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Irene's Story: Stylish Clothes in a Stylish New Shop in Mission Viejo

Irene's Story offers new styles at The Shops at Mission Viejo

The mall has a new boutique turning heads. Since it opened March 22 at , Irene's Story is one woman's passion for bohemian fashion mixed with her love of interior design.

What sets Irene's Story apart from all the other shops? It changes week to week, with an emphasis on hand-made furniture and light fixtures, says General Manager Gene Lee.

Owner Irene Choi arrives at least once a week at 6 a.m., stays till 3 p.m. and completely redesigns the shop each time she visits, Lee said.

"Everytime (Choi) comes in, she completely changes the look of the store," Lee said.

The clothes items change, and the racks change too, Lee said.

"The order in which they’re displayed, she has very strict rules we adhere to," he said.

Mission Viejo is being called the small company's flagship location. This is the company's fourth store, with other stores in Glendale, Torrance and Marina Del Rey.

It's all part of a long-term plan for Choi. She started in the industry designing the visual look of other shops as a freelancer about 15 years ago, Lee said.

Eventually she worked her way up to buyer, then realized she could do it all on her own.

With a background in visual design, Choi emphasizes a handmade look for her stores.

"She likes to do everything by hand," Lee said. "All the fixtures are … sanded down, painted by hand. Every single light fixture, they vintage it."

So far the reaction in Mission Viejo has been solid.

"The number of people coming in, the repeat customers, the comments we’ve been getting at the registers, it’s amazing," Lee said. "The way people are responding in Mission Viejo, everyone seems to be loving it.”

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