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Customer service and style on display at Studio 1220

Studio 1220, named for the company’s first street number, is taking a bold new direction with women’s fashion apparel.

“We appeal to anyone who is price conscious, customers who value service,” said Melinda Haller, general manager of the new, chic women’s boutique at 7856 Girard Ave. “We get items that are very fashion-forward. We don’t want to be behind the curve on our trends. We want to be ahead of the curve.”

“I discovered it about a year ago in Del Mar,” said Studio 1220 client Hilary Maiberger, about the boutique, which started in Hillcrest. “The customer service there is fantastic. Every time I go there, I never walk out empty-handed. There’s always something for me. There’s something for the more classy, sophisticated girl to the more trendy, fun girl, from the girl who likes to go clubbing to the earthy kind of girl: Something for every type of girl here in San Diego.”

Maiberger noted Studio 1220 is a convenient place to shop, especially when she’s in a hurry. “If I need to make a quick little stop, need something because I’m going out that night, I know 1220 will have something there,” she said, adding she likes the attitude of the employees. “People who work there know my name,” she said. “When I walk in they say, ‘Hilary, try this on.’ They’re really passionate about the product. That’s what sells. I love shopping there.”

Haller pointed out Studio 1220 has a local, neighborhood feel. “We’re a family owned and operated business,” she said, adding La Jolla has been very welcoming so far. “This is a very high-profile spot.We enjoy being in La Jolla, love having tourists come by. Hopefully, we can become part of the local culture here so that locals who shop in the area can shop in here if they’re going out for the evening, or if they’re going to the races, or a restaurant. They don’t have to travel to other locations. We’re hoping to become part of the niche for locals who just want to come in, buy something, or just say hello.”

Studio 1220 has a unique and charming ambiance. The store is open and deep with lots of room to move around and lots of clothing on display. There are antler clothes hangers on the walls. Stylish pottery greets guests when they walk in. Said Haller: “We’re trying to create the ambiance of an art studio, something that’s very organic, yet still interesting and something that will enhance your shopping experience.”

Haller said Studio 1220 has a few formal dresses, but carries mainly casual clothing lines that are continuously changing, evolving. Available at the boutique are an array of sunglasses, bracelets, head scarves, necklaces, hand bags, shoes and belt buckles.

“Women just love accessories,” pointed out Haller. “Anything that makes your outfit a little more fun and interesting: We will have it.”

Summer dresses are all the rage right now, said Haller, adding, “Weather is still trying to make up its mind right now about temperature. So, it’s nice to be able to dress in layers, cropped cardigan sweaters over jeans, kimono tops that enhance every figure. It’s great to have a little bit of variety.”

Also big right now are Bermuda shorts and the nautical look.

Haller said Studio 1220’s clothing lines appeal to women of all ages. “We like to think we hit every age range,” she said. “But I think women in their late 20s are one of our most popular age groups. But women in here range in age from 14 into their 60s. Some of my best clients are in their 50s and 60s.”

Women today are looking for individuality. They want to customize their look to match their particular needs and wants. Said Haller: “Some women want to look cute and sexy. Other women want to look practical. They want to be able to circulate in and out of their wardrobe. We ask questions to get at what it is our clients are looking for. Then we help them the best way possible.”

Prices at Studio 1220 range from $36.99 to $89.99 for blouses, $79.99 to $129.99 for jeans. “We do have fabulous prices,” said Haller. “Nobody can keep up with what we have in the price ranges we offer.”

One of the nicest things about Studio 1220 is that it’s very browsable. Haller notes staff focus on making things easy to find. “If you throw too much at people,” she said, “it becomes confusing. We want to make it really simple. We want to create an atmosphere where people want to linger. We want them to enjoy their shopping experience, where the music isn’t too overwhelming, the store is not too bright or dark.”

Julie Petty, Studio 1220 sales associate, is a customer-turned-employee. “This is my ideal spot to go shopping,” said Petty. “I just love the atmosphere. I’ve been shopping here for years. It was like, I needed a job, so why not work here?”

Haller used to be in book merchandising. Studio 1220 was also her favorite store. When it came time for her to make a career change, she knew where to turn. “I wanted to go back to what I had a passion for,” she said. “I handed in my resume, and it’s all gone very quickly. I feel very fortunate. I really enjoy the company. They are so fair, honest and hardworking. I’ve never thought of going anywhere else.”

The best thing about working at Studio 1220 for Haller is that she never quite knows what to expect. “It’s a fun business,” she noted. “It’s a lot more work than anybody thinks it is. Every day is filled with so many different tasks. It’s never boring, never dull, the day’s always changing.”

Asked who Studio 1220’s competition is, Haller replied: “We focus on what our stores are doing right. We don’t worry about everybody else. Our competition is, hopefully, going to have to keep up with what we have going because we are a really unique environment.”

Hours at Studio 1220 in La Jolla are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. For more information call (858) 551-1208.