She sits among several Buddhas that gaze calmly from shelves and display cases, but she herself is the serene one seated in the small boutique inside Antiques at the Market, the one that is more reminiscent of a Nepal marketplace - or maybe Tibet, the boutique’s other emphasis. A glass case full of sparkling amethyst and another twinkling with blue topaz catch the eye as the visitor steps halfway around the world at KaTeLyN NiCoLe, specializing in world décor and jewelry.
Retailer Karen Barrett (Katelyn) traveled the world as a teenager, igniting a lifelong appreciation of the exotic and unique. The entrepreneur attended high school in Zaragoza, Spain and has lived in Saudi Arabia, experiencing initial culture shock before immersing herself in the rich heritage of her host country. Her life has been as unique as her boutique’s offerings
After a stint in the Air Force as an Aircraft Fuel Systems Mechanic, KateLyn found that her expertise actually worked against her in a male-dominated field. “It was very difficult as almost every decision that I made was questioned. I thought it particularly funny since I was actually a daughter of an aircraft mechanic and I had inherited his aptitude!”
Katelyn Displays Some Favorite Pieces
After venturing into the restaurant business, Katelyn embarked on a retail career.
“I thought that this was a feminine avenue for me to take,” she explains. She worked her way up the ranks within some of the oldest and largest corporate retail establishments, earning a business degree from Florida’s Rollins College in the process.
The child of a TWA employee (she credits her late father for helping her launch into the import business) Katelyn traveled through India, Pakistan and Nepal, forming a kindred spirit and appreciation for each country’s cultural differences and unique artistry. Her boutique is full of one-of-a-kind examples of the work of artisans, craftsmen (and women).
“I could not believe how they did so much, with so little,” she says, “the conditions were so poor, but the people were always happy”. Her own business, KaTeLyN NiCoLe, was born in 2000.
Hand made Indian Wall Art
KaTeLyN NiCoLe’s mission is: To share the eclectic treasures of the world, while improving the lives of all that we touch. To support those who improve education, health and wellbeing. To be fair and ethical in all business dealings. KaTeLyN NiCoLe also carries Fair Trade Items and is the largest Fair Trade Retailer of Tibetan and Nepalese jewelry in Southern Nevada.
“I carried Fair Trade items before it became regulated. Now, you have to pay for courses to be registered,” she says with justifiable pride.
Fair Trade is an organized social movement that assists people in developing countries to make better trading conditions and promote sustainability. That matches Katelyn’s philosophy as well.
“I feel that it is important to empathize with their needs, not sympathize. People just want a helping hand, not pity,” she states, remembering her travels to those countries as a deciding factor as to what kind of merchandise she wanted to sell, and the ethically sound way she chooses to do it.
The proceeds from her purchases go back into the communities to help with clean water, food, education and in some cases, domestic violence. Fair Trade items are purchased through wholesale Fair Trade Vendors.
Gold Filigree Boudoir Items
Not all merchandise carried in KaTeLyN NiCoLe is Fair Trade (the boutique resides inside an antiques mall, which is a factor). However, all items are acquired with the same fair and ethical standards. Many of the gemstone pieces are acquired at estate sales, but there is also a fair amount of hand made jewelry that has crossed continents to be displayed in their rich shades of carnelian red and lapis lazuli blue.
KaTeLyN NiCoLe covers all price ranges, from $9.99 rings to $4,500 belts. Every inch of space is covered with something unique, exotic, eye-catching, or a combination of all three. There is, as they say, something for everyone.
A Peaceful Guardian
Katelyn herself suggests that the best way to shop the boutique is when the visitor has extra time to explore the premises and experience the relaxing store music, the scents, and the textures and colors of the world. There’s a Turkoman Ceremonial Coat waiting to be tried on and textured beads from Nepal to touch. There are jewel-tone fabrics, wrought iron statues, tapestries, and a bracelet from Tiffany’s. How’s that for culture shock!
Turkoman Ceremonial Coat
Tiffany & Co. Bracelet
And always there are the Buddhas with their serene faces, some with closed eyes, others in meditational gaze. One dances with joy.
At KaTeLyN NiCoLe, it’s not hard to imagine them smiling in their own little corner of the world – a world that literally fits into one treasure-filled corner.
For further information:
6665 S. Eastern (inside Antiques at the Market)
Las Vegas, NV 89119