From a young age, Martha Murillo dreamed of owning her own women’s fashion boutique. For the fashion design school grad, that time came Dec. 7 when she and her husband, Ricardo, opened Apricot Lane Boutique in Geneva.“I wanted to do something that I truly enjoyed and this is it — fashion,” says Murillo. “If I was going to provide a service or product to a customer, I wanted to be sincere.”

The Murillos chose Geneva to locate their boutique for obvious reasons. “Geneva has a lot to offer, and it offers great logistical advantages since it sits in the heart of the Tri-City area,” says Murillo. “We chose the Geneva Commons Mall specifically as it is an upscale lifestyle center located in the busiest area of the Randall Road commercial section. We selected this city and this specific retail space as we believed it would allow us to project our business philosophy.”

The Murillos’ business philosophy is to offer a small inventory of each item, allowing customers to wear a unique article of clothing or accessory that won’t be found everywhere. Each item is hand-picked by the owner, making sure the store carries the latest trends.

Apricot Lane Geneva is part of a national fashion franchise.“We decided to join this great franchise because it offered the flexibility of making it your own from the standpoint of the merchandise selections,” says Murillo.Because the boutique is locally owned, it carries a selection of clothing, accessories and gifts different from any other location. “Our clothing is on-trend, affordable, and ever-changing to ensure you walk away with something one-of-a-kind,” says Murillo. “We carry a curated collection of well-known brands mixed with new, up-and-coming brands, all of which are high-quality, stylish and affordable. We provide forward trends with a classic style.” New, limited-quantity items arrive weekly.

A contributing part of the Murillos’ success has been the ability to create a unique in-store experience. “My team knows that the experience of each of our guests is the No. 1 priority,” says Murillo. “Even though we’ve only been open since December we already see customers who visit us frequently and we know them by name; we chat about life and laugh together. They tell us their wants when it comes to clothing and we turn that into a great fashion experience. Our stylists are getting to know our customers and they help them create great outfits. We love to see their smiles when we suggest an outfit that they probably would not normally consider and, after they try the outfit, they come out of the fitting room loving it! I think that these experiences turn a regular shopping experience into something special.”

Murillo says sheenjoys the satisfaction of knowing she just made someone feel beautiful. “You never know, but each time you do this you may be helping someone change their day to the better.What could bring me more joy than that?”