PORT ORCHARD — There’s a new business open in the Port Orchard Market. And the proprietors are family — mother and daughter.
The N9NE &Co. is a mixture of locally made trendy women’s attire, locally made gifts and fashions purchased at markets in Seattle and from California vendors. The store also sells handbags, scarves and jewelry.
“I’ve been in the retail business and the food industry,” said Vanessa Karwacki, who is the daughter of the pair.
“My mom has been in retail, too. We just wanted to come up with a store and we love the (Port Orchard) Market. So it all just came together.”
She and her mother, Ramona Karwacki, opened the store Jan. 28, and being a small boutique, they almost sold out their inventory the first day.
“We are focusing on things that women can wear to work and then wear when they go somewhere after work,” she said.
“And we’re trying to keep our prices in line.”
In fact, she said, the most expensive items in the boutique are locally made antique lace tops that sell between $42 and $48.
“People think if it’s a boutique, things will be expensive,” Karwacki said. “That’s not us at all.”
Among the items in the store are racer-back t-shirts specific to the Northwest made by a South Kitsap High graduate under the name of Stickers Northwest.
There’s handmade soap from the Burley Bubbles Soap company, handmade cards by a lady in Poulsbo, knitted socks made locally and “vegan leather” handbags made of cork and kale under the brand Isabelle.
“It really feels like leather,” she said. “These have been really popular.”
As they expand, they hope to stock fashions for women who enjoy the waterfront, which is just out their back door.
“Marine wear is something that we want to have because of the folks who come in off their boats to shop,” Karwacki said.
There is some home decor in the boutique, too. In fact, Vanessa made a wall-sized chalkboard cutout of the state of Washington for the store’s decor. Both women have worked at Nordstrom and Macy’s, and know that retail can be demanding.
“Already my friends who’ve seen the store are asking if I can put one in Spokane,” she said, noting she grew up there. “I tell them, give me some time to get this all down.”
She’s been in Port Orchard for three years and likes the community.
“This is just a great place, and downtown has so much potential,” she said.
“We love the other vendors in the market and both my mom and I have a passion for downtown. We want to see it thrive.”
They also are giving back to the community. Periodically, customers who bring in a can of food for the South Kitsap Helpline food bank can enter a drawing for a free giveaway. This week’s gift was a cute handbag.
After being open for only a week, Karwacki said they’ve received many compliments.
“People say things are very well-priced,” she said. “We’re focused on quality, not quantity, and we aim for great prices.”
And, in case you’re wondering where the store’s name came from, here’s the scoop.
“When I was young, my brothers nicknamed me ‘Verniner,’” Karwacki said. “Then it just became ‘Nine.’ So the ‘Nine’ in the name is for me and the company is just for everybody else.”
Location: 715 Bay St., Suite 110, Port Orchard
Hours: Open every day from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Facebook: The N9NE &Co.