Business & Real Estate

Oz Boutique marks decades in downtown Los Altos

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Azar Abdollahi, right, is celebrating 30 years of running Oz Boutique. She operates the shop with Margaret Swiercz, left.

When Oz Boutique owner Azar Abdollahi moved to the area from Iran in 1979, she didn’t know a soul in Los Altos and had never even heard of the city.

In July, she celebrated her boutique’s 30th anniversary in downtown Los Altos and said it’s the “best place (I) could’ve landed.”

The clothing store first opened in Mountain View in the since-closed Old Mill shopping center. Three years later, in 1987, Abdollahi moved Oz to 203 Main St. in Los Altos.

“It’s been great and I cannot complain,” she said. “If I had to do it all over again, I’d do it the exact same (way).”

The boutique’s name was derived from Abdollahi’s first name, Azar – not “The Wizard of Oz,” as some clients have inquired. Abdollahi joked that she was confused by clients’ remarks at first.

“I didn’t know about ‘The Wizard of Oz,’” she said, “and I had to go rent the video.”

When Abdollahi arrived in the U.S., she worked in retail and then at a bank. Combining the two skill sets, she started her boutique.

The shop specializes in European fashion, which holds a special place in Abdollahi’s heart. When she lived in Iran, she would shop in Europe twice a year; Paris and Milan were among her favorite stops.

She has furthered her expertise and appreciation for clothing over the years with additional travel and shopping to acquire items for her store.

Throughout her 30 years as owner, Abdollahi said she is most proud of the rare pieces she offers. She explained that approximately 80 percent of the items cannot be found anywhere else in the country, and that her clients don’t need to worry about someone wearing the same outfit as them at an event.

“People come because it’s unique … very different,” said Abdollahi, who earned a bachelor’s degree in finance. “(We’re) always in front of the curve (by) six months.”

Oz Boutique typically carries only three of each piece – which is why the store doesn’t have a website to sell its clothing. But despite the shop’s low profile online (there is a Facebook page), Abdollahi said the business has succeeded because it “caters to our customers’ needs” and has built personal relationships with clients.

Abdollahi said she often buys items specifically for customers and helps them find outfits for special events. Most Oz clients are local residents, but even those who move away make sure to pay a visit when they’re back in town, according to Abdollahi.

“I love my clients,” she said. “They’re all fantastic.”

For more information on Oz Boutique, call 941-1414 or visit Facebook and search “Oz Boutique Los Altos.”

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