Written by: Sally J. Clasen | Photography by Mark Lipczynski
Olivia Verma Smith’s parents, Avtar and Satya Verma, were new to the fashion industry in the early ’70s when they travelled across the country to sell Satya’s clothing sketches to wholesalers.
Today, Smith is the general manager of the enterprise her parents started, Star of India Fashions, which is one of the largest makers of women’s clothing in Arizona with its own fashion label, distribution center and retail store concepts in Arizona and California, including Creations Boutique at Tempe Marketplace. The first Creations Boutique opened in Tucson in 1971 and a location recently opened at Desert Ridge Marketplace.
Creations features the company’s national brand Angie, as well as such items as candles, accessories and jewelry crafted by local designers and artists.
“Angie is bo-ho inspired and made with printed, lightweight woven fabrics. We try to keep the fit loose and comfortable,” says Smith of the proprietary women’s label of maxi-dresses, billowy blouses and romantic jumpsuits that are also sold across the United States to 5,000 retailers and major outlets such as Macy’s and Nordstrom. “And we try to stay close to the creative people in the Valley and seek out many talented makers.”
While some might assume Creations’ target demographic leans younger, the store’s signature offering appeals to shoppers of all ages who are attracted to the casual, retro look. “We cater to as wide a customer base as we can and try to be inclusive in our sizing, from children’s size 6 to 3x. It’s a cross-generational offering,” she says.
The moderate price point—most items are under $50 with many selling for $20, $30 and $40—also makes the Creations buying experience more accessible with less national competition, according to Smith.
And just like the flare of the ’70s, the store’s bright, energetic vibe is a creative space that pays homage to the colorful decade Smith’s parents launched their clothing operation. The vintage aesthetic includes handmade fixtures that are built using reclaimed materials and crafted by welders in Tucson and found furniture. “The fixtures are very artistic and feel like art sculptures that we hang clothes on,” says Smith.
Despite longevity in business, Creations must stay on-trend to be relevant, particularly when the store’s focus takes a nod from the past. “We design and take a take a trend and translate it for modern times. It’s fun and I’m blessed to do this,” she says of the family enterprise, which also involves her brother Ajay Verma.
Smith feels lucky that Creations was able to relocate to Tempe Marketplace last fall from its former location on Mill Avenue, a move that increased the store’s footprint from 2,000 to 4,000 square feet.
“A retail shopping place like Tempe Marketplace typically wouldn’t take on a small store like this,” explains Smith. “We originally opened it up as a pop-up and then a space became available. The management really partnered with us. We are a small operation next to a national chain and it’s a big honor.”
2000 E. Rio Salado Pkwy. #1246, Tempe, AZ 85281 | (480) 448-168