Meet the Owners Behind Some of Our Favorite Boutiques

Plus, their fall styling tips and guides to their cities, from coast to coast.
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Reading this blog—or any blog—you might think that when it comes to shopping, online is the only way to go. But that couldn't be further from the truth. Offline, there's an incredible team of small business owners with beautifully curated stores featuring cupcakes and cashmere clothes in person. We thought it would be fun to introduce you to the managers and founders of five of our favorite boutiques, as well as the cities they're based in—from She She Shoes and The Store in California, to Twigs in Wisconsin, Copper Penny in South Carolina, and Cash & Clive in New Jersey. Read on for their favorite pieces and styling tips, as well as their favorite under-the-radar spots in each of their cities:

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Jill Stapleton opened She She Shoes in Los Gatos, California just one year after cupcakes and cashmere launched (they're celebrating their tenth anniversary in April!). The name pays homage to her fourteen-year-old, self-described "girly" self. She told us, "I loved the play on words with She She and that it really spoke to the experience that I wanted people to have in the store." Not surprisingly, the interior is designed to look like any "girly girl's" dream closet, filled with clothing, accessories, candles (they love burning the Capri Blue Volcano scent), and gifts—with pop and country music always on the speakers.

What’s your favorite thing about Los Gatos?

The best part about Los Gatos is the community. It’s a tight knit group of individuals who love to support small business and strive to keep the town charming and special. Personally, it also holds a very special spot in my heart because both of my parents grew up in Los Gatos and still reside in town, and my two sisters and I have decided to raise our own families in the place that we have called home for so many years. It’s a truly magical place to live and raise a family in.

Describe the ‘uniform’ most locals wear.

During the day, it’s all about Lululemon. Most of our customers come in before or after their workouts (there's a SoulCycle next door) so this is a pretty standard uniform. When they are out of their “running around” clothes, you will likely see them in a skinny jean, tee-shirt, moto style jacket, and booties. 

What are your customers' favorite cupcakes and cashmere pieces?

Our customers love any and all of the cupcakes and cashmere jackets. The moto styles, long trench styles, and jackets can do no wrong. They also love that they can get a lot of looks from one piece. They can dress up the tops for work, then easily transition all the pieces to an evening out. Our target customers are stylish moms (much like Emily), so they relate to her and feel like the looks are attainable and appropriate, yet still very much chic. The 30 to 50 age range still wants to look on-trend, polished and chic, but are careful with trends and look to cupcakes and cashmere for those that fit in with their lifestyles. 

What are some of your favorite cupcakes and cashmere pieces you’re carrying now?

We are all obsessed with the fall collection. We can’t get enough of the leopard pieces, moto jackets, and the leather skirt. And, of course, we wouldn’t be cupcakes and cashmere fans without saying we always love the pieces that Emily does in stripes. We can never resist a good stripe top or dress.

What does an ideal day off look like for you?

I have two young children, so a day off for me is all about my family. My son is six and my daughter is four, so a day off usually includes a soccer game, lots of time at the park and a family adventure in our town or neighboring cities. 

How would you style cupcakes and cashmere for a day off?

On a Saturday, you might find us wine tasting in the area, shopping downtown, or heading to San Francisco for a fun city day. For a day like this, the Harden Slouchy Jacquard Sweater or the Kirk Sweater paired with a skinny jean, booties and a floppy hat would be our go-to look. Hair can be simple because the hat would do the talking. Pretty neutral tones for the eyes work great for a day look paired with a neutral lip gloss for a little shine.

For a warmer day, the Jonnie Wrap top is perfect to pair with denim and booties. It can be styled the same way as mentioned above, just swap out the warmer sweater for this adorable wrap top.

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Favorite coffee shop and go-to order?

Loma Coffee Bar. Located just behind our store, we all frequent Loma on a regular basis. My drink is nice and straightforward—a latte, and they sure make a good one! Super friendly staff and a quiet place if you need to sit and get work done as well.

Best under-the-radar activity that’s unique to your city?

When most people think of wine tasting, they think of Napa Valley or Sonoma, but the Santa Cruz Mountains has become quite an oasis in Silicon Valley. It’s home to several amazing wineries and unique tasting experiences. Just up the road from downtown, you will find Testarossa which is a winery located in a historic stone facility where a Jesuit order made wine for nearly 100 years. They have live music several times a week and the setting is stunning. Fun fact: This winery still uses the nineteenth century three floor, gravity-flow facility for all the winemaking and cellaring. 

Favorite outdoor spot to take out-of-town guests?

We are fortunate to live close to the beach. Most of the time if we have out-of-town guests, we will take them to experience our quaint downtown area and then take them “over the hill” to Santa Cruz to have some beach time. Whether it’s the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk (if kids are involved) or the quiet beaches of Aptos, Santa Cruz is a welcome retreat located about 25 minutes away.

Best hole-in-the-wall restaurant?

Nick's Next Door—not a hole in the wall by any stretch, but by far the most popular and best local restaurant in our town. One word—amazing!! It’s modern American cuisine with a wonderful wine list and excellent cocktails. It’s charming and quaint and our go-to restaurant any time we have friends visiting from out of town. Book early because reservations are hard to get, and you have to try the abalone. 

How would you style cupcakes and cashmere for a night out at Nick's? 

A night out requires a touch of glam (while still being comfortable). We love the look of the Marrie A-Line skirt paired with the Kacela Ruffle Sleeve Top and Bracken Leopard Moto Jacket, with a sleek black bootie on a stacked heel and a statement hat. Keep accessories simple, as the hat and print on the jacket make a strong enough statement. A bold red lip and loose waves complete this look perfectly. 

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If you live in the South, you've probably come across a Copper Penny boutique. The founder, Penny Vaigneur, opened the first store 31 years ago and since then they've opened eleven more stores all around the South. We caught up with a manager of the boutique in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina; a beautiful seaside town just east of Charleston. 

Describe the ‘uniform’ most locals wear.

Women must dress in layers here in Charleston due to the change in temperatures throughout the day. A lightweight leather or suede jacket is a must for the fall season! Skinny jeans still rule the streets with booties and a chunky sweater, and vibrant colors and prints can be seen on most locals as well. Our customers love cupcakes and cashmere, but we have to say the jackets and sweaters are our most popular styles. They are so easy to throw on over almost anything and great for our weather in the South!

How would you style cupcakes and cashmere for a brisk fall day?

You can’t go wrong with this flirty floral print sun dress, with a high neckline and long sleeves—this cupcakes and cashmere dress is the perfect fall weekend piece. We paired it with a cream colored knit sweater, brown booties, a long necklace and a floppy hat for a cute and youthful look inspired by cupcakes and cashmere! Wear your hair down or in a low pony with simplistic makeup. Use earth tones for the eyes and finish the look with a pretty pink lip and you’ll be ready to take on the day!

How about for a cozy night in?

Channel those effortless vibes and lounge in your favorite leopard print cardigan paired with your most comfy sweats for the perfect night in. Oversized. Cozy. Animal print. This, my friend, is your key to chic loungewear and we couldn’t be happier about it! If you want to feel a little more put together, pull your hair back and throw on some tortoise hoops. You’ll be styled just enough in case someone comes to the door.

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What’s your favorite thing about your city?

The history—Charleston has such strong history.

Favorite workout spot?

I would have to say walking the Ravenel Bridge 2.5 miles each way! You get both a workout and a beautiful view of the city!

Favorite coffee shop and go-to order?

Caviar and Bananas is located around the corner from our downtown location. Our employees love to grab their morning cup of coffee from there on the way into work.

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Favorite outdoor spot to take out-of-town guests?

The waterfront park is so unique—the kids will enjoy splashing around in the water fountain while the adults sit on one of the many park benches and soak up the amazing view! Since it's still hot this October, you'll find us there in a cupcakes and cashmere floral romper, black booties, and layered necklaces (that transitions easily from day to night). 

Favorite smaller venue for live music?

Prohibition always has a great band playing! If you want to dance the night away, this is the place to be.

Best area to go bar-hopping?

All the bars on Upper King are great for bar-hopping. From western bars to cocktail clubs, you can find it on Upper King. Blind Tiger is the perfect spot to grab a beer and hang out with friends, but the best cocktails (and view) in town can be found at the Rooftop at Vendue Inn. It's a great place to sit back and relax while sipping on a martini.

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How would you style cupcakes and cashmere for a night out? 

A night out on the town with your girls means you’re ready to see and be seen! Styled in a moto jacket, paired with high-waisted black denim and a pop of red, this outfit will not disappoint. Polish off your look by pulling your hair back in a high pony with a pair of tassel earrings—you’ll be ready to dance the night away.

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Emily's known Ronnie Unger for years—the boutique she co-owns with Evan Wolf, The Store, is always one of Emily's go-to stops when she's back in her hometown, for their impeccable taste and styling. (It's called 'The Store' because they loved the humor in her customers saying, 'Hey honey, I’m headed to The Store.') Their store is also staffed by some of the warmest, most interesting women like Kim, a bike racer, and Mary who runs up Mt. Tam every single morning. It isn't difficult for anyone to feel at home there. 

What are your customers' favorite cupcakes and cashmere pieces?

We always sell out of all of our cupcakes and cashmere pieces, but the first to go are always the outerwear items

What does an ideal day off look like for you?

Our ideal day off always includes exercise, a beauty treatment of some sort, and much needed chill out time—reading current fashion mags or our book club reads by the pool or the fire!

Describe the ‘uniform’ most locals wear.

Although it's our personal mission to change this (ha), much to our chagrin, locals are most often spotted in their workout gear.

What are some of your favorite cupcakes and cashmere pieces you’re carrying now?

We are absolutely in love with this season's dusters, Adi and Fayola along with our absolute fave sweater of the delivery so far, Harden.

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What’s your favorite thing about your city?

Our quaint village is set amongst magnificent Redwood Trees and beautiful Mt. Tamalpais or "Mt. Tam." We share an abundance of great shopping venues, amazing restaurants and diverse culture with our smart, interesting and, above all, healthy community. 

Favorite workout spot?

Often described as 'Gym Marin', Mt. Tam is everyone's favorite work-out spot!

Favorite coffee shop and go-to order?

Equator Coffee and Tea is our go-to for a delicious craft coffee. Our fave drinks include oat milk cappuccinos and rooibos chai lattes.

Best indulgent spa or self-care spot?

For the best spa treatments we recommend Purevana Skincare. The facials and products are the best ever!

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Best under-the-radar activity that’s unique to your city?

Mountain biking originated on Mt. Tam—if you have a bike, bring it! The trails are famous and the scenery and views spectacular!

Best lunch spot?

Not so much a “deal” per say, but lunch can’t be beat at Juice Girl, Cafe Del Sol, or Good Earth.

Favorite outdoor spot to take out-of-town guests?

A hike up to Blithedale Ridge, which has 360 degree views of the coastline of Marin and the San Francisco bay.

Favorite smaller venue for live music?

Sweetwater Music Hall

Best place to grab a beer... and a cocktail?

Beerworks, a true foodie experience, and cocktails can't be beat at Playa. 

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Jessica Cicchitti, the founder of Cash and Clive in Cape May, New Jersey, is relatively new to the boutique business (she opened a year and a half ago) but has already made a name for herself, selling to all ages. She told us, "As a little girl I always loved shopping with my mom and grandmother, so when I opened the store, I never wanted anyone to walk through the door and say 'oh this place is too old for me or too young for me.' We will always find something for everyone!" 

Does the name of your boutique have any special significance? 

Yes! My mom was a huge animal lover and we had a few farm animals at her house growing up (yes, farm animals by the beach). Anyway, all the animals were named after famous people in the music industry, and our two goats were named after Johnny Cash and Clive Davis, hence Cash and Clive.

What are your customer's favorite cupcakes and cashmere pieces?

EVERYTHING! This time of year it’s definitely the jackets and sweaters though. If they aren’t commenting on the fact that they “follow that blog'" or that they love the name, they are always talking about what a great price point it is and how wearable and on-trend everything always is. It’s definitely one of our best-selling collections. [Ed note: We're blushing!]

What are you looking forward to wearing this holiday season?

I definitely plan to live in my vegan leather leggings and an oversized sweater. Also, I can’t wait for the sequined blazer to arrive and to wear that over a plain white tee and my favorite jeans.

What’s the go-to playlist you play in your store? 

The 'Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats' Pandora station! I constantly have to tell people what station we're playing. It's great; it plays everything from Johnny Cash, The Lumineers, and Mumford & Sons to Van Morrison and obviously Nathaniel Rateliff. Definitely add it to your rotation! 

We spy a cupcakes and cashmere jacket!

We spy a cupcakes and cashmere jacket!

How many people work at Cash and Clive? 

Including myself there are four. I graduated from Philadelphia University with a degree in Fashion Merchandising, and I do all the buying and curating in the shop as well as managing the day-to-day operations! You can always find me in the shop or on a buying trip. Alex started with us this past Spring after graduating from Rowan University with a degree in Marketing. She's our Instagram expert extraordinaire, and works closely with me on the website and in the shop! Lexi is currently working on her degree at Rowan University and has been with me since I first opened—definitely our most sassy and honest stylist! Becky is a full-time teacher but helps us out in the summer months when it's crazy and we need someone to keep us organized. I truly am so blessed to have the best group of girls to be a part of Cash and Clive; they are all amazing and truly love styling our clients as much as I do. I also think every customer leaves laughing no matter what because we are all pretty silly as well.

What does an ideal day off look like for you?

Days off... HA, do those exist? I feel like when you own a business you are never truly off, but this is something that I have been trying to get better at, so even half a day off is a pretty huge deal. When this does happen, it always starts with brunch either with my husband when he’s home (he is a commercial fisherman and is out fishing for long stretches of time) or with my girlfriends, then a walk around town and along the ocean. If the weather is nice, we will end up going on a boat ride or to the beach. Fall beach days are the best! 

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What’s your favorite thing about your city? 

I truly cannot pick one favorite thing because for a small town we have so much to offer. The restaurants are amazing (my personal favorite is The Lobster House), the Victorian architecture is so well maintained and charming, the ocean and beaches are the best, and the people that live here and visit are all amazing! Something I love is being at the shop and people-watching from our front door—you will see everything from a surfer running with their surfboard to the beach to a horse drawn carriage. I always say there is truly something magical about Cape May!

Favorite workout spot?

My favorite place to work out is definitely just going for a run along the beach.

Favorite coffee shop and go-to order?

Magic Brain has the best coffee and I literally can’t start my day without it. You know it's bad when you don’t even have to order and they just know what you need!

Best brunch spot?

The Mad Batter is a really fun brunch spot — it's known for great food and their MANMOSA (yes manmosa - you will have to come to Cape May to find out what’s in that one!); it's definitely one place that you go to with a large group and always run into someone you know. Super fun for a girl’s day.

Wearing the cupcakes and cashmere Indra jacket before brunch with girlfriends

Wearing the cupcakes and cashmere Indra jacket before brunch with girlfriends

Favorite smaller venue for live music? 

For outside, Harry's Rooftop has the best view of the ocean and always has great live music, and for inside, the Brown Room at Congress Hall is super cozy.

Best hole-in-the-wall restaurant?

Mayer's Tavern! This place is definitely a little hard to find and off the beaten path if you don’t live here, but if you find it, you will be really happy that you did! Get the scallops!

Describe the ‘uniform’ most locals wear.

That’s an easy one. We're pretty low key and casual in Cape May, so you can basically catch everyone in jeans, a t-shirt, and rainbows!

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How would you style cupcakes and cashmere for a night out?

For a night out we would wear the perfect fall dress, which is the Manet sweater dress, styled with a pair of black Dolce Vita side-slit booties and a simple black Clare V. fold-over clutch. For hair and makeup, we would keep it simple because we're in Cape May and it’s pretty laid back even for a night out. Hair would be down and wavy, makeup would be neutral with a bold lip.

How would you style cupcakes and cashmere for a casual Saturday day?

Saturday day would be totally casual and ready for brunch and a stroll through town which means the local uniform, but a bit more elevated for us. Picture the Indra Vegan leather jacket paired with the perfect black or white tee tucked into our favorite high waisted RE/DONE jeans and golden goose sneakers. Hair would be left over from Friday night so a bit tousled and undone, makeup super simple (mascara, bronzer and a nude lip gloss). Accessories would include a Clare V. crossbody and a credit card to buy all our friends Manmosa’s at the Mad Batter!

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If you look closely at Twigs' logo, you might realize it looks something like a rustic chandelier—and that's because it is. The co-founder, Jen Van Wart, was inspired by the look of "the amazing chandeliers made of hickory twigs that I found in rural Pennsylvania." In the 17 years since the store was opened, it's grown far beyond its humble roots with locations in both Madison and Milwaukee.

Describe the ‘uniform’ most locals wear.

Madison's often described as a smaller Portland or Boulder. Very outdoorsy and very chill. You can go to the best restaurants in town wearing jeans. 

What are your customers' favorite cupcakes and cashmere pieces? 

Our customer LOVES Emily's desk-to-dinner styles. I think one of our most popular fall outfits in the store has been the plaid Bela blazer paired with the Cedric vegan leggings. The look is sophisticated enough to be office-appropriate, but can absolutely transition to a night out. I think the reason people love the collection so much is that it dresses you from head to toe, effortlessly. It's so easy to put a great outfit together, feel confident, and be stress-free!

Do you have a go-to candle you burn in your store?

We're currently obsessed with Mssr. Blanchy by Boy Smells. It has notes of ginger root, peppercorn, grapefruit, and leather—it's a little unexpectedly amazing for the season!

What does an ideal day off look like for you? 

The perfect off-duty day would be spent sipping chai and watching old movies. I'm a huge Katherine Hepburn fan.

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What’s your favorite thing about your city? 

What's incredible about both our flagship stores is the presence of water. Madison lies on an isthmus, bordered by two lakes that are integral to the outdoorsy DNA of the city, and Milwaukee sits on the shore of gorgeous Lake Michigan, which looks and feels like an ocean. The lakes are the lifeblood of both cities and really leave the visitor shocked that they're in the Midwest!

Hotel you recommend for out-of-town guests? 

The AC Hotel in Madison has incredible views of the gorgeous Capital building, one of the prettiest in the nation, and the Kimpton Journeyman in Milwaukee's trendy Third Ward neighborhood is the perfect spot to spend a weekend in the city with access to world-class restaurants and the fabulous waterfront.

Best deal for lunch? 

Madison was into food trucks before it was a thing. Home to almost 50,000 UW students, the city has some of the best cheap eats I've seen outside of New York. My favorite is the falafel from Banzo!

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Favorite outdoor spot to take out-of-town guests? 

Definitely no visit to Madison can be complete without a stop at the Memorial Union Terrace. It's in the heart of the UW campus and downtown Madison, and nothing beats the sunsets over Lake Mendota.

Favorite smaller venue for live music? 

The Orpheum and The Majestic are my favorite venues. Tickets are still affordable, you can still get close to the artist, and because of the University, great bands are in town all the time.

Best area to go bar-hopping?

State Street stretches from the campus to the capital and is lined with piano bars, pubs, and watering holes of every variety. If that weren't enough, the Trolley Pub is constantly running up and down this pedestrian walkway, and you're always invited to hop on for a cocktail, a sing-a-long, and a pedal down the street! 

How would you style cupcakes and cashmere for a night on the Trolley Pub?

Cupcakes and cashmere is my favorite line we have in the store for putting together totally unique high-low combinations that have that perfect "street-style" vibe that's never boring. I can't wait to get my hands on the Javier velvet slip dress in that gorgeous green "Winter Ivy" hue (coming this winter!). I have a pair of vintage Gucci black velvet pumps that look like they once lived in Katherine Hepburn's closet I'm dying to wear with it. Smoky eye, nude lip, Adina Reyter diamond earrings, Emily's leopard fur coat for the perfect topper, and to finish the look—my new vintage Chanel double flap for the win!

What are some of your favorite cupcakes and cashmere pieces you’re carrying now? 

The Jennibelle sweater dress is one of my favorite pieces for fall. It's super soft, cozy, and can be dressed up or down so easily. I've been wearing mine with the vegan leather Cedric leggings and my Vince sneakers for a weekday casual look!

How would you style cupcakes and cashmere for a Saturday day?

I'd love to spend a Saturday immersed in the Milwaukee Art Museum, wandering the exhibit halls in my Herrick striped turtleneck and wide legged pants. On-trend yet totally comfortable, I'd finish the look with my Jenny Bird "Last Dance" hoops and Rag & Bone Beha boots. Messy bun, persimmon red BITE lipstick, oversized sunglasses, and I'm ready to steal the art scene!

How would you style cupcakes and cashmere for a cozy night in?

What I love about Emily is that she just gets it. She understands that at the end of the day, we all need our comfy clothes that allow us to unwind in style. Emily's favorite cropped hoody, the Canby, and the matching jogger, the Deano, are literally like wearing a hug—if that's a thing. They're soooooo soft and have all the stylish little details that we love to see in our favorite loungewear. Ponytail, no makeup, Lab to Beauty's detox serum and cupcakes and cashmere's faux shearling "Bill" jacket for picking up the take-out....what more could you want from a Friday night in?!?

Thank you again to She She ShoesThe StoreTwigsCopper Penny, and Cash & Clive. We had the best time chatting with you all! Keep an eye out for more styling tips with our favorite boutiques on @shopcupcakesandcashmere over the next few weeks.