Everything from jeans to gowns at Donna Marsh


Women can shop ‘till they drop at Donna Marsh, a new upscale fashion retailer that just opened this week at 7712 Fay Ave.

“We want to be able to have something for everyone that walks through the door, no matter what their age is or their price range,” said Donna Steinback, whose maiden name is the last name of her new boutique. She previously owned Edith Morre, a woman’s clothing store on fashionable El Paseo in Palm Desert. “We have items both casual and formal, gift items,” added Steinback. “A woman could literally buy her whole wardrobe here, except for lingerie. We have everything from jeans to gowns.”

Billing itself as an all-occasion store, Donna Marsh carries more than 150 fashion labels in its new 5,500-square-foot space. Labels available include Badgley Mischka, Marc Bower-Glamt, Sue Wong and Trina Turk. There are local labels on hand as well, including those of Solana Beach designer Marisa Baratelli. There is also an eco-friendly line, Zooey.

Steinback noted her boutique is segmented into rooms specializing in different apparel niches. There is a jeans room with designer denim lines including celebrity favorites Paige Premium Denim, Not Your Daughter’s Jeans, J Brand and Rich and Skinny.

Like everything else at Donna Marsh, the store’s jeans line has a style to fit every taste. “Whether it’s lower-rise for a younger fit,” said Steinback, “or something for more of a woman’s figure, we have it.”

Asked what’s current in jeans these days, Steinback replied: “Wide leg is the real forward look with embroidered pockets with things like rhinestones.”

Designer jeans are priced in the $100 to $200 range at Donna Marsh.

Opening her new store is something of a homecoming for Steinback and her husband and business partner, Mark, who owned Sleep N’Den, a successful furniture and bedding store in Rancho Mirage. They’re both from the San Diego area and are glad to be returning.

“We closed escrow in April,” noted Mark Steinback. “We were looking for a building to buy, preferably in La Jolla, for about a year. We’re really excited about it.”

“I love La Jolla,” concluded Donna. “The opportunity and the timing was right. We knew we wanted to come back into the (apparel) business. I’ve been doing this since I was about 20.”

The couple didn’t just buy a retail space. They bought the whole building, which previously was two adjoining storefronts, a boxing club and a needlepoint store. The building was gutted and has been completely renovated and redesigned. A bright, window-filled exterior and signature red awning opens into a dramatic interior featuring an imported red glass Italian chandelier hanging in the gown room. There is red glass-beaded wallpaper behind the cash wrap.

There are a couple of well-stocked, wrap-around jewelry cabinets in Donna Marsh carrying a large assortment of fashion jewelry, lots of earrings, necklaces and bracelets. “I carry a wide variety of looks,” said Donna Steinback, “from evening to very casual: a wide variety of price ranges, too.”

One clothing section near the store counter has an array of huge leather handbags, which are all the rage now.

Toward the rear of the store is ladies business attire. “Not stuffy looking stuff,” noted Donna Steinback, “just professional.” The businesswear section has classy pinstripe and tweed suits. There is also a large selection of trendy tops, including ever-popular animal prints. “You can get a nice basic business suit,” pointed out Steinback, “and you change the whole look by what you put underneath it.”

Fashion today is all about being current. Steinback added it’s also about being you. “Everybody has their own personal taste, their own style,” she said, noting fashion tastes are cyclical. Styles return, she pointed out, but they come back reinvented. “When it comes back around, it’s always different,” she stated. “It’s a different fabric, a different shape. People say, ‘I’ll just save it, it will come back.’ But it doesn’t come back the same.”

Also in the rear of Donna Marsh is a line of spawear for those who want to be casual, but don’t want to look it. Said Steinback: “It’s clothes to wear around the house or to go to the grocery store. It is very casual, very comfortable. They call it soft dressing. It’s easy, washable things.”

For those women who want to dress up, there is a gown room at Donna Marsh for them to indulge themselves. The store does not carry wedding apparel, but it does carry an impressive supply of mother-of-the-bride items.

Asked what she likes most about retail apparel, Steinback had a ready answer. “Everything,” she said. “I love the interaction with the customers. It’s very gratifying to help somebody put together their wardrobe who has no idea of what to wear or what looks good on them.”

Pleasing customers is a big part of what being in the retail business for yourself is all about. Said Donna Steinback: “We want this to be a very enjoyable shopping experience when they come in here.”

Hours at Donna Marsh are Monday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday.

For more information call (858) 454-3003 or visit