In launching the luxury alpaca outerwear brand Llamita, Menlo Park resident Sandy Guja says she’s combined “all the things I really love.”

Sandy was born in Peru, moving to New York when she was three but visiting her native country every summer to visit relatives. “I went to the Andes and watched the handweaving of alpaca caps and blankets,” she recalls. “It’s a very sustainable fiber. As soon as it’s made, it’s ready to be worn.”

Her career in New York included managing a business (not in the the fashion field) and doing styling for the annual fashion week, which allowed her to work with designers. “When I knew we were moving to California and I realized I’d need to do something new, the idea of alpaca outwear came to mind.”

She describes alpacas as “beautiful, calm and intelligent domestic animals that are prized by the Incas  for their fiber known as the ‘fiber of the gods.'” Their fleece is softer than cashmere,  eight times stronger and warmer than sheep’s wool as well as water resistant.

Online only at the moment, Sandy was in talks with a number of local stores before the pandemic hit. “That’s still my goal, to get my line into retail stores,” she says. “Customers are currently finding Llamita online search, so I’m selling everywhere. It would be nice to establish a local clientele as well!”

Photo by Scott R. Kline (c) 2020


Aida Dalati crafts beautiful brocade jackets in her Allied Arts boutique

It comes down to this for Aida Dalati: “I’m particularly interested in the last layer you put on before you leave the house. It’s the self you want to project.” So, it’s not surprising that her shop at the Allied Arts Guild is filled with what she describes as “wearable art jackets” made from French […]

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M-A senior fashion show scheduled for April 28

The senior/parent fashion show is a 30-year plus Menlo-Atherton tradition and the PTA’s largest fundraiser, providing funding for many of the important student and school services. The show helps the seniors bond and celebrates their last year at M-A while bringing the community together to celebrate the spirit that is M-A. The fashion show is […]

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Spotted: InMenlo fashionistas strutting their stuff at M-A fashion show

InMenlo contributing reporter Kate Flanagan (middle in photo, top) wrote about her stage debut in the M-A senior fashion show, expressing that despite being camera shy and not much a dancer, she was having a great time. And that attitude showed when it came to the actual show. Kate pranced about on stage with classmates Aarthi […]

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Making my M-Ark in the 2017 Menlo-Atherton High School’s Senior Fashion Show

Other than a few scattered dance and piano recitals in elementary school, I have never performed on stage. That will change this Saturday, April 1. I will be ending my decade-long hiatus to perform in Menlo-Atherton’s annual Senior Fashion Show along with about 170 of my classmates. Over three performances (1:00, 4:00 and 7:30 pm), the […]

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Be aM-Azing fashion show takes place March 19

The 2016 M-A Fashion Show takes place on Saturday, March 19, in the Performing Arts Center. There will be three performances: 1 :00 pm (preceded by a catered luncheon), 4:00 pm and 7:30 pm The fashion show is a professionally choreographed, high-energy production that stars the senior class. For over 35 years, the fashion show has […]

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Preemadonna’s Nailbot prints art on fingernails using a smartphone

Co-founder Pree Walia (left in photo) of Menlo Park startup Preemadonna is surprised at how many people don’t get the play on words of her company’s name. “Prima donna may have a negative connotation now,” she said. “But it means First Lady in Italian. And women can feel like prima donnas when they get their […]

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Carley Rydberg draws from her background in fashion design to launch clothing line

Atherton resident Carley Rydberg set a goal for herself. By 40, she would shift from being a full-time mom to starting her own business, specifically as a fashion designer. She’s on the threshold of achieving that goal. “We moved to the Bay Area from Singapore, and that’s where I studied fashion design and had my first [of three] […]

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Shady Lane thrives in its new Sharon Heights Shopping Center location

Earlier this year, the Shady Lane gift shop moved from its bustling downtown Palo Alto location to a quieter storefront in Menlo Park. The store, which now resides in an octagonal building in the Sharon Heights Shopping Center, features an “eclectic mix of beautiful items at all prices,” owner Alice Deutscher explains. Before opening, Alice […]

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From an Atherton studio, comes Lauren & Gracia Jewelry, sold locally and nationally

Lauren Roskoph (right in photo) and Gracia Mahan met about 15 years ago at a jewelry fabrication and casting class and quickly discovered that not only were their kids at the same school, their fathers had both been into woodworking and their mothers into art. “We had a lot of crossover,” said Gracia. A trip […]

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Origami crane dresses are one highlight of successful M-A fashion show

Menlo=Atherton High School seniors Katrina Wijaya and Misato Muraoka (profiled earlier this month) not only took part in this year’s fashion show but they modeled the dresses they designed using origami cranes. The fashion show, chaired this year by Karen Fryling, Michelle Culhane, Nancy Kessler and Mary Fischer, is the PTA’s biggest fundraiser of the year. […]

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