The Faces of Mountain Air: Beth

A part of what makes Mountiain Air Clothing special is the people behind the counter and out on the floor. Get to know the staff who are always ready to chat fashion, offer advice, and help you find your perfect fit.

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Beth test drives some new Mjus in a popular Jasper photo spot across from the store

Beth L. has been working at Mountain Air since December 2013

Q: Describe your personal style?

Beth: I would say my personal style is pretty sporadic. I kind of dress how I feel on that particular day.

 My style inspirations would be Nicole Richie, Keith Richards and Sarah Jessica Parker. I like the idea of mixing price points in fashion as well as outfits with a bit of a bohemian flare. Layering jewellery and clothing is always fun and a good way to make a outfit funky and unique.

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Q: What is your favourite part about your job? 

Beth: I like meeting people and playing dress up with them! The best is when someone comes in and is totally open to trying on anything and everything. That’s when we find the best outfits and they leave feeling confident and happy!

Q: What’s your superpower while at work? 

Beth: I would say my super power is recognizing returning customers and remembering what they bought the last time they were in! It helps when suggesting new pieces.

Q: What is your favourite activity outside of work:

Beth: There are so many things to enjoy in Jasper on my free time! I love to eat at all our local cafes and restaurants as well as walking the trails with my dog, paddle boarding and bike riding.

Jacket: Surkana
Jacket: Surkana

Q: If you could give one tip to customers, what would it be?

Beth: Dress for the body you have not the one you want. It’s the only one you’ve got so you might as well love it!

Q: Favourite item in your personal wardrobe?

Beth: This is tough. It’s a tie between my black leather jacket, my Burberry scarf and my new Mjus boots (I love color and style they’re a bit rock ‘n’ roll!).

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Q: What item do you think everyone should have in their wardrobe?

Beth: You definitely need a good leather jacket! One you can layer with a casual outfit or wear to go out. It makes an outfit a bit more edgy and fun.

Q: Favourite brand or item at Mountain Air?

Beth: My favourite brand at Mountain Air right now would be Aunts & Uncles. It’s a leather handbag line from Germany. I appreciate that you can see the quality and effort that is put into each piece. As well as, due to the fact they are genuine leather and vegetable dyed they age and wear in perfectly.

Q: Any favourite moments or stories from work?

Beth: One of my favourite moments while working at Mountain Air was probably our last staff Christmas party. We spent the night and next day at JPL enjoying the food the view the spa and just really got to bond as co workers! I also got to bring my pup Nyxy out for the sleepover at the Fairmont, I think it’s safe to say she’s accustomed to the finer things in life.

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Q: If you could go on a shopping trip anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Beth: I would go to London, Paris, Milan or New York. Any of these cities during Fashion Week would be insanely exciting and at the top of my list. It’s so interesting to go to these places and see what they are wearing now because a lot of the trends still won’t hit us for another couple years.

Get to Know the Faces of Mountain Air: Karen Jacobs – Owner

A part of what makes independent boutiques like Mountain Air special are the faces behind the counter and behind the scenes. We’d like to give you a chance to get to know the people behind the store, who choose and stand by the brands we carry, and are always ready to chat fashion and give fit advice to help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

Karen poses for a photo at a her birthday bash

You may have heard about or been in to check out our Boss’ Birthday Bash summer sale. This month for her birthday we’d like to give you a chance to get to know Karen, the owner and manager of Mountain Air.

As both owner and manager of the store, Karen goes to buying shows, researches brands and selects lines and items to appear in the store. An average day for her consists of coming in early, checking orders, responding to emails for the store and leading and directing staff and merchandizing in the store.

 My staff have it dialed. I don’t have to be in the floor very much, as much as I do like being out there and bossing people around.

Q: How long have you been working at Mountain Air? How did you start working here and/or what drew you to the job in the first place?
Karen: I came here in 1995 to spend a summer with my two sisters as we hadn’t been together in the same place since high school. I was in Edmonton and my older sister Jill was working at this fab store called Mountain Air and she told her boss that I was looking for a job and the rest is history. In fact we all worked for him that summer!

In 2010, after years of working at Mountain Air, Karen decided to take over ownership of the store when the previous owner decided to sell it along with its sister stores at the JPL, in Banff and Whistler. The stores are no longer affiliated, but the new owners keep in close touch.

Q: What made you decide to buy the store in 2010?
Karen: Doug was wanting to retire from retail and I had worked my way up the ranks and felt I knew this business in and out so it was a natural progression. I had two really great teachers/mentors in Doug McPhee and Jackie Ermet, and I’m, sure they can tell you that I always felt like I was the boss even though I wasn’t!

Q: How has the business changed since you first started out in retail?
Karen: [As a retailer] you used to buy in capsules, so everything merchandized perfectly together by colour and style, but now we buy individual items not a collection.
Also, People buy in different ways and are more conscious of fabric content, cost, and origin.

Karen: But everything always comes back! Anything that was once popular will eventually be remade into something more current, something more fabulous, adapted for today’s trends. Shoulder pads, for example.

Q: What’s your vision for the store in the next few years?
Karen: When I bought the store it was the clearing house for the other stores [Open Country Banff and Whistler]. So it’s taken a while to find Mountain Air’s identity without the other stores to trade with. We’re on the path to our truest self, our soul self. 😉

Q: And what do you think that identity is?

Karen: A store for ages 25 plus. Not super junior but not really your grandma’s sweater store either. We’re finding a niche for everyone [regarding price and style].

Every season we try something new to see how it sits and if there’s a response, you order it again and go with what your customer is asking for.

Q: What part of being a business owner in Jasper do you find the most challenging? And the most rewarding part?
Karen: In Jasper the seasonality is tough sometimes, going from so high [in the summer] to so low [in the winter]. People think we’re a lot like Banff, but we’re not. We’re a destination, not a crossroads. It’s not West Edmonton Mall. But I have fabulous staff with great longevity, and I get to meet amazing people from all over and help them have a great experience in Jasper.

I do like bossing people around, and getting in new staff, and when the store looks really good. [It’s rewarding] when we manage to connect with someone and sell them something they love. They have to love it.

Q: What do you look for when bringing a new brand or line into the store?
Karen: Nowadays you have to look at what’s popular but also fabric content, where its made, and of course price-point.
For example with new brand La Fee Maraboutee, it performed well elsewhere [at Open Country], but also it has a really luxurious fabric content and is all made in Italy
Another new brand, Toad and Co is Ethically made and sustainable and has lots of great features.

Q: Describe your personal style or fashion and trends that you like?
Karen: I’m pretty conservative. I like the basics, skinny jeans with a mid rise. I do like my nice wool sweaters and cardigans though. Luxury basics.

Q: What’s your favourite activity outside of work?
Karen: Hanging with my kids and doing the things they like to do. We go biking, to the beach or skiing in the winter. We read books together.

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Q: If you could give one tip to customers, what would it be?
Karen: Dress for the body that you have now, don’t try to dress for when you lose that ten pounds. Your clothes should fit and look fabulous on your body now.

Q: What item do you think everyone should have in their wardrobe?
Karen: You should probably have one good pair of jeans because everyone will be checking out your butt. I really love my AG Jeans. They don’t stretch out. I pick them up off the floor and wear them every day. 🙂

Q: If you could go on a shopping trip anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Karen: New York.

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Get to Know the Faces of Mountain Air: Molly

A part of what makes Mountiain Air Clothing special is the people behind the counter and out on the floor. Get to know the staff who are always ready to chat fashion, offer advice, and help you find your perfect fit.

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Molly at the Other Paw Cafe in Jasper. Jacket: Mackage, Shirt: Peppercorn, Necklace: Beads by by Gosh

Molly H. has been working at Mountain Air for almost five years, and has lived in Jasper off and on for around eight.

Q: Describe your personal style/fashion and trends that you like?

Molly: I like what I like, whether it’s a trend or not. I like to look at the new trends, not to see what’s “in” but just to see new things and see if there’s perhaps something I haven’t seen before.

On Style:

Style is a result of environment and budget.  My style basically depends on where I am and what I’m doing (the environment). I like to have pieces from all styles. However, my closet consists entirely of black and extremely summery things (neon, pastel). And shoes. Many shoes.

Whoever says “the most important thing is to be comfortable”….. I say no, (because you can’t tell me the 3 inch heels are really all that more comfortable than the 4 inch heels.) If that was true, we’d all be wearing sweatpants.

Q: What is your favourite part about your job?

Molly: My boss! She’s definitely the best boss and team leader I’ve ever had.   Otherwise, the locals and people who come in and make this place feel like family. The people who make you feel like you’re not “at work”

Q: Favourite activity outside of work:

Molly: Comedy. Writing bits for stand up. Writing funny rants that I definitely can’t practice Processed with VSCOcamat work.

Q: If you could give one tip to customers  what would it be? 

Molly: Unless you have endless amounts of cash lying around, just don’t buy things you know you won’t wear, even if you really really hope to be able to. Just don’t.

Q: What’s your superpower at work?

Molly: I really don’t know.

Hillary says: She’s an amazing salesgirl without ever making anyone feel uncomfortable. She’s relaxed and never pressures people when she makes suggestions. It’s like having an honest, helpful friend shop with you.

Beth says: She has the voice of reason when things get difficult, and she always stays calm and helps people have a great experience no matter what.

Q: What’s your favourite item in your personal wardrobe?

Molly: Mackage. I have a leather jacket and a winter coat from them.

(The winter jacket is below, the leather jacket above)

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Jacket: Mackage, Sunglasses: Kuma Papyrus

 

Q: What item do you think everyone should have in their wardrobe?

Molly: Clothes that fit great, a pair of good jeans that fit and you love.

Q: Favourite brand or item at Mountain Air?

Molly: Mackage. (see below)

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Jacket by Mackage, Sunglasses Kuma Papyrus style

Q: Any favourite moments or stories from work?

Molly: There’s were a couple of “feel good” stories that we’ve had with people who were very shy or not appearing to be into it [trying things on], and by the end of their time here they would be prancing out of the change room to show us. Those people who turn into repeat customers because they see that we just like to have fun and try on clothes.

Q: If you could go on a shopping trip anywhere in the world, where would you go? 

Molly: Somewhere fun, with a bit of a cultural influence but still in tune to fashion around the world. Like South Africa.

Molly will be leaving us this May to travel and work abroad, starting in Norway. We wish her all the best and will miss her immensely!

Stay tuned to get to know the rest of the team or come in and meet them!