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Shop Local: Rakun's got high style for the 99%

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When Meghan Throckmorton opened her tiny boutique Rakun, situated in a little house on the far northern edge of the Art District on Santa Fe, on First Friday in June, she knew it was a gamble; six months later, she's still there, but not without wishing for more of the walk-in traffic that thrives just down the street. In some ways, it's been an opportunity to try things out and see what works, she says, but Throckmorton's also slowly built a clientele of fashion models, students and artists who frequent the area and maybe don't have a lot of spending money. "I try to keep things super-affordable," she notes. "I think the most expensive dress I ever had here was $80." And that is well above her usual high end. Jewelry goes for $12 to $30, and most clothing is priced from $25 to $40 and available in a wide range of sizes; almost all of it is made by local designers and artists, many of whom use repurposed and thrift materials.

In-store designers include Amanda Anderson and Rae Marie; Throckmorton also stocks bags by Julie Tuttle and Deena Dent, as well as her own knit accessories and jewelry pieces. In the summer, she often opens up the back yard for open houses on First Fridays, but right now, you're likely to find an upcycled fur-trimmed hood or a one-of-a-kind holiday dress indoors at Rakun.

For Throckmorton's latest marketing brainstorm, Denver Independent Boutiques, she invited a group of fellow entrepreneurs focusing on locally designed merchandise to band together and help one another out. She points out that small boutiques offer better and more personalized customer service than larger, corporate stores, and their wares are more likely to be unique.

Together, the members of DIBS are launching the concept tomorrow with a Small Business Saturday Boutique Crawl; maps and special deals and activities are available at participating shops. Visit the DIBS website for details.

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