Original clothing for little girls fills new Sara V. Designs

By: Gloria Young Journal Staff Writer
-A +A

When Denise “Dee” Albers and her daughter Sara decided to open a children’s shop in Old Town Auburn, they wanted to create a spot that little girls would love. Their Sara V. Designs boutique in the Gold Rush Plaza is painted a bright pink and green and has lots of trimmings and frills.
“We design everything that’s in here,” Albers said this week. 
Named for Sara, everything in the shop — from the net tutus to the colorful headbands and pastel cotton dresses — is also hand-made.
The duo has been creating children’s fashions and accessories since Sara was in first-grade. She’s 11 and in fifth-grade now.
They established their first store in Amador City, then relocated it to Old Town Folsom. The move to Auburn was in September.
The store specializes in items for newborn through size 6.
Alongside the racks of colorful clothing are picture frames, writing books and lots of hair accessories.
“Every outfit has a hair accessory,” Albers said.
In fact, every little girl who visits the shop gets a free hair accessory. The gift is part of Albers’ vision to make the store fun for children as well as adult shoppers.
That also means offering a price point that accommodates a child’s shopping allowance — so there are a number of items under $10, including dozens of headbands for $4 or three for $10.
Another specialty is party hats, which hang from the walls in a variety of colors and styles. Albers welcomes special orders for the hats and other party items.
There’s also furniture and pillows. And, for babies, plenty of onesies and bibs.
In tune with the season, there are some Halloween items in the store and there are plans to add Christmas items as the holiday approaches.
Art has been a passion for Albers from a young age. She put it on hold to run a cleaning business   for 30 years, but now has come back to it.
“I wanted to continue working, but not with a career — with a hobby,” she said.
Still, it has become an all-consuming effort.
“I get visions (for designs) daily and nightly,” she said.
Albers creates the designs. Then Sara makes the decision about what works, because “as a child, she knows what kids like,” Albers said.
Sara also contributes to the designs. For example, it was her idea to add a colorful clothespin to hold photos in small oval picture frame.
The store “is a gift from her mom for her future,” Albers said.
Albers and her daughter are enjoying being in Old Town.
“It’s great seeing all the out-of-towners who come through,” Albers said. “The response of grandmothers (to the inventory) is that it is all very sweet and not too grown up. …We want the store to be affordable because we know how fast kids grow.”
Starting in January, Albers plans to contribute to local organizations including Child Protective Services and some preschools.
The store is a fun place to browse for customer Jenn Lange and her three children.
“What really drew me to the shop is that whimsical passion she has,” Lange said about Albers. “It really speaks to the children. When we go in, Dee gets down on the kids’ level and interacts with them and makes them feel important. And the creations are things that speak to the children — like dress-up and fairy tales. She’s so passionate about what she does. The things she makes are so full of whimsy. (The store) just speaks to children and calls them into the world of imagination.”
Reach Gloria Young at

Sara V. Designs
111 Sacramento St., Gold Rush Plaza, Old Town Auburn
Hours: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday-Monday; closed Tuesday
Phone: (530) 889-2892