She may not love shopping herself, but Jessica Folino, owner of Arie Layne Boutique in Goodyear does love — and is very talented at — dressing other people, relationship building and serving her local community. Even before the birth of the boutique, however, Folino’s entrepreneurial instincts have long been active.
“I started in retail back when I was in college,” Folino explains. “I started at a private golf facility in Georgia where I’m from, working in a golf shop. I worked there a number of years and found that I love serving people in the retail space. I loved the customer service aspect, working with the members and I was given more responsibilities like meeting the vendors and buying, doing the budgeting and going to trade shows.”
Once she graduated college with a business degree, Folino transitioned to head manager at one of the local private golf clubs, where she worked for five years before moving to Arizona in 2011 when she got married.
“I still consulted back east for a few clubs and I traveled back and forth until 2014 when I had my twins,” she says. “When they were about six months old I decided to go back to work.”
Named for her late “granny,” Arie Gladys, combined with the “lane” her granny and papa lived on, Arie Layne Boutique started as a dream and a blank canvas. “[The store] was completely empty,” Folino says, “only concrete and installation when I started leasing the building.”
The store may have begun empty, but the vision of a bustling business had been brewing probably since her early childhood. “I spent a lot of time with my grandparents who were both very influential in my life. [My granny] sold shoes for 25 years in a shoe store. She loved shopping and all things retail and her closet was color-coordinated. I have always been Inspired by the way she lived, dressed and represented herself.”
And inspiration eventually manifested into opening a women’s clothing shop, but the next question was where? Folino quickly identified something many other entrepreneurs are as well: the West Valley is poised to skyrocket. “I knew Goodyear was one of the fastest growing areas in the region,” she says, “and I wanted to be centrally located to the master-planned communities — I’m close to Verrado, Pebble Creek, Litchfield Park, Estrella Mountain, Avondale and 30 minutes from downtown Phoenix.”
Prior to opening her boutique, Folino identified that there were few specialty clothing retail options in the West Valley and she wanted women to have more options outside of big-box stores. Now, not even a year later, Arie Layne is making waves throughout the West. And for fellow entrepreneurs who may follow in her footsteps, Folino offers this encouraging sentiment: “Take the risk: If you do what you love than it doesn’t feel like work.”