Owned by fashion couple Carrie and Murphy Martines, The Celect is a men’s and women’s boutique located at the outdoor mall The LAB in Orange County. Carrie is the former design director at Volcom while Murphy founded and designed the brand Copy. “International travel played a big role when we designed for Volcom and Copy. We found unique designers that we fell in love with and wanted to share with our community,” Murphy explains about why they decided to switch over to retailing and stock their shop with an assortment of progressive international brands that spans from Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair and Rachel Comey to Mark McNairy and Soulland. Here, he and Carrie discuss their bestsellers, the store’s overall vibe and the challenges of being an independent retailer today. Interview by Christopher Blomquist

What is the history and background of The Celect?
We started working on the project about a year ago. We wanted to introduce Orange County to a new variety of designers and offer customers a more curated boutique experience.

How would you describe the overall aesthetic of the store product-wise and décor-wise?
Minimal, avant-garde, artsy, industrial chic, angular, modern.

Overview of the Celect floor
Overview of the Celect floor

What are some of your current bestselling items?
Katie Eary leopard camo tees and Damir Doma basics for men and the Bernhard Willhelm boots and Anntian dresses for women.

Where do you find the brands and merchandise you carry?
We were introduced to most of the brands through our travels in our previous careers.

What is the most and least expensive item that you carry?
Our prices range from $40 incenses to $1,200 jackets.

Who is the store’s “typical” customer?
Someone who has great style and appreciates well-designed quality goods.

What is the breakdown of the men’s business versus the women’s business?
It’s 50% / 50%.

The avant-garde interior of The Celect
The avant-garde interior of The Celect

You have just launched e-commerce. How was the process of setting up the site and what are the challenges of selling online versus a brick-and-mortar?
Online we have more of an organic approach. It's more a visual commutation platform where the store incorporated all the senses.

What percentage of overall sales do you think that online will eventually account for?

What is the retail scene like in Costa Mesa and how does The Celect stand out?
The retail scene in Costa Mesa, until now, has been very price point focused or on the higher end with the luxury mall South Coast Plaza being down the street. We're offering customers a unique quality product and brands that are exclusive to our area. The pieces we carry are timeless and will be part of someone’s wardrobe for much longer than one season.

Concrete elements play an important part at the Celect
Concrete elements play an important part at the Celect

What do you think the next big fashion trends of tomorrow will be?
Unisex couture styling.

What is the biggest challenge of being an independent multibrand retailer today?
Cash flow.

What is your favorite memory of the store thus far?
Opening the store doors the first day and having about ten people rush in at once.

What is a “golden rule” that every retailer needs to follow?
Take risks.

The Celect
2930 Bristol Street A101B
Costa Mesa, CA 92780

+1 949 500 5073