on Friday, October 18, much to the delight of local and touring ladies alike. Inside this Southern California boutique awaits trendy, affordable women's clothing in almost every color, pattern and fabric, as well as stylish footwear, mod jewelry and scented products—all carefully arranged on racks, shelves, tables, mannequins and charming, rustic chic displays. We wondered about Irene’s story, and we caught up with her in the midst of grand opening rush.
A former freelance visual merchandiser and display designer, Irene Lee elevated her knack for expertly flaunting products in 2005 with the opening of her first store in Laguna Hills. Her ad designer, native Angeleno husband, Paul Lee, works beside her and is a major part of her story. SoCal obviously took a liking to the boutique’s contemporary fashions, and shops popped up in Mission Viejo, Marina del Rey and Torrance. Of course, Irene’s statement might have also attracted its fair share of California girls: "Everyone in the world has a story to share. I am Irene and I create my story with apparel. I weave a story into each piece of attire and it reflects and echoes the story of my life."
Pulling comfortable, casual boho and romantic hippie pieces from domestic and international vendors, as well as designing her own items, the native South Korean wants customers to "feel warm, cozy and relaxed" as they peruse the airy shop—the newest member of The Strand family and successor of the shuttered Unique Vintage. "I loved the location at first glance," she says of the prime new home of her fifth boutique, which will appropriately carry more beach supplies in the coming months.
Customers definitely love the prices, which range from just $20 to $80. While not the go-to for those who prefer to shop local, Irene’s Story stands as an ideal option for fashionistas on a budget. Several items are currently marked 40 percent off, and select summer looks are discounted by 50 percent. Come Friday, October 25, black items will go on sale in honor of Halloween.
Irene and Paul hope to inspire downtown HB with the new boutique, and the imaginative displays easily adored through the oversized front windows appear to be doing the trick.
Irene’s Story is located at 155 Fifth Street, Suite 127, Huntington Beach, CA
92648. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday, 10
a.m. to 8 p.m.