Katra Michener in front of her store
Katra Michener in front of her store
Retailer of the Week

09 Mar. 2011


Bucks County, Pennsylvania is known more for its farms than its fashions. Yet, it happens to be home to a charming and directional fashion boutique called Love Illuminati. Founded in 2006 by owner Katra Michener, the shop in historic Newtown is easy to miss - but definitely worth finding. Tucked back from the street, the store looks more like an old-fashioned home than a business. The cozy shop, which she runs with her husband Bob Gilanyi, stocks a stylized mix of womens- and menswear from new and up-and-coming designers, vintage items and Michener’s own designs. It also sells men’s hats, home goods and knick-knacks from belt buckles to vintage bottle openers. Here, Michener talks about the success of her “hidden gem” of shop. By Christopher Blomquist

Love Illuminati
Love Illuminati's assortment
“We opened in 2006 realizing our passion for unique one-of-a-kind products could be a perfect next to international brands like Insight, Maurie and Eve and Lifetime. Now the demand for these vintage gems and handmade garments are right at the top of the list.

Love Illuminati offers a little something for everyone, from young to old really. We always have people saying they had never stopped in before because they thought it was not for them but once they spend some time in the shop they find that gem that just calls to them.
At first, the shop catered to mostly women but the men’s department has doubled in size. I would say the breakdown is now 60% women, 40% men.

We are always buying.... We hit up trade shows like Capsule and D&A, we go to showrooms and we scour markets. We also have many friends that are independent designers of jewelry and clothing. Being less than two hours from NYC and 30 minutes from Philly really is great.

the store layout
the store layout

The biggest challenge is time: Time to design, time to sew, time to create the stuff our customers want. There are only so many hours in a day. The most satisfying aspect of owning our own store is bringing joy to people’s lives. Fashion makes people feel good. I like that.”

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