More than 10 years ago, mother and daughter Alicia and Patricia Markevitch opened a business together. It started out as a wholesale retail company, then morphed into a pop-up shop on Bellevue’s Main Street in 2017, then moved into its current permanent location on the same street in 2018.
What makes the brand — Alicia Peru — special is that the mother-daughter duo curates more than half of the boutique from their own private-label products, which are designed in Bellevue and produced in Peru with premium alpaca fleece and pima cotton. Core products include sweaters, shawls, capes, coats, throws, and table runners.
“We are a sustainable luxury brand that seeks to manufacture fairly using eco-friendly fibers that are finished in small batches and in the least environmentally harmful ways possible, such as using low-impact fiber dyeing,” Patricia said. “We are all about slow fashion, and we curate the boutique with other global niche brands in shirting, tunics, T-shirts, cotton knits, and accessories.”
We caught up with Patricia to learn more about the business and her favorite Eastside haunts.
To Relax Renting a Kayak at REI Boathouse Enatai to cruise the south end of Lake Washington or Mercer Slough channels. During COVID, lounging lakefront at Medina or Meydenbauer beaches with social distancing.
For Dinner Eating outdoors at Carillon Point Restaurants — The Beach Café or Como.
To Be Inspired Outdoor hiking, as it gives us a sense of accomplishment and beautiful vistas.
Currently Reading Life by Keith Richards and James Fox. Helps take the edge off our current reality and woes.
Currently Listening To Loads of ambient music by Aphex Twins, Nils Frahm, and the Calm channel on Sirius FM while in the car.
Best Professional Advice You Have Received “Trust your instincts.”
Mantra You Live By “Tomorrow is another day.”
Hobbies Travel, walks, reading, and as of late re-organizing and purging excess items in our home.
Why do you use fair-trade premium alpaca in your clothing designs?
Alpaca and knits came naturally to Alicia, who was born and raised in Lima, Peru. Peru has a long and varied tradition with textiles made of alpaca and cotton, as both fibers thrive in the varied microclimates of Peru. Alicia relocated to the Seattle area in the early 1970s, and while raising her children and defining her design and product development skills, turned to alpaca fiber (for) its many qualities: thermal, breathable, and long-lasting. Alpacas as animals are less environmentally harmful than cashmere goats, as they do not overgraze their habitats.
As a mother/daughter business duo, how do your strengths complement each other?
Having a business partner you can depend on, bounce ideas off, and share different responsibilities (with) is paramount. I tend to be more the analytical side of the business, while Alicia is more the creative and personal side. In our current uncertain business environment, we both find added comfort acting as a team because some days I am more up and energetic, and others Alicia is more in the driver’s seat.
What do you love most about owning a small business?
We love connecting with our clients, and our retail boutique fosters this.