You Voted: These Are Palm Springs’ Favorite Boutique Owners

See Their Style and How They Roll

Written By: Aisha Patel Best Palm Springs Boutique Owners

Everyone desires a little shopping spree now and then, right? One word: Yes! From inspiration to achievements to style, learn more about your top five favorite boutique owners in Palm Springs, so you know where to spend your money next!

Best Palm Springs Boutique Owners

Penny Gundry of ZENSE

Q: How does it feel to be voted one of Palm Springs’ favorite boutique owners?

Penny Gundry: It is an honor that I do not take lightly to be voted one of the favorite boutiques in Palm Springs. It is a confirmation that the ZENSE sense of style resonates amongst my customer base.

Q: Your boutique is known for its one-of-a-kind artisans. What was the source of inspiration in opening a boutique like yours?

PG: In traveling, I was always quite amazed at how many talented, unique designers are tucked away in remote, undiscovered locales and I wanted an opportunity to introduce these emerging artisans to an appreciative audience at ZENSE.

Q: What accomplishment in regards to your boutique are you most proud of, and why?

PG: I am most proud of the fact that next September, ZENSE will be celebrating 17 years in the same storefront on El Paseo.

Q: How would you describe the particular style and items that are sold in your boutique?

PG: The ZENSE collection consists of unique handbags and artistic accessories from around the world in unusual materials, textures, colors and styles. For instance, some of the merchandise from this year included cork handbags, rubber knot necklaces, colorful resin jewelry and purses fabricated from retro swimming caps.

73255 El Paseo, Ste 20
Palm Desert, CA 92260


Blanca Bribiesca of Habitat

Q: How does it feel to be voted one of Palm Springs’ favorite boutique owners?

Blanca Bribiesca: It all came as a surprise and shock really! I just opened up shop February 2, and three months later I received this email. My initial thought…“spam mail” (I almost deleted it!). I feel extremely humbled, to say the least.

Q: What initial challenges did you face when starting your business and how did you overcome them?

BB: My biggest challenge is transportation for inventory pick-ups. My husband and I don’t own a pick-up truck, and delivery can be extremely costly. I was able to overcome this by some family teamwork, like utilizing my dad’s trailer. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Q: How would you describe the particular style and items that are sold in your boutique?

BB: My particular style and items are truly unique. I hand-pick everything, and it ranges from new, antiques, handmade. A little bit of everything is sprinkled around my store and comes together all at the same time.

Q: You are a mom of two kids. How do you manage your responsibilities as both a mother and an owner at the same time?

BB: If I could handle being a Marine with two kids, I knew I would be able to tackle this new adventure with my sidekicks too. My husband and I make a pretty good team, so when I “can’t” he “does” and vice versa. We adjust our schedules, high-five each other and get it done.

73519 Twentynine Palms Hwy, Ste B
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277


Kenya Knight and Taib Lotfi of Soukie Modern

Q: How does it feel to be voted one of Palm Springs’ favorite boutique owners?

Kenya Knight: We are very honored by the nomination. We had such great feedback from our followers worldwide who voted for us, who expressed a desire to visit us and Palm Springs one day soon!

Q: What inspired you guys to open your boutique?

KK: We aim to offer an authentic rug showing experience like you actually get in Morocco. That could only be achieved in our own brick and mortar shop. Everything we sell is very tactile and has a wow factor in person. Our shop has been really successful for us, but the best part is actually meeting and interfacing with clients.

Q: What accomplishment in regards to your boutique are you most proud of and why?

KK: I think we are most proud of how far we’ve come and how much we’ve learned. We have a confidence in the vision we have for our brand that lets us follow our gut and simply do what we feel is right for us. What others are doing is of no consequence, this is our world, we call it Soukie World! Another thing that never ceases to amaze us is when fans come into the shop and tell us how long they have been following us, how much they love what we do and how happy they are to meet us…those moments are truly icing on the cake!

Q: You guys have a vision called Palm2Palm. Can you explain what that means to you guys and its significance?

KK: There are palm trees and palms of the hand. Both being desert cities, Palm Springs and Marrakech are on the same latitude and share very similar weather and landscape including Palm Trees. We see our two home cities as being sister cities! Palms pressed together can represent prayer for an individual and a helping grip between two people. We love the fact that we are emerging our cultures, and hopefully encouraging tolerance and understanding among cultures.  

Soukie Modern
1345 N Palm Canyon Dr
Palm Springs, CA 92262


A.J. Woodruff and Matt Fullum of Respect The Chief

Q: How does it feel to be voted one of Palm Springs’ favorite boutique owners?

A.J. Woodruff: Great! We feel like we’re still pretty new to the desert, so we’re really happy to be considered and embraced, and we really appreciate the love.  

Q: You guys moved from New York to Palm Springs. What inspired you to do so in regards to opening up a boutique?

AW: At the time, we had absolutely no plans or thought of opening a boutique. All we wanted to do was make jewelry! We figured we would go more of a wholesale route, but as a new brand, we hadn’t established whom our customer is, and we needed to be able to test the market with fairly quick results. Having a boutique allows us to get a feel for which items are great sellers and also pinpoint what is a complete dud within a short amount of time. Although it seems counterintuitive for two people who really had very little experience with retail, it has actually been a great opportunity to experiment with design and work one on one with customers as well.   

Q: What initial challenges did you face when starting your business and how did you overcome them?

AW: Although finances are always a challenge, our main problem is that we really had no idea what we were doing! Although we read a lot about what other businesses do and how they handle finances, production, etc., ultimately we discovered that we’re just going to have to do our own thing and trial and error many situations. There’s no rulebook that will apply to every business/situation and what worked last year won’t necessarily give the same results as this year. We have to give ourselves a lot of room for error, but be quick to learn and correct.  

Q: What is your favorite piece of jewelry that is sold in your boutique?

AW: We have two actually…our Explorer Posts and our Suspension Earrings. They have been our best sellers, and we are constantly remaking them. The Explorer Posts are our most versatile earring and are chic enough to be worn with evening wear or cut-offs. And our Suspension Earrings are just a fun, simple and still unique. Both sell out quickly so if you don’t see them in store, we can always make them fairly quickly.

Respect The Chief
1345 N Palm Canyon Dr
Palm Springs, CA 92262

Shawna Risnes of Tarah Jade

Q: How does it feel to be voted one of Palm Springs’ favorite boutique owners?

Shawna Risnes: It feels like an honor! I’ve had a store here for 27 years. We were voted best boutique in 2015, but it’s still nice to have the customers appreciate what we offer.

Q: What accomplishment in regards to your boutique are you most proud of, and why?

SR: I would say maintaining customer relationships for over 25 years and building on those. It’s nice when you have clients come in and you know two, three or four generations. It’s also nice having a grandmother, a daughter, and a great-granddaughter shopping as well as their husbands, and they all can find something. We are crossing a bridge where we have so many different age demographics that we’re selling to. Being [able] to find something for all of them and having a nice mix is a challenge, yet is also gratifying!

Q: You are known for taking an organic approach to style. What does that entail regarding what is sold in your boutique?

SR: We work with a lot of organic manufacturers. Even when it comes to material, we deal with a lot of textiles that are hand woven and a lot of local artists. We try to carry a lot of “Made in the USA.” Although not everything in our store is made in the USA, we try to take an approach to use our local resources. We even make our own candle lime which is made from our organic soy and essential oils. We try to set ourselves different from everybody as we’re more on the bohemian side of things. We mix it up!

Q: What is your favorite piece sold in your boutique, and why?

SR: We have a cotton silk-woven material that is super cool and lightweight for the warm weather that we have out here. You kind of feel like you don’t have anything on. It is easy to sell because I wear it a lot. It is also completely washable; 99.9 percent of what we carry in our store is a washable fabric as opposed to having to dry clean things. Most people do not want to dry clean. They like the wearability and washability.

Tarah Jade
78065 Main St, Ste 102
La Quinta, CA 92253

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