Karmen Berentsen, owner of A Line Boutique, a style stop that’s expanding to four locations this season, isn’t your typical retail storeowner: The one-time tech entrepreneur hates shopping and doesn’t actually describe A Line as a fashion boutique. “I love telling people that I don’t own a retail store,” she says. “A Line is a hospitality company with inventory.”
It makes sense, then, that A Line isn’t your typical clothing store. “We’re not about labels or status,” Berentsen says. “I love that most of our clients don’t know and don’t care about brand names; neither do we. We are inviting, approachable, and fun. The clothes come last.”
A Line is all about empowering women. To do that, Berentsen (above) focuses on problem solving. “I don’t feel like I made a big leap going from tech to fashion. My job was to empower people through training. I saw companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on processes that didn’t work. Things were harder than they needed to be, so I went out on my own to change that pattern. I’m doing the same thing here.”
She also offers the kind of expertise you would find only in a European designer store, plus great customer service. “You aren’t met by a typical store greeter when you walk into those shops. Instead, you are met by professional stylists who have tried on every single piece of clothing and can, in two seconds, know your size and what will look good on you,” Berentsen says.
“We train our staff to be professional stylists through a serious internal training program. The first week is about being a host: If you can’t anticipate people’s needs and truly welcome them, you don’t make it to week two. In terms of our unique hospitality, you’ll be offered, for starters, a Pellegrino or glass of wine or champagne when you walk in. We are kid-, dog- and husband-friendly: We have juice boxes, iPads, coloring books, building blocks—we’ve ordered filet mignons for husbands before. We also do complimentary tailoring, home and office deliveries, and in-home styling appointments where, using only your closet, we create outfits for the week ahead.”
Mid-range to upscale, A Line’s style is “classic with an edge. You could wear 95 percent of what we sell for the next 10 years,” Berentsen says. Shop the new app: “It’s a virtual dressing room that, among other things, alerts you when items you’ve tried on get marked down.”
Keep a lookout for new A Line hubs. “Some brandnew news: We’re building a new space in Cherry Creek by SoulCycle.”
A Line Boutique
2445 E. 3rd Ave.
6769 E. Belleview Ave.
6360 Promenade Parkway, Castle Rock
1750 S. Wewatta St., Unit 190 (open by April)