Janel Taylor did not want to make a coil basket.
But that was her assignment in freshman art class, and everyone had to make one. So the 26-year-old Cleveland Heights resident created the basket, as required, but converted it into a purse by adding a handle to the top.
Her teacher didn't scold her for adjusting the assignment — she loved it and submitted it to an art show.
Taylor has always had a creative knack, and has brought that spirit to her new boutique, J. Taylor, located at Lee Road.
The Michigan native sells new and vintage women’s clothing, purses, sunglasses, jewelry, scarves, and some items that she made by hand. Most items are $10 to $40, she said.
To celebrate her opening, Taylor is hosting a Grand Opening Fashion Show Mixer from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 10. Each hour, women will model clothes in her store, and food and beverages will be provided during the free event. In addition, all merchandise will be 25 percent off.
She went to Michigan State and studied apparel and textile design, and has always dreamed of opening her own shop.
“It’s just something I always talked about, and one day I just decided to go for it and try it,” said Taylor, who has been saving money since high school for her future boutique.
Taylor wants to offer customers something different.
Toward the back of the store, there is a couch, chair, rug and a tall counter with stools.
“It’s to make the person feel welcome and relaxed,” said Taylor, who opened the store in June. “I want to build relationships with my customer base. I offer customers beverages, offer them a seat so they feel at home and welcome.”
Her sketchbook, which contains designs from high school and college, rests on the counter. She offers custom-made prom and homecoming dresses for high school students, and can alter clothes in the store for people, especially the vintage pieces that aren't offered in more than one size.
"I want my customers to be satisfied and feel that they spent their money on something good," Taylor said.
J. Taylor. 2207 Lee Road. www.janeltaylor.com. 216-338-7566. Open Mon. - Thur. 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Fri. 11:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Closed Sunday.