CATCHING UP WITH INDIANA JOAN’S

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Joan Bryant (pictured) and her daughter Kelly have kept the same unique vibe of their clothing store Indiana Joan's, now located in Newbury Park, and have added a couple of new touches, such as a day spa and to- be-scheduled crafting events for women only.

The funky, unique boutique offers day spa treatment, and crafting events for women at its new location in Newbury Park.

By Lisa Kestenbaum / Special to The Malibu Times

From jewels and gems to high heels and facials, Indiana Joan’s boutique is a go-to for any woman seeking a retreat to find unique and beautiful clothes, as well as refreshing beauty treatments. A plate of cookies and hot cider greets shoppers at the door, while owner Joan Bryant and daughter Kelly Bryant offer smiles behind a glass counter. Chandeliers hang from the ceiling and the walls are painted a soothing aqua and chocolate brown; a sitting area is off to the left, while racks of dresses and blouses fill the floor space that leads to the day spa, where Kelly, an esthetician, offers a menu of different facials and skin products.

“We wanted the store to be a place where customers could park their troubles at the door and get to be the center of attention,” Joan said.

The store, located in Newbury Park, echoes that of its former Malibu headquarters (albeit, there was not a day spa there) which was located in a corner of the Malibu Country Mart, right next door to sushi restaurant Nobu. There, some of the best unique fashion deals in Malibu could be found.

It’s something the mother-daughter team has continued in their new space; they take pride in that Indiana Joan’s is friendly and affordable.

“People have hundreds of choices when it comes to shopping, so to establish a clientele and be successful, you have to care about the people who come in,” Joan explained. “Shopping should be fun,” she added. “It shouldn’t cost a whole paycheck.”

Joan has a slightly different vision for this new location; she wants to establish crafting days for women, where she can share her love for creating things.

“It’s an awesome day, when people can just throw themselves into crafts, not aware of time or their body,” she explained.

Joan, who described crafting as her “high,” plans to move the clothing racks aside and put craft tables with supplies and examples in the space.

“It will be a women’s event-not for children,” she explained. “Moms can come and share the joy that I know people have with crafts.”

The events will include hat-, headband-, card- and candle-making, and refreshments.

“I’ll supply everything required. Just come with your imagination and have fun!” Joan said.

The self-described “wordsmith” also plans on bringing her collection of sayings, which she loves to include in her own crafts, like her favorite motto: “If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with a little rain.”

Joan described her childhood self as a “designer, sewer and maker of all things.” Growing up in Indiana, she remembers reading Seventeen magazines cover to cover, saving them so she could try and make the clothes featured in the pages instead of buying them.

“Even though [my mother] always wore high heels and skirts, she was a bargain shopper,” Joan said. “To get the clothes I wanted I figured I had to make them.”

After studying costume design at Indiana University, Joan left her home state for Los Angeles to design costumes for film. Soon after, she was inspired to make her own clothing line, naming it “Goody Goody,” after the Ella Fitzgerald classic. She described the line as “clothing you could dance in” and sold the collection on the Venice Boardwalk.

“I would make the clothes during the week, then on the weekends I would put a rug down, erect a tent and sell them on the boardwalk while Kelly roller-skated around,” Joan explained.

While Goody Goody was successful on the beach, Joan and her husband, Hugh, decided it was time to set up a retail storefront. While visiting a friend in Malibu, they noticed a vacancy in the Country Mart and, drawn to the “relaxed, dog-friendly” atmosphere, the Bryants decided to open a boutique. Indiana Joan’s stayed in the Country Mart for 25 years; Joan remembers “seeing it all come and go-customers came in with their kids, who later got married—we watched generations grow-up.”

The homey, relaxed feeling of the Newbury Park store remains, which Kelly described as “a place where anyone can feel comfortable because there’s something for everybody.”

Indiana Joan’s is located in the Paraíso Town Center at 350 Via Las Brisas in Newbury Park. More information can be obtained by calling 805.262.2699.