Sylvia Mruk: Guiding customers’ contemporary clothing decisions
By Sylvia Mruk’s account, almost all her waking hours are spent in Menlo Park. “I sleep in Woodside, but this is my baby,” she says of contemporary clothing store Graciana located in downtown Menlo Park, which she manages.
Sylvia met owner Diana Ferrari five years ago. Ferrari first sold just Amber jewelry, which she imported from Poland, but expanded her offerings to include European clothing lines.
“We don’t target what’s ‘in,'” explains Sylvia, “because we believe clothing is an investment. The lines we carry are traditional with a contemporary look. Much of what we sell can go from day to evening. Our customers don’t have to feel that they’re spending money on special occasion outfits that they wear infrequently.”
Sylvia says most of the clientele is repeat, citing what she characterizes as extra loyalty. “Local residents really seem to support small businesses and want them to succeed – and they’ve stuck by us in tough times.”
When you enter the store, Sylvia greets you, but you’re then free to browse and try on clothes according to your own schedule. “I don’t like it when sales clerks jump all over me,” she says. “I’m here if someone wants my opinion. But ultimately it’s up to each individual – she has to feel comfortable in clothes she’s wearing. Of course, there’s nothing better than when some one comes back in and tells me they got lots of compliments.”