Building a boutique

Rachel Sullivan and Desiree Johnson

Rachel Anna Sullivan, left, and Desiree Lynn Johnson

Rachel Anna Sullivan, left, and Desiree Lynn Johnson

Photo by Jordonna Lobese

“Seek and you shall find” is the motto for Desiree Lynn Johnson and Rachel “Rue” Anna Sullivan, owners of the chic new A Seeker’s Boutique and Art Studio in Paradise. The business offers the work of local artists—including themselves—along with handmade goods. Johnson and Sullivan are unlikely business partners, as they met through a mutual friend only a few months ago. But, they immediately clicked. Johnson needed a storefront that could contain her studio, where she teaches art, while Sullivan needed a place to display her handcrafted jewelry and other works. Together, they have managed to create a boutique that takes every detail into account, from custom, organic gift-wrapping (which Sullivan describes as “giving a hug”) to eclectic merchandising. Find A Seeker’s Boutique and Art Studio at 5660 Skyway, Ste. F. Call (916) 622-7894 or find it on Facebook for more info.

What do you see the business growing into?

Sullivan: A much bigger building.

Johnson: Rue is good at design and consulting. I have retail experience and teach custom painting. We want to bring sophistication to Paradise. We share a deep need to [empower] our fellow women. We have a big occurrence of stress today. A lot of people come to the classes and push and feel alive.

Sullivan: We want to encourage people to shine. Des is the class whiz—she has an amazing way. I’ll see where the jewelry goes.

What do both of you bring to the table?

Sullivan: Styling, design and jewelry. I want to explore design and offer it to people as a business. I work on a lot of homes with landscaping and floral design.

Johnson: Styling, retail experience, merchandising and teaching. For our grand opening, we invited our competitors—we share in ideas. I’m also a board member for the Paradise Art Center.

You two are strong women. Can anything bring you down?

Johnson: When people say, “You’re not going to survive in Paradise.” With my friends, there’s no way I can’t succeed. I’m a very strong and independent person, which my husband loves.

Sullivan: Not external criticism—it’s more internal, of not putting myself out there. Thankfully, our husbands are supportive.

What are the benefits of working together?

Johnson: Working together strengthens our differences. We have our adjustment periods. But our hearts and goals are in the right place. Sometimes we are so different yet the same.

Any events coming up?

Sullivan: We are open! The grand opening will be Oct. 22. And we are hosting a women’s group through CSU Chico—OLLI, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

Johnson: Wine and food pairings, too.