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Ivori Fashion Boutique and BeautyMarks Class Acts join Gilroy's Downtown T Brenda Lafuente (Ivori Fashion Boutique), Tammy DeCosta (BeautyMarks) and Samantha (Sam) Hindman (Cosmetologist/Hair Stylist) Written By Kimberly Ewertz 42 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN he community lost two exceptional shops last year with the closing of Itty Bitty Beauty and Amoretto boutiques in downtown Gilroy, both of which offered personalized service and quality merchandise. Fortunately, that void was filled with the arrival of Ivori Fashion Boutique and BeautyMarks, located in the same location as the previous shops, at 7490 Monterey Street. Owner of Ivori Fashion Boutique, Brenda Lafuente, who describes her store as a lifestyle boutique, is an entrepreneur and mother of two daughters, Alina 29, and Tiana, 24. She also sports quite an impressive résumé. Before moving to Gilroy from Salinas last year, Lafuente operated three shops in downtown Monterey on Alvarado Street: Kaiya Boutique, Karma Fashion Lounge, and Goodie 2 Shuz. Prior to her 12 years of retail experience she worked for nearly 20 years in the world of corporate marketing, including a nine-year run as Director of Marketing for a wireless software company. “I was really fortunate to gain the experience that I did and I had the opportunity to travel the world,” Lafuente said. As much as she enjoyed that world, she dreamed of opening her own business. “And I wanted it to be a boutique,” Lafuente said. By 2017, her Monterey businesses had come to a close and she made the move to Gilroy with the intention of taking some time off for herself. That reprieve was short lived. A conversation with Sandra Castañeda, former owner of Amoretto Boutique, changed her plans. Castañeda was looking for someone to transfer her store’s ownership to, and Lafuente was a perfect fit with her previous retail experience. “It was truly meant to be,” Lafuente said, adding, “Everyone has just been amazing and so supportive. I feel like it’s a little family, the downtown community.” Ivori offers customers fashion, accessories, shoes, and unique gifts, in addition to supporting the community. “My plan is to support local artists and bring in items that february/march 2019 gmhtoday.com