|Terry Rivas’ boutique, Brikaju, carries a wide selection of clothing, jewelry, purses, and shoes. Much of the clothing is geared toward teenagers and young women. The boutique is located on D and Third streets in Old Town La Verne. The store got its unique name when Rivas decided to use the first two letters from the names of her four children to form the word Brikaju.
When it comes to buying a new pair of jeans or a shirt for that all-important date, we tend to head straight for the mall. However, tucked amid the restaurants, the shops and the University of La Verne lies a trendy boutique.
Brikaju is located next to Café Allegro on Third Street in Old Town La Verne. From the outside, you may mistake it for a quaint little house. Upon entering the building, you soon discover you are inside a cavern of beautiful, fashionable treasures.
The boutique, owned by Terry Rivas, specializes in women’s apparel – from jeans and skirts to camisoles and sweaters – as well as handbags, shoes, jewelry and gifts.
“We’re a unique store, selling in-style trends,” Rivas said.
Brikaju has been open for 11 months and is a family business, staffed only by Rivas and her daughter Rikki. The store itself is named after Rivas’ four children.
“I was looking for a name and threw all my kids’ initials together – Brett, Rikki, Katie, and Juliana,” Rivas said.
The boutique offers Brikaju-brand shirts and sweat pants, but sells a multitude of brand names as well, from Yanuk, Miss Me and Joe’s jeans to Hanky Panky lingerie and Project E tees. Brikaju also sells Love This Life clothing, which has been mentioned in People Magazine and has a boutique in Santa Monica.
Rivas plans to continue increasing her range of brand name clothing.
The jeans range from $78 to $160, shirts from $18 to $78 and purses from $28 to $300. Gifts – including studded pet carriers and cushions with slogans such as “It’s not easy being a princess” – are just some of the other items you can find.
Rivas was a homemaker for 20 years before deciding to open her own boutique.
“Oprah once said, ‘in life find a way to get paid doing what you love doing,’ and I love shopping,” Rivas said. “It doesn’t feel like working when I’m here.”
ULV senior Kristin Hepburn shops at Brikaju twice a week. She loves to buy the urban blouses, skirts, purses and jewelry.
“It’s a really cool store,” Hepburn said. “It has such different styles. It’s different from Nordstrom and everywhere else.”
The store itself is arranged like a house, with individual rooms and archways to walk through.
The clothes are displayed in a unique way, hanging off hooks on the walls and from mirrors, and the jewelry is laid out on dressing tables. It has a very intimate, homey feel.
Sophomore public relations ?major Michelle Ajemian is one of the many ULV students who have stopped in Brikaju.
“They have really cute stuff there,” she said. “But I prefer bargain stores.
“It’s a little too expensive for me,” she added. “I do like boutiques though, because of their individuality.”
The boutique is currently promoting a “Deserving Makeover” competition for the La Verne community in partnership with the Merle Norman Cosmetic Studios located on Foothill Boulevard.
The competition is aimed at anyone in the area who feels they deserve a complete makeover.
People can also nominate contestants for the prize, which includes a facial, manicure, pedicure, haircut, color and any outfit from Brikaju.
The whole package is worth more than $900.
The winner of the “Deserving Makeover” competition will be announced at an open house and fashion show on April 23. The latest fashions from Brikaju and make-up from Merle Norman cosmetics will also be modeled.
Rivas explained that Brikaju is truly a one-of-a-kind store, especially in the La Verne community.
“We are different than the mall,” she said. “You go to the mall and it’s the same stuff in all the stores. We provide an extremely personal service. We follow up with customers and help people find things if they want a specific item. The feedback we get is very positive. Personal service is the No. 1 thing to us.”
Rhian Morgan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.