La Jolla Business Roundup: Clothing rentals, wrought-iron furniture, beauty lounge, cream puffs and more

Una Notte owner and La Jolla resident Jackie Modena displays clothes in the business's Prospect Street showroom.
(Courtesy of Tim King Photography)

Along with the annual surge of spring and summer tourists, The Village of La Jolla has welcomed a variety of new business enterprises in recent months, and more are looking to open up shop by the fall.

Una Notte

For those who need a dress for one special occasion, Una Notte is now open to provide clothing rentals.

Although the dresses are shipped out and sent back through the mail, Una Notte — Italian for “one night” — has a showroom at 862 Prospect St. for customers who want to try on a garment and rent it through the establishment’s website.

Owner and La Jolla resident Jackie Modena said she believes it’s more cost-effective for people to buy their everyday pieces and then rent dresses for special occasions such as weddings, vacations or a particular night out.

“Sometimes when you buy something for a special occasion, it just sits in your closet and you might see it every once in awhile,” she said. “There can be regret that you spent all that money for something you wore once.”

With Una Notte, dresses can be rented for four or eight days and mailed back as soon as the rental is over. The garments are then dry-cleaned and returned to the inventory. Everything in the showroom is sanitized between visits.

Learn more at

Gentry Custom Furniture

Gentry Custom Furniture, run by husband and wife Azmi and Darya Foylu, opened in April to provide custom-made wrought-iron furniture and accent pieces at 7470 Girard Ave.

“We design items and furniture for indoor or outdoor, all out of wrought iron,” Darya said. “It’s been our specialty since 1999 because we find it to be durable and can reflect a variety of styles: Spanish, Mediterranean, Victorian, ornamental. We are here to make unique pieces for the home. Whatever that is.”

The collection includes chairs and benches, gates, tables, decorative accent pieces, screens for fireplaces, staircase railings and more. The pieces are designed by Azmi with input from the clients and manufactured in international factories.

Darya said the couple, having attended UC San Diego, wanted to be in La Jolla. “We wanted to enjoy life as well as the business, so we wanted to be near the ocean,” she said.

Learn more at

Financial Alternatives merger

La Jolla-based wealth management firm Financial Alternatives has merged with Essential Planners and Fox College Funding.

“Our firms share an unwavering commitment to always putting our clients’ interest first. I believe this merger will strengthen the firm and provide significant long-term benefits to our shared clients,” said Jim Freeman, president and founder of Financial Alternatives, which provides personalized advice and investment strategies coordinated with accountants and attorneys.

San Diego-based Essential Planners provides holistic financial advice to clients while also providing planning services designed for younger generations.

Fox College Funding, also based in San Diego, provides specialty planning services for parents of college-bound high school students who are interested in reducing their out-of-pocket college costs.

Coming soon

Engy’s Beauty Lounge

With a planned opening on Friday, Sept. 3, Engy’s Beauty Lounge looks to bring internationally inspired beauty treatments to The Village at 909 Prospect St.

“The La Jolla charm took my heart the minute my husband drove us there,” said owner Engy Johnson. “I absolutely love that La Jolla has its own character and that everything about it is beautiful and fabulous. I wanted to present my beauty lounge as a gift to the La Jolla community and its visitors by introducing a new luxurious and exotic experience.”

While living in Dubai, Johnson developed a love of beauty, gathering recipes for facials, mixing shea butters and facial oils imported from Africa, conducting extensive research and development of eyelash extensions, and studying manicure and pedicure trends. The shea butter used in Johnson’s products comes from a small female-owned business in Ghana.

Beard Papa’s

Touting “the world’s best cream puff,” Beard Papa’s is set to open its first San Diego location this fall at 7874 Girard Ave. in La Jolla, joining its more than 400 other stores in 15 countries.

Beard Papa's, which is coming to La Jolla this fall, says it specializes in "the world’s best cream puff."
(Courtesy of Beard Papa’s)

“We bake the shells in a special oven every day and fill it with custard made with a top-secret recipe and top it with things like chocolate or honey butter,” said marketing manager Tucker Kaufman.

In places like Japan, Beard Papa’s is “like Starbucks” in that locations are in every train station, Kaufman said.

“It’s not a doughnut or ice cream,” he said. “It’s out of the ordinary but still familiar. It’s not overly sweet, so when you have one you don’t feel guilty about having another.”

Kaufman said La Jolla was chosen for the first San Diego location because it “seemed more fitting to who we are trying to target from a business standpoint. There are a lot of young people and a lot of tourists. We are looking to reach a diverse group of people.” ◆