For 25 years Cathy Alexander has been sharing her love of fashion with her customers.
“I always loved fashion, even as a child, and how a person dresses and what that says about them,” Alexander said. “Everybody chooses to dress a certain way and I find that very interesting.”
Born and raised in Williams Lake, Alexander went to the University of British Columbia to pursue a bachelor of arts degree in psychology and returned to Williams Lake and was a social worker for about three years.
“I left and worked at a high-end retail clothing store and then I opened up my first little business in the Diet Centre in a little house. My store was called the Shaman Shop. It carried crafts from around the world, such as Indonesia and Africa, and unusual clothing from Indonesia and South America.”
She stayed there just over a year and then moved to First Avenue.
A few years later she moved the shop down the block and rebranded her store to reflect her changing taste in fashion to a more refined look. The reinvention saw the birth of Alexander Clothing, Jewellery and Gifts. She moved to her present location on Second Avenue three years ago.
As she reflects on her 25-year milestone, Alexander said the people who shop in her store are “really truly, lovely people.”
“I am very lucky that my customers are wonderful, kind people and I’m not sure why I lucked into that, but it’s something I really appreciate. And I’m lucky because I do get to work in quite an aesthetically-pleasing space.”
Her store is always evolving and she said it is fun to find new clothing lines and things that excite her.
“There are always lots of clothing and jewellery lines that are really beautiful, but finding ones that are within a price point that makes sense is sometimes the challenging part.”
Sourcing new jewellery and new artists to bring to Williams Lake that people would not expect is also a passion she enjoys.
“When I go to Vancouver to order my clothes, people are always amazed by the jewellery that I have on, and they are from much bigger centres so it’s quite neat to be able to do that. My friends who travel a lot often are asked where they get their clothes and they say ‘Williams Lake,’ and that’s really fun.”
There are two women working at the store part-time once a week and if Alexander needs to be away they fill in.
“They are lovely,” Alexander added.
Alexander said she has stayed in her hometown because it is a beautiful area.
“It’s the people. My partner and I talk about that often how it seems to really attract people who are genuine, kind and community-spirited.”
She used to mountain bike and ski, but a back injury in the early 2000s curtailed those activities, but she still appreciates going for walks and has recently taken up driving a Harley in the summer months.
“When you drive in any direction from Williams Lake — it is remarkably stunning. We live on the lake and it is so fascinating, just watching birds.”