The ambitious Amanda Failla-Tjarks was finally ready to open her very own vintage boutique. All risks were calculated, previous pop-ups were a wild success, and what started as a part-time passion project was finally bringing in more income than her full-time marketing gig.
Albany and Avers was ready to hit the market. Amanda signed a lease for a storefront in Chicago, and just a few days later, the pandemic hit.
The boutique’s founder, Amanda Failla-Tjarks, driven by a passion for entrepreneurship thanks to her loving parents, and a desire to escape the corporate world, wanted to create a business that aligned with her love for thrifting and vintage clothing.
“Thrifting and vintage clothes were something that I’ve always loved, but I never really thought of it as a business when I was younger,” Amanda says. “When I was living in Chicago, people would pay me to help them put together an outfit or to decorate their apartment, and that’s how Albany and Avers began.”
As time went on and discontent with the corporate world grew, Amanda sought out ways to transition into her own business. Starting with small pop-up events around Chicago, she cautiously tiptoed into the world of entrepreneurship, testing the viability of her idea. However, it wasn’t until early 2020, when plans were in motion to open a boutique in Chicago, that the pandemic struck, forcing a temporary pause.
“I felt very inauthentic to push clothing in a worldwide pandemic when nobody could leave the house,” Amanda said.
This unexpected turn of events led Amanda and her husband back to their roots in Omaha, where she found a new space in Little Bohemia to temporarily set up shop.
Albany and Avers quickly gained traction and built a loyal customer base. When her temporary lease ended in Little Bo, she found a permanent space in Dundee, where Albany and Avers resides today, and her customer-base followed.
The space in Dundee seamlessly blends old-world charm with modern aesthetics. Stepping inside, you are greeted by a lush green oasis, as plants and greenery flourish in every nook and cranny. Sunlight pours through tall windows, casting a warm glow on the space and illuminating the natural beauty that surrounds you.
The heart of the business lies with Amanda’s unwavering commitment to sustainability.
“Keeping clothing out of landfills is so important, and also a big part of why I began Albany and Avers,” Amanda said. “It’s a problem in our world that is becoming worse and worse as time goes on.”
The boutique’s philosophy is deeply rooted in environmental consciousness, which resonates with like-minded individuals and local organizations. By collaborating with other businesses, artists, and entrepreneurs that share a vision of sustainability, she aims to make a positive impact and promote change within the fashion industry.
“Looking at the fabrics of clothing I purchased when I was in college or high school, those are a lot different than what fashion looks like now,” Amanda said. “If you go to the Gap or Old Navy today, the quality is not like it used to be. Items are made very poorly, and people are paid very low wages to make this clothing.”
While a large portion of her customer-base understand the dangers of fast fashion, education remains to be a big part of her focus.
“The more I learn, the more I don’t want to be part of that world,” Amanda says. “I want to educate and support people in avoiding the path of fast fashion.”
Alongside the educational facet of her work, hosting events and bringing the community together is another aspect of the business that brings her immense joy. Witnessing connections and friendships forming through events she’s hosted is a fulfilling part of her journey.
Amanda’s customer base consists of women in Omaha who value sustainability and support for local businesses. These customers appreciate the opportunity to express their individuality through unique fashion choices while actively participating in a community-driven movement.
“I absolutely love what I do,” Amanda says. “It makes me really happy when people come in and compliment the space, or find an outfit that they love and are so confident in. Moments like those fill my cup.”
Amanda created a space where sustainability, community, and style intersect. By embracing calculated risks and persevering through challenges, Albany and Avers has become a haven for those seeking unique and eco-friendly fashion options. With ongoing dedication to sustainability and community engagement, Albany and Avers continues to thrive as a beloved vintage boutique in Omaha.