Lyndsay Catledge is the owner of Urban Trends Boutique, a retail and online clothing and home shop in Stanwood, WA. Lyndsay is a style writer for Mo-Minski.
Lyndsay Lohrenz-Catledge and her older sister Shannon Morgan have the same infectious laugh. Raised in the small town of Healy, Alaska, Lyndsay followed in Shannon’s footsteps in both basketball and volleyball. The day after high school graduation, Lyndsay packed the car and drove to Spokane, Washington, not far from where Shannon was attending college in Pullman. After a year of working random jobs, Lyndsay earned Washington residency and enrolled at Washington State University. She earned a degree in social science but wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her life.
After a stint in Kirkland, Lyndsay moved in with Shannon and Shannon’s husband, who were living in Port Orchard. It was in Shannon’s close-knit neighborhood that Lyndsay met Rick, a handsome and devoted father of two young sons. They soon fell in love. A year and a half later, Lyndsay and Rick married. On Valentine’s Day in 2012, the family of four expanded to include a daughter, Reece.
FROM SALEM TO STANWOOD
When Reece arrived, Lyndsay and Rick decided to move to Salem, OR. It was time to start anew. In Salem, Lyndsay and Rick bought a beautiful house on a cul de sac—and quickly became inseparable from the neighbors on their street. Deep friendships formed—for Lyndsay and Rick as well as Reece and her older brothers, Clarke and Baylen. For a while, life was ideal. Then Rick got laid off. Lyndsay had been taking care of several neighborhood kids informally but decided to get certified as an in-home care provider. She and Rick transformed the lower level of their home, and Lyndsay’s daycare was soon booked. Lyndsay was grateful to be able to earn an income while taking care of her daughter. “Most of the kids were Reece’s age. We did tons of arts and crafts and creative projects. It was good for our family.”
And then Rick got another job—in Everett, WA. “For months, Rick was up in Everett for four days every week. I was at home with our three kids, plus running the daycare.” As much as Lyndsay and Rick loved their neighbors and their home, they couldn’t manage being apart so much. In the summer of 2016, after much agonizing and research, the family moved to Stanwood, WA. “We wanted a good school district, and I love that the ocean and mountains are so close here,” Lyndsay says. “You can go for a quick drive in either direction and it’s like you’re on a mini vacation—but you’re so close to home.”
During the moving transition, Lyndsay started researching online boutiques. “I started thinking about a business where I could offer better prices for quality clothing. As a mom of three, I wanted quality clothes, but I didn’t want to pay an arm and a leg to dress my kids.”
Lyndsay filled an entire journal with her business plans. Within months, she had launched an online store. “It was going well,” Lyndsay says, “but I knew it could be more than what it was. Stanwood only had a QFC and a Haggen’s. There are a few boutiques here, but no children’s or babies’ clothing less than 20 minutes away.” Meanwhile, Lyndsay’s inventory was growing. “My house was filled with racks of clothes. I was constantly telling the kids not to touch anything. I knew we needed a different storage place.”
One morning, Lyndsay and Rick were having breakfast at the Stanwood Café, a cozy diner set on a historic brick road, when something caught their eye. “There was a for-rent sign on a beautiful old brick building across the street,” Lyndsay recalls. “Later that day, the landlord was handing us the keys to our new store.”
Just like that, Lyndsay had a retail operation: Urban Trends Boutique. But she didn’t go it alone. “Our family has done all of it together,” says Lyndsay. “We just dove right into it. The paint, the racks, the displays—we did it all together. And our oldest son Clarke, who’s now 15, works in the store on the weekends.” For the store’s design, Lyndsay wanted modern with a twist of industrial. “We have a lot of metals and woods, using piping for our display racks.”
Fortunately, Lyndsay had gained retail experience during her earliest work days. “In the summers in Alaska, there were lots of job opportunities when Denali National Park opened every year. Most kids in our town started working as soon as they could—at age 14. I worked in a gift shop and a bookstore, where I was exposed to the ordering process and how wholesale works. And all through college I worked at a restaurant and was in charge of the waitstaff and ordering certain supplies. So, with our store, I wasn’t starting from scratch.”
The store carries mostly women’s and kids’ clothes, which are the big sellers. “Mostly our items are what the average busy woman feels comfortable wearing while also feeling trendy,” she says. Sometimes Lyndsay can hardly believe that her job is buying and selling clothes. “You become a shopaholic,” Lyndsay confesses. “It’s pretty amazing. Sometimes Rick says, ‘It’s okay, Lyndsay, you don’t have to bring one of everything home.’ And I think, ‘I’ll be good, I already have 15 DoubleHood hoodies.’ It’s so much fun.”
Urban Trends Boutique is open 7 days a week from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm. “The town is really receptive,” Lyndsay says. “We have so many loyal customers. Stanwood reminds me a lot of where I grew up in Alaska. People like to support the other local shops in the community. And I order in small quantities so the town isn’t all wearing the same sweater. In Alaska, we only had Fred Meyers, so we all looked alike, whether we wanted to or not!”
Lyndsay also makes a point of supporting local artists and artisans. “I’ve met a lot of people in Stanwood, and I like to support them when I do my buying, especially with accessories and home décor.”
DOWN THE LINE
Ultimately, Lyndsay hopes to grow the shop. “Our landlords have been here forever and they’re amazing. They’re even open to us expanding and knocking out a wall. There’s a garage door on the other side and it would be perfect to be able to open that on sunny days. I’d love to add more décor and bigger pieces.”
When Lyndsay isn’t busy at the store, she’s busy with her family. “I love watching the kids play sports. It’s wonderful to see them with so much spirit—and all three of them are really coordinated. My siblings and I were huge into playing sports, so I love being there to cheer them on. I also volunteer at Reece’s school each week and it’s so fun to see her in her element outside of the house. It’s great to see how your kids interact with their friends.”
At work and at home, Lyndsay has much to be grateful for. “It’s all so rewarding,” she observes. “And the more grateful you are, the better your life is.”