Mink boutique has a dedicated following in Portland. For many women, it is their GO-TO for perfect fit, high quality, and beautiful everyday apparel and accessories. Mink is a boutique you can trust to deliver high-end products at reasonable price points. It's chic, classy, and has a tasteful, comfortable atmosphere. Every time I have shopped at Mink, I have left feeling beautiful.

Shop owner/designer Carla Mink carefully curates designer-manufactured goods, including many Portland-based designers and other hand-picked Americans. Her elegant taste sets the tone for this store, and I am honored to be one of the first to leak that she is producing a house line.

I had the chance to talk with Carla about her store, her upcoming in-house collection, and her plans for the future (full disclosure: she's due any day to have a baby as well).

Carla Mink, shop owner/designer
  • Glen LaFollette
  • Carla Mink, shop owner/designer

How long has Mink been in business?

Mink: March is Mink's seven-year anniversary! We are super-excited to be well past the five-year milestone and are now looking to fine tune what we do best while moving in a few new directions. In 2014 we'll be introducing an in-house clothing line and putting more focus on national and international sales.

How would you describe the aesthetic and lifestyle your boutique reflects?

Portland has its own very unique fashion culture. And while we love and embrace it, we've tried really hard to break the mold and be a little different. Our clothing is still rooted in comfort, but it's for women who want a more urban, sophisticated look focused on fit. We love classic looks but with a modern, edgy twist. We believe in non-disposable clothing, so we want our pieces to still look great and be on-trend after several seasons. We strive to outfit our customers in pieces that can go from Portland to New York City and still hold their own.

Mink Boutique on Hawthorne
  • Glen LaFollette
  • Mink Boutique on Hawthorne

You're creating your own house collection; is this your first in-house collection? What can we expect to see?

Yes! I'm really excited to debut my line! It's my first collection, but I've been taking notes and sketching for years, so I feel really ready for this. I've started out by designing a core collection. It'll focus on pieces which will be produced for more than one season with small variations and of course with different fabrics and prints. From the core collection you can expect really flattering silhouettes in easy-to-wear styles. Think of your go-to dress. The one that makes you feel happy, pretty, and skinny. If I could have a closet of these dresses I would be one psyched lady! Since these styles aren't that easy to find, I decided to design them myself. Think of soft necklines, waist enhancing details, and perfect A-lines.

Snap shot of some of the new fabrics well be seeing from Minks House Line
  • Glen LaFollette
  • Snapshot of some of the new fabrics we'll be seeing from Mink's House Line

When can we get apparel from the Mink house collection?

I'm planning on debuting the line in March, but I'm also expecting a baby that month, so I'm going to say mid-April to early May to be on the safe side.

Will you be designing new collections each season?

I will! I'll continue to produce the core collection, but also put out new, on-trend styles to supplement the core collection and keep things exciting!

What other Portland boutiques inspire you?

I love Physical Element. She has so many pieces from Europe that you won't see anywhere else. And as a consumer it's hard to imagine, but dealing with customs and importing from Europe is a lot of work. I admire the owner Jo's style and how hard she's willing to work to get those pieces in Portland! I also love Folly, Mabel and Zora, and Garnish cause they too are working their booties off designing their own lines while running their shops. And lastly, Parallel. That store is SO NYC and super-edgy! The owner Tez has the best eye!

Do you have any other exciting events on your calendar for 2014?

2014 will be a year of firsts for me. I'm debuting my first line and having my first child (having two babies, in a way). I can't think beyond that right now, but I'm sure we'll have some more fun stuff up our sleeves. We always do!