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Photo of two blonde women, Shyla and Elyce Birr, embracing

Alumnae Shyla And Elyce Birr Open Virtual Boutique During Pandemic

Born and raised in Bothell, Washington, about 30 minutes north of Seattle, sisters Shyla and Elyce Birr both attended Bothell High School before heading to FIDM to earn their degrees in Visual Communications. They launched a virtual shop, Pacific Ave Boutique, early in the pandemic that features both in-house designs and curated collections developed with vendors in Los Angeles. Based in Seattle, the entrepreneurs are working to expand their business locally and build a community. 

Tell us about Pacific Ave Boutique: Pacific Ave Boutique launched online in 2020. Whoever decided that mid pandemic was a great time to start a business must have been crazy. We would like to think that it's just that type of crazy thinking that gives us the drive & determination it takes to make our dreams a reality. You could say our inspiration to open a boutique really began when we were kids. We definitely were the girls that took playing dress up a little too seriously, mainly because we never stopped. We took our passion for expressing ourselves through fashion & turned it into a business of our dreams. Our goal is to inspire young women to express their identity through their wardrobe. Whether they are a fellow boss babe taking on the corporate world or a girl who finds joy binging the same Netflix series again and again, we want to provide women the wardrobe to feel confident doing it all. We want our shop to be the go-to place for girls to find their favorite clothing pieces while feeling like part of a community.

We have been solely online for the past year and a half but at the beginning of this summer we began taking curated collections of Pacific Ave to several local street fairs & markets to expand our local customer base as well as create meaningful connections and grow our relationships with our local babes who have been shopping online with us since day one. 

What styles of clothes are you selling? We work with several Los Angeles based vendors to create curated collections. Each collection is based around a trend or theme.Some examples are “Back to Basics,” a collection all about the perfect basics for your wardrobe. “The Mixtape Collection” is inspired by early 2000’s Y2K trends. And “The Material Girl Collection,” a spin off of the popular Material Girl Tik Tok trend/sound with clothes inspired by retro 70’s & 80’s patterns.

We also have a collection of “Pacific Ave Original” products. These are all products we create ourselves, from graphic tees & sweatshirts to reworked vintage Carhartt jackets & even custom hand embellished hats.

How did FIDM help you prepare for this business? FIDM helped us in so many ways, from social media classes to help us know how to grow our online customer base, to graphic design so that we are able to create our own original designs and marketing materials. Styling classes showed us how to style and produce our own photo shoots for content creation. Visual Merchandising developed our skills to be able to effectively display our clothes at markets. Learning the behind the scenes of the buying process so that we were able to be our own buyers in person at trade shows like MAGIC, at vendors showrooms, and even online. And of course our Entrepreneurship classes helped us know the basics of how to start our own business. 

The list truly goes on and on but we always say we wouldn’t have been able to do this without learning all we know from Mondo Robles and Paul Olszewski.

What other work in the industry have you been doing since graduating? 

Shyla: I worked as a visual merchandiser at the flagship Nordstrom in Seattle since graduation up until last year. While working on growing Pacific Ave, I am also working at the Tommy Bahama Corporate Office in Seattle on the Visual Planning team as the Creative Manager of Visual & Home, Planning and creating company wide merchandising direction for window displays and home product.

Elyce: I worked for a Fashion PR agency in Los Angeles post graduation for part of 2020. I then moved back to Seattle and worked in home staging. While working on growing Pacific Ave, I also work for Lamb & Co. as a home stager and decorator for their active listings as well as staging homes for their HGTV show Unsellable Houses.

Anything else you’d like to share? Thanks to FIDM and our time in Los Angeles we have been able to see and work in so many different sides of the industry. We also met so many lifelong friends that help us and support us in all our ventures.

Keep up with Shyla and Elyce on Instagram @shoppacificave.


Categories:  Alumni