After sixteen months during which it won a 2015 Best of Denver award for Best New Womenswear Boutique, Whorl Shop will close its doors at 3326 Tejon Street on March 31 — another victim of rising rents in the area.
"Whorl, as a retail store, is basically done," explains owner Megan Timlin. "Whorl is officially trademarked. I can do whatever I want with it. The name. The mark that we leave is still here in the Highlands. It is just unfortunate that the rent is high. Buildings in LoHi are being torn down left and right. The neighborhood appeared to be headed towards a positive direction when we opened Whorl, and it is now it seems to be getting worse. I collaborate with a lot of business on this block and it is affecting everyone around here. We are losing traffic. We don't need condos. We need local gathering spots and more attractions to bring the community together."
Now that community is spreading out. "What's next is that each and every one of the employees that I've had in the past sixteen months at Whorl is moving on to a new phase in their lives," Timlin continues. "My designers are meeting with awesome design companies. Some are moving to New York. I am going to try to continue to work with local designers, because that's where my passion lies."
"I started Whorl Shop because I wanted to get local designers out into the community," she says. "It's really hard for local designers to get into boutiques and it's a little easier now. I feel like ever since we came around on the block, people started realizing that they could be in boutiques as well. I want to help brands further develop themselves — whether it's with business management, marketing, online presence, inventory or stuff like that."
In addition to working with local designers on branding their work and businesses, Timlin is going to do some freelance event planning, because she loved hosting events at Whorl Shop. "The thing is, I do believe there is a fashion community here in Denver and that is why I don't want to up and move to New York or Los Angeles. The fashion community in Denver is growing, and it is growing with every fashion show, every season. I want to be involved in the local community," she notes.
"I don't look at this a a failure. It was a stepping stone, and we got a lot of designers out there. Now it's up to them to continue going," Timlin says.
One project started by Whorl that's currently on hiatus is the Imprints by Whorl line, which was produced at the Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design. RMCAD even helped out backstage during the line's fashion show last September. "We may start Imprints up again sometime in the future," Timlin says. "The Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design has been fully supportive of this process, even with the announcement of our closure, they said they would love to continue to collaborate in the future."
"We are also starting to design and produce with Anne Fanganello She was the CEO for Zac Posen. She has so much knowledge of the fashion industry, including production," Timlin notes.
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Although the store is closing, Timlin plans to remain being an integral part of the local fashion scene. "I want to continue to do something where I can help the community flourish," she explains. "I don't want to up and leave for NY or LA, because I want to help the local fashion and art scene. I am going to keep the spirit of the store alive in my everyday life, just as I always have. We learned so much along the way. The question is what can I do now? Where I don't have to pay $5,000 in rent? There is a lot happening, so stay tuned."
But first, stop by the boutique between 6 and 9 p.m. on Friday, March 25, for Whorl Shop's goodbye party. The store will also feature killer sales through the end of March.