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Issue Date: January 2007 Issue


Unique Boutique

Jessica Norton and Sandy Sciortino share more than just retail space at Up Front Designs. The business partners, who are 23 years apart, have a knack for selecting fashions that cater to the same woman at different phases of her life.

“We work together to have something for everyone,” says Norton. “We have clothes you can’t find anywhere else in Cleveland, for all demographics.”

“And we have the same taste,” Sciortino adds.

Norton, 27, a 2002 graduate of Kent State University’s School of Fashion Design and Merchandising, was launching her online boutique (www.sashasclothingboutique.com) last summer when she met Sciortino, who was in the process of opening Up Front Designs inside Arra Hair Salon and Spa in downtown Chagrin Falls. Working under the premise that women of all ages would enjoy shopping at the same place, the pair stocked the store with clothing, accessories and jewelry truly unique to Greater Cleveland.

“I go into boutiques, and they say their stuff is unique,” Sciortino says. “But it’s the same designers, the same pieces. We have truly unique, handmade pieces.”

The boutique itself is small, cozy and brightly lit. Every item hangs or sits on display with style. Trendy pieces mix with classic-but-modern finds. Many of the scarves and purses, and some of the jewelry at Up Front, are crafted by Sciortino’s artist friends, giving customers handmade creations at a reasonable price.

“Some stores, they’re too big, they’re overwhelming,” Norton says. “I’d rather have a few pieces people love, that no one else is wearing.”

Norton, who adores fashion shows and looks forward to participating in more, says she hopes to one day create her own lines, starting out with printed T-shirt and tunics.

“I want to make pieces that people will love,” Norton says. “Pieces funky enough that people will stop you on the street, but not that you wear for a season and throw out.” — Tori Woods

Up Front Designs, 156 Bell St., Chagrin Falls, (440) 781-0043


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