Sandie Maggio of Boise and Beth Bindner of Eagle knew their business wasn't working out. The two women had created Villa Decor and Design several years ago, but after a business analysis, they decided there was more demand for wearable designs than home designs.
They wanted to stick with something that matched their interests - functional design and tasteful style. They zeroed in on sports team and college-themed fashions. Villa Lifestyles opened last September in a chandelier-lit showroom in Downtown Eagle, next to a Starbucks coffee shop.
Maggio and Bindner secured a small-business loan from KeyBank and hired a part-time contract employee. Villa Lifestyles opened its doors in September.
The shop sells junior to plus-sized "collegiate couture," from sizes XS to 5XL. The colleges represented in the fashions and gifts include Boise State University, the University of Idaho and the University of Oregon. They're branching out into other universities, sports teams and merchandise for sororities and fraternities.
Their focus is on feminine clothes and accessories. Think "blinged" logo jeans, fingerless fur gloves and towels emblazoned with school spirit.
"Villa Lifestyle believes that showing spirit for your favorite team is more than just wearing your husband's or boyfriend's boxy sweatshirt," Bindner and Maggio said in an email.
The business also holds events, fundraisers, in-home trunk shows and tailgate parties at the store. Maggio, a former trauma and Life Flight nurse, and Bindner, who previously worked in the golf industry, are both mothers with several children, including teenagers.
Q: What led you to open this business?
Maggio: Growing up traveling the world with my family, I developed a passion for collecting unique design elements. I wanted a business that allowed me to share that with others. The showroom needed to be a dynamic, progressive place where my children could be with me after school, participate and learn when possible. My best friend and now business partner, Beth, made it possible for that idea to become a reality. We combined our interests and talents to create a women's boutique that showcased our personalities.
Bindner: I find personal and professional satisfaction in being self-employed. With the pooling of many skills - financial, creative, managerial, marketing and technological - the spirit of entrepreneurship was refreshing and invigorating.
Q: How did you accomplish this goal?
A: Establishing a solid business plan, setting realistic and achievable goals was essential. With the expertise and guidance of Betti Newburn from the Small Business Development Center at Boise State University, we were able to successfully re-open our doors with a new mission, look and feel. We highly recommend this amazing organization to any business owner at any phase of their business.
Q: What do you hope to achieve in the next three to five years?
A: We hope to continue to build on the sturdy foundation that we have established as a collegiate boutique, eventually expanding our lines, increasing our traffic to our storefront, establishing a stronger online presence.
Q: Anything you'd like to add?
A: A portion of sale proceeds of our officially licensed products benefits the Boise State University athletic program as well as student scholarships at University of Idaho. We are benefits partners with Boise State Alumni Association. We offer a 10 percent discount to all Boise State Athletic Association members and all Boise State fans booking their travel to away games with Harmon Travel.
Audrey Dutton: 377-6448