With Mother’s Day and the end of the semester nearing, the Spring Boutique, hosted by CPP’s staff council members, provided a convenient stop with diverse gifts for Mother’s Day shopping last Thursday. 

Whether the perfect gift for mom is a succulent, organic skin care or a gag gift, approximately 27 vendors came to CPP’s University Quad to offer an array of gifts to choose from for as low as $1. 

For third-year psychology student Laura Kawaguchi, the Spring Boutique is a great shopping alternative for students who live on campus and don’t have the option to shop elsewhere. 

While the Spring Boutique is ideal for Mother’s Day gifts, some students treated themselves to new finds as well. 

“The clothing definitely caught my eye because I’m in need of some dresses,” Kawaguchi said. 

Kawaguchi doesn’t always have the experience of shopping at small boutiques and the Spring Boutique provided a different shopping experience from the usual chain stores at the mall.

“L.A. is just the home of all of these small boutiques that are traveling, and they pop up here and there at farmers’ markets, and I don’t really have that where I’m from,” she said. 

Third-year psychology student Laura Kawaguchi explores Susie Sanchez’s travelling boutique. (Ruth Olivares | The Poly Post)

The event began in 2011 after university staff members who were also small boutique owners decided they could invite a community of vendors as a fundraising event for staff council. 

CPP staff members and students are welcome to set up their own booth at the event and receive a discounted vending fee.

According to Rachel Dominguez, president of Staff Council and a vendor at the event, all vendors are charged a vending fee for their space and the fee supports staff council’s fundraising efforts.

Fundraising efforts help with daily costs such as printing, putting on special events and scholarships for staff.   

Throughout the day, vendors offered discounts and bargained with students, even offering better prices for gift bundles. 

Kawaguchi said she enjoys the personal connection a shopper gets with boutique owners. 

The personal touch was definitely present at Nancy Welsh’s boutique, owner of Olivia’s Heritage organic skin care. 

After Welsh found out her daughter was allergic to many ingredients in commercial skin care products, she struggled to find organic products at affordable prices and she began crafting them herself. 

Welsh said she likes helping students facing skin issues of the face and body such as eczema, psoriasis and rosacea. 

“We like to give them [students] a healthy, natural approach to their skin issues and doing this [creating organic skin care] throughout the year, you learn so much about how our organism works with plant-based butters and oils,” Welsh said.  

Olivia’s heritage skin care began as handmade products crafted by the owner for her daughter, who was allergic to ingredients in commercial skin care. (Ruth Olivares | The Poly Post)

After making skin care solutions for her daughter, family and friends asked about her products and one year into crafting items for her daughter, she began selling at farmers’ markets and now owns a store in SoCal’s Monterey Park and also sells online.

One of her most loyal clients first found out about Welsh’s products after the client’s daughter gifted her a skin care product purchased during a CPP boutique event. 

Now her client travels miles for her skin care products. 

Welsh enjoys selling at college campuses as she notices her products are welcomed. 

“The millennial generation is more conscious about the environment, ingredients and they tend to be more natural,” Welsh said. “They receive us very, very well.”

Most students at the event stumbled upon the Spring Boutique by accident and shopped around.

Kawaguchi said the event’s marketing could be improved as she, too, found the boutique by accident. 

Dominguez hopes to improve the marketing and possibly collaborate with the Bronco Bookstore in the future.

She still considered the event a success and enjoyed the collaboration. 

“The collaboration of departments on campus like the Office of Student Life & Cultural Centers and other resource centers make it easier to put the event on by offering tables and chairs is a big help,” Dominguez said. 

The next boutique shopping event on campus is the Holiday Boutique that will take place during the first week of December.

To reserve a table and become a vendor, visit www.cpp.edu/~staffcouncil/.

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