For Jadira Amaya, Wildjay is more than a place for her to sell clothes.
The downtown Yakima boutique is a space for her to brainstorm and work on her other business aspirations.
"I tell people my store is my office," she joked.
Wildjay started as a mobile clothing boutique, and Amaya opened the brick-and-mortar store at 25 N. Front St. in June. She sees her business as a platform to empower woman, especially young women, to go for their dreams and aspirations.
Amaya, 39, overcame several challenges - including virtually raising herself and a lack of love and nurturing from family - before seeing success as a small business owner and community volunteer.
New opportunities brought Amaya and her daughter to Yakima 12 years ago from Salem, Ore.
The "Wild" part of the business name references Amaya's free spirit and wild soul, while the "jay" pays homage to her oldest daughter, Jasmine, and Amaya's nickname, Yadi.
"It all started with wanting to share my story," she said. "I always felt I needed to grow something. I want to build something that is mine and has my name attached to it, and I can share it with the world."
Amaya promotes that message of empowerment through several events at the store. Once a month, she brings in a stylist to do mini-sessions with local shoppers. Another event is in the works with a local model who has severe scarring and acne; she will share a message of confidence and acceptance.
"We're trying to show people it doesn't matter what skin you have, what shape you have," she said. "You've got to learn to work with what you have. I'm curvy, I've got my flaws and insecurities. I try to make the best of what I've got."
Many of these events feature other women professionals and business owners and are designed to help them increase their exposure and help them gain additional business or work, Amaya said. Such collaborations are a top priority.
"I realize the importance of shopping local and supporting all the local businesses," Amaya said.
She's now looking to impart her business and fashion experience to other young people. She rescheduled her annual fashion show, One Love, from March to June so that students from the fashion design departments of Central Washington University and Washington State University can participate. She's taken on speaking engagements with the local business department at Yakima Valley College.
Amaya wants her message of empowerment to spread to other parts of the Pacific Northwest and the U.S.; she recently organized a One Love fashion show in Seattle and is working to hold a One Love event in Portland as well. But all that starts with spreading the message throughout the Yakima Valley.
"It's all about the community getting together," she said.