A bit of Down Under with a dash of French comes to Menlo Park with the arrival of Blue Illusion

by Linda Hubbard Gulker on October 27, 2014

Post image for A bit of Down Under with a dash of French comes to Menlo Park with the arrival of Blue Illusion

Local shoppers who’ve spent the last couple of years feeling downcast when walking by what was the popular clothing store Alta now have the opportunity to welcome an import from Australia.  In mid-September, Blue Illusion opened its door officially after a four-week soft opening.

“Even though we have over a 120 boutiques spread over Australia and New Zealand, we have only two locations here in the United States, with plans to open four more by the end of 2015,” said store manager Adriana Ivanov (pictured). “We are happy to have joined such a well-established community, and so far, patrons have been nothing but warm, welcoming, and excited to have us here.

Founded by Danny and Donna Guest nearly 20 years ago, Blue Illusion is known for immersing its boutiques into family-oriented communities. “Menlo Park is the exact fit for our new shop due to its similarity to the places that are already well-established back in Australia,” said Adriana who came to the U.S. from Bulgaria in 2002. Since then, she’s worked in retail management although she earned an M.S. in Industrial Engineering in her native country.

“Even though I pursued science, I grew up in a family that was involved in people businesses,” she said. “My parents owned a boutique and my father owned four restaurants.”

The clothes at Blue Illusion are described by the company as French-inspired. A quick inspection revealed a range of sports wear that also included shoes and some fun housewares.

Down under, Blue Illusion stores have staged fundraising events with local organizations, which Adriana hopes to continue at the Menlo store. “During these events, we work with a nonprofit organization, preferably from the local community, for which 20 percent of all sales go back to that organization,” she said.

“Each Blue Illusion store also sponsors a World Vision Child. We correspond via letters and send the child gifts and tokens. The child we’re sponsoring here at Menlo Park is a five-year-old boy from India. He has three sisters and enjoys playing with toys.

“On October 29, we are having a Friends and Family event, for which all invitees will receive 10 percent off their total purchase. It is a simple way to show our customers our appreciation for their gracious welcoming to Menlo Park.”

Photo by Irene Searles

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