As a mom, Caroline Tikhonoff of Napa spends time playing with her young son, but she also still likes to get “dolled up” with clothing and accessories.
With that inspiration in mind, Tikhonoff created her new business: Forever DolledUp.
Forever DolledUp is an online women’s clothing store that features wine country-style reimagined by Tikhonoff.
This businesswoman is the buyer for all Forever DolledUp inventory as well as the Instagram model in the company’s shots.
Although the company has modern trappings – photos, an online shopping cart and extensive social media marketing – Forever DolledUp is a traditional solo venture by Tikhonoff.
“I opened the Forever DolledUp boutique in Napa Valley (in) January 2017. We carry mostly dresses, tops and some accessories,” said Tikhonoff.
Tikhonoff said she has always loved fashion and wanted a way to bring it to Napa.
The name of the business comes from a term that Tikhonoff used when she was pregnant with her now 8-year-old son, Kaiden.
“I told my friends that I wanted to be a mom who was “forever dolled up,” a do-it-all kind of mom. The term started out for fun, but it really describes the darling and flirty clothing I offer,” said Tikhonoff.
Tikhonoff described the dresses as casual and easy to wear to work, in a variety of vibrant pastels.
“An outfit I just love for the summertime…is the Napa Valley gingham dress in powder blue.”
Sold on her website foreverdolledup.net, “It is 100 percent cotton so it’s great for staying nice and cool during those really warm summery days. I would recommend pairing this dress with the Napa Valley hat, the Shine On necklace and a cute pair of suede wedges for a sweet sunny day look done right,” said Tikhonoff.
Tikhonoff said the weather in the valley is warm, so there’s always an excuse to wear a dress.
“I look for pieces that can be day or night dresses,” said Tikhonoff.
Tikhonoff’s husband, Joshua Tikhonoff, is her photographer.
“Kaiden comes along on a lot of our photo shoots. He thinks of them as adventure days. He often gets dressed up too,” said Tikhonoff.
Tikhonoff likes to take photos in downtown Napa in front of storefronts and along the valley’s “cute country roads.”
“Napa has a lot of perfect picket fences and pretty rows of grapevines. When the sun sets, they’re just the right places to show off the clothes,” said Tikhonoff.
Tikhonoff gained experience in business by attending Napa Valley College and earning several business certificates.
Later, she started a personal Instagram account where she would discuss clothing items and looks. She still maintains the personal account for her own interests, which include fashion, beauty, and the wine country lifestyle. She also now has a business Instagram account @foreverdolledup focused solely on the store.
In the past, Tikhonoff worked as a social media influencer on her personal Instagram account for several local brands.
“(Now) I rarely accept these kinds of projects, unless the offer is just too good and…aligns with my values and overall blog theme,” said Tikhonoff.
Tikhonoff gets her inventory from a few designers in Los Angeles. The jewelry comes from local and Los Angeles-based businesses.
“The jewelry is very trendy, really dainty stuff. I do have a few statement pieces. They’re meant to go along with the clothes,” said Tikhonoff.
Many of Forever DolledUp’s customers are local to the Napa Valley, but the website has shoppers from across the U.S.
Tikhonoff said she is working on offering more sizes, up to 3XL. The website currently offers clothing in sizes extra small up to XL. Tikhonoff said she’s also interested in creating her own line.
“I’m working on designing my own exclusive dresses to bring into the boutique,” said Tikhonoff.
Tikhonoff said her advice for anyone starting a business is to be persistent. “Think of all of it as a learning process. You have to be OK to try and try and try again. You will grow,” said Tikhonoff.
She also recommends finding a mentor.
“I planned out my ideas with one of my marketing professors from Napa Valley College and a mentor from the Napa-Sonoma Small Business Development Center. It really helped me understand that business is not a playground and not to give up,” said Tikhonoff.
For details, visit foreverdolledup.net.
The business news you need
With a weekly newsletter looking back at local history.