Cotton & Rust, a clothing and home boutique clothing store in Templeton, is celebrating its first year of business and owner Alyssah Goss couldn’t be more pleased.
“No one around carries what I do,” grinned Alyssah of her Western-Boho fashions. “We carry niche brands that aren’t readily available on the Central Coast, so I travel to Texas to hand-pick my stock.” Her labels include Buddy Love, Ivy Jane, Cousin Earl, Sister Mary, LuBella Candle Co. and Double J.
Prices range from $32 to $110, with some exceptions, such as handmade hide leather handbags. Alyssah also stocks home décor, accessories and gifts, including hand-poured candles, wooden signs, hand-tooled leather shave kits for men, jewelry and hats.
“I’ve dreamed of a career in fashion, but I just wasn’t sure how on the Central Coast,” Alyssah said “I hit the ground running last year and got lucky finding a storefront in Templeton. I love Templeton; it reminds me of growing up in Arroyo Grande.”
Alyssah heavily credits her fiancé, Brett Harradence, for helping her open the store.
“I wouldn’t have a shop if it weren’t for him!” she said. “All the furniture inside except two chairs and a desk is repurposed. Brett rewired the whole thing and put tin on the ceiling. The doors to the dressing room are from my dad’s 120-year-old Victorian house. Blood, sweat and tears went into this place.”
And indeed, they did.
Alyssah’s father died in 2016 at the age of 57, just six years after she lost her mother, age 49. Many knew Jerry Goss through Goss Body Shop, his 63-year-old family business or his hobby, racing sprint cars. Alyssah’s loss was devastating but it provoked in her the courage to launch her first business.
“It’s been a dream of mine,” she said. “When I was very young, I played dress-up and Mom would call me her little fashionista. I love fashion; I always have. I love making people feel beautiful from the outside in. That’s probably the most rewarding part of what I do. I never thought of fashion as an actual career but I took my hardship and turned it into something beautiful — that’s how Cotton & Rust was born.”
Alyssah misses her parents terribly but the hard revelation that life is brief is what propels her passion.
“Why not live your life doing what you love? And, what better way could I honor my parents?” said Alyssah. “Doing what I can to help other people feel great is helps keep their memory alive.”