Inspiration by design

Donald Hayes owns Cloud 9 Boutique, a New York-inspired store that is set up by appointment only and displays cutting edge fashion at a not-so-large price. We sat down with Hayes and asked him a few questions about his fashion inspirations, and what his favorite things about Cleveland are when it comes to fashion.

What is your inspiration behind the boutique?
I think what’s cool about Cloud 9 is that it gives independent designers the ability to sell at the retail level. Cleveland is very inspirational, so being able to help out local designers is a plus for me.

Where did the name Cloud 9 come from?
Well actually, when I first got the room for the boutique, the walls were painted blue. The blue coloring from the walls reminded me of clouds, so I just threw a "9" in there and liked the sound of the name “Cloud 9.” I also reached out to Facebook and let some friends vote on a name to help me decide, and Cloud 9 was the winner.

How did you get started with fashion?

I started a t-shirt line back in 2006, then I realized I wanted to actually own a boutique soon after.

Who is your ideal shopper?
My ideal shopper is someone who isn’t afraid to be different and unique. I think it’s cool when people aren’t stuck on the trends, but are rather trying to wear something that isn’t mass produced.

What is your favorite thing about Clevelanders when it comes to fashion?
Clevelanders are very fresh and experiemental compared to others across the country. They are more prone to try new things and are easier to trust when it comes to new styles and looks.

What is your biggest fashion pet peeve?
I don’t like when everyone wears the same thing. For me, fashion is an art and a chance for me to express myself. That being said, you still need to be aware of the trends; you just don’t need to copy and paste them outfit for outfit.

Do you have any upcoming plans for Cloud 9?
Cloud 9 is a private showroom boutique, so it is quite difficult, but just getting more popularity in the city should help with that.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone who wants to start branching away from the norm?
I’d say be unique and follow your own voice. Dedication is key, and don’t get discouraged. I’ve been in the business for seven years, and I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve heard the word “no” before. Stay true to who you are and everything will fall into place.

Cloud 9 Boutique is located at 3143 West 33rd St. in Cleveland. Store hours are 2-8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and by appointment only on Sunday. For more information, please contact owner Donald Hayes at (216) 386-3149.

Check out photos of Cloud 9, provided by Hayes, below:

Tuesday, March 5, 2013