New store offers trendy clothing

Ivy Christianson

Ames has welcomed a new trendy clothing store.

Ayden Lee, 1620 South Kellogg Ave., opened its doors in early June. Owners and ISU alumni Tia Ricklefs and Brett Folkerts saw a need for a trendy yet cheap clothing store in the Ames area.

“Every time we wanted to get any kind of nice clothes, we’d have to drive down to Des Moines, so we saw an opportunity [to open a store],” Folkerts said.

Ayden Lee specializes in selling trendy clothes that are popular now, but they also incorporate classic pieces. They market to both men and women, having suits and jeans for men, and tops, bottoms and dresses for women. Ricklefs compared their selection to items sold at Express, but on a more affordable scale.

The store has even made their own name brand that includes jeans, tops and dresses, so far. For the winter months, they are planning on having winter coats available.

Both owners are convinced Ames is a good market for a clothing store. Both college and high school students tend to look for inexpensive, nice clothes.

“There’s a lot of surrounding high schools also, and Ames is a very large high school,” Ricklefs said. “There’s tons of small towns surrounding Ames [where the students] can’t go to Des Moines.”

Ricklefs and Folkerts also hope that by owning this store, they are able to give back to the community and, specifically, to Iowa State.

“We have a lot of fashion and business students that come in and come shopping,” Ricklefs said. “They have projects that we’re more than willing to help them out with.”

Being huge Iowa State fans themselves, Folkerts said they really want to be involved with the university and the fashion department.

“[Iowa State] has a fashion show every year and a couple of magazines,” he said. “We’d like to sponsor a couple of students and help them design clothes, show them what the process is from the design to the production and marketing.”

Ricklefs said that during her time in school, she wanted internships and jobs closer to Ames, but couldn’t find quality businesses that allowed her to stay in the college-town vicinity. They want to provide endless internship opportunities for ISU students.

By not holding the typical 9 to 5 business hours, and instead being open 11 a.m. 9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, the owners believe they are being more flexible for those who do have jobs and are allowing those people to be able to shop on weekdays instead of having to wait for the weekends.

Although the target market is high school and college-age students, shoppers older than that demographic frequent the store as well, hoping to stay up with the current trends.

Ayden Lee will be holding its grand opening Aug. 21, and will have a booth set up at Iowa State’s annual WelcomeFest celebration.