"We had a customer, a good friend, who lost 100 pounds." Laura Heikkila beams as she tells the story. "She promised herself as soon as she got to that goal weight, she'd get a whole new wardrobe from the boutique as a reward," Laura says. "When she came in, we could see how excited she was. It was awesome."
When Laura says "we," she's referring to her co-owner and best friend, Melissa Valdovinos. It was their mutual love of fashion that started the Smitten Clothing Boutique ball rolling. "We'd travel to California and go shopping, and our friends would be jealous," Laura explains. "So we were rollerblading and talking one day. We decided right there to bring some of Los Angeles here." Within the week, Laura and Melissa signed a lease on a place, but there was still one important thing left to do. "I was looking for a name, something catchy and one word. And then, I thought of smitten. It means, ‘to be in love with something.’"
Smitten owes some of its success and foot traffic to its attachment to The Coeur d'Alene Resort, which boasts numerous awards including a spot on Travel + Leisure's list of 500 World's Best Hotels in 2009 and a five-star resort rating from Golf Digest. The other key to their success is their loyal clientele. "My mom shops here, and she's 72. But it's really all the regulars, stopping in weekly for the new styles." Laura's referring to the items she ships in from LA, including pieces from Rock Revival, Billabong, and LA Idol, a popular brand which often sells out within a week.
During winter months, the duo helms shopping parties, such as Women Who Wine, and hosts fashion shows that benefit local charities. The two love helping people, both on and off the clock. "Taking someone who has no idea what to wear and helping them find their fashion, it's amazing. But the main thing is that Melissa and I love each other. And we have a lot of fun."