Opening during the tail end of the pandemic actually proved to be a great thing for Monkee’s of Fairfax. The boutique began welcoming customers just three months ago, and is already making a name for itself with its mix of hard-to-find labels, upscale denim, and vintage designer handbags.
“Obviously, people are ready to go places again and are over being in sweats,” says Kaley Carillon, who owns the shop with her mother, Amy Hollstein. Carillon can relate to her customers. “I know I’m ready to buy new clothes—I hardly bought any last year because I wasn’t going anywhere.”
The store is part of a Southern-based franchise, with the original boutique in Wilmington, North Carolina. The founder, Dee Dee Shaw, named the store after a nickname her mother used to call her and her energetic sisters: a bunch of monkeys. A second store opened in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and now includes outposts in Fredericksburg and Ocean City. Carillon and Hollstein opened the latest location of Monkee’s, which started out as a shoe store and now also sells clothing and accessories.
No two Monkee’s franchises are quite the same. Carillon and Hollstein like to target items for the area in which they live. “Things that sell in Northern Virginia are different than in Texas,” she says. “They are different people and different climates, and different brands sell more than others.” Noteworthy labels carried in this store include Olivia James, Crosby, Tyler Boe, PAIGE Denim, and Julie Vos; there’s also a selection of vintage designer handbags.
“The pandemic power of social media has helped too,” Carillon says. “The shop has exploded even more than we expected—social media was so helpful getting our name out there.” Most of their customers, Carillon says, see items they want on Monkee’s social media (especially its Instagram feed, @monkeesoffairfax) and come to check out the furry vests, printed blouses, and suede booties in person. The shop’s social media channels are updated daily, with new arrivals appearing almost every day.
Carillon describes Monkee’s as an upscale clothing boutique–but with a sense of comfort. The mother-daughter duo chose to design the shop in blues, greens, and golds. In addition to clothing, Monkee’s sells shoes, jewelry, and candles, among other items. Most of their clothing comes in sizes XS through XL, and pants range up to size 12 to 14.
“We like to say we want it to feel like you’re walking into your most fashionable friend’s oversized closet,” Carillon says. “We strive for the goal for anyone of any age to walk into the store and find something they like.”
What’s in Store
1. Julie Vos demi link bracelet, $285
2. Aja sweater, $96
3. Cindy jeans with destroyed hem, $229
4. Piza sequin swing dress, $195
5. Ulani booties, $189