The sweaters hanging on racks throughout Allie Olson's small store in the Flagstaff Mall are one of a kind.
The exotic designs incorporating ruffles, faux-fur lining and other flair are often a collaboration between Olson and West Coast clothing designers.
The 26-year-old businesswoman has worked closely with Los Angeles-based designers for the last three years to outfit her stores in Sedona, Prescott and, since August, here in Flagstaff.
In the beginning, Olson remembers leaving her home at 2 a.m. for "crazy" 24-hour trips to Los Angeles and back in order to pick out clothes for her 2,000-square-foot store in an outlet mall in Sedona.
Today, there are fewer 900-mile round trips on her calendar.
Owning a small chain of retail clothing stores allows Olson to work directly with designers. Her eye for detail has allowed her to carve out a niche in northern Arizona.
"You don't find them anywhere else. We have sweaters that have all kind of faux-fur trimmings and color -- just a lot of style for one piece of clothing," she said.
The stores carry more than just sweaters, of course. Allie Ollie sells dresses, tops, pants, jewelry, purses and other accessories.
Designer brands carried in her store include clothing from the Sharon Max collection, Danielle Jeans and Sacred Threads. The last line is a point of pride for Olson.
"They are a bit more hippie-influenced, natural-fiber clothing. I like that clothing line because it supports elevating women in India," Olson said.
Not that her customers in Flagstaff want the same items as customers in Prescott or Sedona.
"In Flagstaff, it is kind of fun for me because we are carrying things here we don't carry at the other stores," she said. "It is little bit more casual."
The stores are a culmination of a long-held dream of hers.
"I've known I wanted to have clothing stores since I was a little girl," Olson said.
But in 2008, at the height of the recession, Olson found little support among her family and friends.
"They were never highly encouraging," she said. "They never discouraged me, but they didn't write a check."
Instead, she wrote the check from the savings she had amassed while working as both a Realtor and an appraiser.
"I saved it all; it took me years to do it," Olson said.
She argued to anyone willing to listen that women still wanted to shop, even in a recession. Olson said women shop for new outfits for a variety of reasons, noting even those who lose their job might need a new outfit for a job interview.
"I had the goal where adult women could shop and find trends as well as great basics," she said.
The store's name -- taken from what her father called her as a little girl -- is now synonymous in the mind of some northern Arizona shoppers with that same goal of specialty shopping for adult women.
Joe Ferguson can be reached at 556-2253 or email@example.com.
Allie Ollie in the Flagstaff Mall
Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.