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Downtown accessories boutique Serendipity to relocate to Tanger Outlets

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

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After 12 years Downtown, Serendipity accessories boutique is relocating next month to Tanger Outlets.

The boutique, owned by husband-and-wife pair Pete and Kimberly Coppola, has been on the first level of Two PPG Place in Market Square since 2009, but impending construction plans in the building forced the couple to rethink their future.

They were offered another location on the opposite side of PPG Place, across the street from PPG Plaza and Wintergarden, but they declined due to concerns of a lack of foot traffic on that side of the building, Ms. Coppola said.

During the store's time Downtown -- first at One Oxford Centre before migrating to Market Square -- the owners said retail has been slow to grow, compared to Downtown's emerging dining scene. Construction projects, street closures during events in Market Square and limited on-street parking have made it a challenge at times to attract more customers.

Nevertheless, Serendipity has had a successful run Downtown, the couple said. Being street level at Market Square has helped draw passersby inside to shop, and annual events such as the Three Rivers Arts Festival and Light Up Night are booms for business. Looking ahead to the shop's next steps, though, the owners want to be part of a "retail destination" like Tanger Outlets, Ms. Coppola said. Being at the outlets also could open up opportunities for franchising in the future should Serendipity decide to pursue that route, Mr. Coppola added.

A moving sale at the Downtown location begins Wednesday. The owners plan to vacate their current space by the end of the month and hope to be open at Tanger Outlets by the second week of August. The new store and stockroom will be about triple the size of the Downtown location, Ms. Coppola said, and will carry a mix of on-trend jewelry, handbags, hats and other accessories curated by the owners.

To read more about the history of Serendipity, click HERE.

Photo: Serendipity owners Kimberly and Pete Coppola inside their Downtown accessories boutique in 2013, the 10th anniversary of the store. Larry Roberts/Post-Gazette

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Gina Mazzotta Millinery opens Downtown design studio

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

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Pittsburgh-based milliner Gina Mazzotta (above) has opened a design studio Downtown inside the Diamond Building at 100 Fifth Avenue.

Invited guests got a first look inside at a recent open house. The space is intimate and well lit with views of Pittsburgh's city streets. The space will serve as Ms. Mazzotta's work room, as well as a place where she can meet with clients who want to shop her ready-to-wear collections or create their own custom piece.

At the open house, guests also got a sneak peek at Ms. Mazzotta's fall/winter ready-to-wear hat collection. While Ms. Mazzotta is known for her elaborate designs worn by Pittsburgh's movers and shakers at social events such as the annual Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy Hat Luncheon, these new hats were made with everyday wear in mind, Ms. Mazzotta said. The collection includes lined headbands, fresh takes on winter toboggans done in an Italian merino wool knit and other classic silhouettes in neutral hues.

Studio hours are by appointment. Information: www.ginamazzotta.com. (Photos by Sara Bauknecht/Post-Gazette)

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FGI Pittsburgh talks next steps for fledgling fashion group

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

FGIMembers of the Pittsburgh provisional chapter of Fashion Group International came together last week to discuss what can and needs to be done to secure the city's permanent status in the elite fashion group.

"We really need to step up our game," said FGI Pittsburgh president Stephanie Taylor.

To become a full-fledged chapter, Pittsburgh must get on board at least 40 paid and approved members and hold five or six successful fashion-focused events. So far, more than 20 people have been approved for membership and have paid the fee to join, while several others have applied but have yet to pay. Some technical issues with the FGI website may have contributed to delays with some potential members submitting their applications online, Ms. Taylor said.

Rather than solely relying on the group's board to rally support for the provisional chapter, Ms. Taylor used the meeting to start to engage the members it already has to attract even more interest in what FGI is all about.

"We can't do it alone," she said.

The board and members agreed that being able to bring a chapter of FGI to Pittsburgh would benefit the city's fashion scene by serving as a core where designers, stylists, photographers, boutique owners and others could come together to network and collaborate.

At the meeting openings on the FGI Pittsburgh provisional board also were announced. The group is seeking candidates for the Programming and Sponsorship positions. The former will work alongside Ms. Taylor, as well as lead meetings and help be a community ambassador for the group. The latter position is responsible for seeking funding for group events. Candidates should be paid, approved members of FGI Pittsburgh and have experience in the fashion, style, beauty, art or design industry. Resumes should be emailed to Ms. Taylor at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , and some candidates will be asked to give a 10-15 minute presentation on their background and ideas for the respective roles their applying for at a board meeting July 23 6-7:30 p.m. at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Downtown.

To learn more about FGI Pittsburgh, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or follow the group on Facebook. To apply for membership, visit fgi.org or direct membership questions to Miyoshi Anderson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

 

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ICYMI: Pittsburgh-based Nikki's Magic Wand beauty brand makes QVC on-air debut

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

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Nikki's Magic Wand -- a makeup-saving cosmetics tool by a Pittsburgh-based entrepreneur -- made its on-air debut this morning on the QVC shopping network.

Nicole Manns of Penn Hills invented the product to help people scoop out glosses, lotions, creams and other cosmetics out of hard-to-reach corners of their tubes and bottles. In the six-plus minute segment, Ms. Manns explained her inspiration behind the invention and demonstrated how to use it for the QVC hosts. The segment started with 1,000 units in stock; about 300 remained by the end of it. 

In 2013, Ms. Manns was a winner of QVC's Sprouts contest for emerging products and entrepreneurs, which resulted in her wands being featured and sold on QVC.com.

Learn more about the brand at www.nikkismagicwand.com or shop for it on QVC.com. Click HERE to watch a video of Ms. Mann's QVC segment.

Pictured: Nicole Manns, center, explains to QVC program hosts how her makeup-saving tool Nikki's Magic Wand works.

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Pittsburgh-based designer Kiya Tomlin to be featured on Aspire TV show 'Exhale'

Written by Sara Bauknecht on .

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Pittsburgh-based designer Kiya Tomlin's journey in fashion will be featured tonight on the Aspire TV network's show "Exhale."

On the program, viewers will learn about Ms. Tomlin's career path and what it's like to be an entrepreneur in the fashion industry. In advance of the show, the network released the following about Ms. Tomlin's background:

Kiya Tomlin discovered her love of fashion at a young age when she began making dresses for her dolls from homemade paper towels. At eleven Kiya was given a sewing machine. She has been designing ever since and has turned her talent into a decade-long career in fashion with her ready-to-wear apparel brand Uptown Sweats by Kiya Tomlin and a flagship boutique.

Throughout her childhood fashion was always a creative outlet and passion but not something Tomlin considered a career goal. She attended The College of William and Mary on a competitive gymnastics scholarship and had plans to become a doctor. Her life changed course when she met fellow student Mike Tomlin, currently the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The pair married right after graduation and Mike’s trajectory in the world of football began to take off.

While Mike coached at a college level and the Tomlins became parents, Kiya utilized fashion design and sewing as a creative outlet. She studied formally for several years at the universities where her husband was coaching and took classes in fit and garment construction honing her skills and developing her own creative voice as a designer. Kiya would frequently get stopped on the street by women asking about her outfit. Her natural entrepreneurial instinct kicked in and Kiya realize she might be on to something. So when Coach Tomlin joined the NFL in 2001, Kiya launched her business, first with a focus on custom design and in 2013 with a ready to wear collection, Uptown Sweats by Kiya Tomlin.

The program begins at 9 p.m. Information: exhale.aspire.tv/about (Photo: Kiya Tomlin, right, with her assistant Brittany Meyer in the flagship boutique Ms. Tomlin shares with Sandra Cadavid handbags and jewelry in East Liberty. Michael Henninger/Post-Gazette)

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