Craig Smith

Craig Smith is the executive director of the Downtown Napa Association.

J.L. Sousa/Register

Romance’s Big Day is Tuesday.

Some guys will start thinking about what to get the special woman in their life Tuesday morning, settling on a card and flowers.

Both are great gifts, but why not get something she didn’t expect and really, really likes?

Muguette Renee Boutique, at 1409 Second St., is the perfect Valentine’s Day store. Renee herself is a romantic at heart and carries perfumes, candles, body lotions, lingerie, purses, hats, scarves, jewelry, and chocolates that any woman would love.

These are not “you can find them anywhere” products. Renee has been making and selling her own line of candles and fragrances for years. She makes some of the jewelry, and works with local artists on everything else whenever she can.

Napan Katie Wilkes, who has been a customer of Renee’s for years, said she is in the store “all the time. We love Muguette and her candles are great. She’s a hard worker and brings a great new business to downtown.”

Renee has been interested in art her whole life. She was part of a performing dance troop for 13 years, while operating her own bookkeeping business in San Francisco. When she and her husband moved to Fairfield 20 years ago, she needed to find other things to do.

Since childhood, she’s made jewelry. Fifteen years ago, she started selling it at farmers markets, and had a lot of success.

More and more jewelers started working the markets, so five years ago, she began making and offering her own scented candles. People loved them and came back to her every week. Her once small business took off.

Thinking that the Oxbow Public Market would be the perfect place for her products, she laughs that she “bugged Market owner Steve Carlin until he caved and gave me some space.”

Renee’s best friend and local carpenter Omar Morgan built a cart from which she sold candles. A man approached her and told her she had a great concept for a store, and introduced her to Michael Holcomb Jr. Renee pitched her concept to Holcomb, and he loved her idea.

“Michael was a dream to work with,” said Renee. Thirty days later, Muguette Renee Boutique opened.

Asked how she would describe her store to someone who’s never been there, Renee beams. “It’s like walking into a shop in Paris.”

Renee added lingerie and accessories to the mix at her customers’ request, and the reception has been great. She is determined to keep prices reasonable.

“I want this to be a shop for locals. Beautiful products at great prices.”

Thursday evenings, Renee hosts perfume blending workshops. Customers leave with their own fragrance, which can be adapted to body lotions or candles.

“We get a lot of sisters, mom and daughters, and friends. It’s fun.” Likewise, her Clay Bar enables folks to custom-make clay masks.

Open Wednesday through Monday until 5 p.m. Call 816-9408 for questions and Perfume Blending workshop reservations.

See you downtown!

Craig Smith is the executive director of the Downtown Napa Association. Reach him at 257-0322 or craig@donapa.com.

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