ST. PETERSBURG - New York City is one giant urban runway for the fashionistas of the world. But NYC was not ome for St. Petersburg native Torrie Tiernan.
After playing her hand in the Big Apple, she returned to the Burg, where she opened Bentley's Boutique less than a year ago. The retail shop, at 6 6th St. North, is "an ecclectic mix of high-end consignment, retail, estate jewelry, art and everything you've ever wanted," according to Bentley's Facebook Page.
Tiernan's shop has proven itself by withstanding the worst of the economy; its reptuation and celebrity continues to grow.
Q. What did you do before you decided to open Bentley's Boutique?
A. I worked as a millionaire and celebrity matchmaker, as well as a commercial actress in New York City and Palm Beach. When I moved back to St. Petersburg, I opened Bentley’s Boutique and my own matchmaking firm, Torrie Tiernan Matchmaking, and continue to act in the local commercial market.
Q. As a young entrepreneur, where else do you lend your talents, other than your shop?
A. I have been a Big Sister through Big Brothers Big Sisters of America since 2009, and volunteer with RCA Food Bank, with food drives and community awareness. Bentley’s also donates clothing and other items to The Alpha House of St. Petersburg, a charity that helps moms-to-be in need.
Q. Have you always wanted to open a boutique, or was this a spur of the moment decision?
A. I have definitely always wanted to open a boutique, with things you couldn’t find anywhere else and a reduce-reuse-reinvent theme and feel to it. When I heard the space was opening on the 600 block, which has so much character, I jumped on it and knew it was meant to be. Sarah Stonecipher at MisRed really helped me tweak my business from its conception. I owe her a lot of credit for helping me make Bentley’s the success it is today.
Q. What drove you to open your own business?
A. I desired the freedom of being my own boss, making my own hours and creating a space that others could come to and shop in and leave with eclectic items that no one else would have.
Q. Why the name "Bentley"?
A. Bentley’s name came from the love of my life, my 5 lb. malti-poo Bentley! His favorite part of the day is greeting as customers as they walk in the door.
Q. Describe the mission of Bentley's Boutique.
A. Reuse. Recycle. Reinvent. We truly believe in saving the world one piece of fabulous jewelry and clothing at a time. In a world where many of us tend to live a lifestyle of over consumption, we are an oasis of both earth-friendly retail, like new designer consignment, estate jewelry and reinvented goods.
Q. Is Bentley's strictly consignment, or do you carry new, unused items as well?
A. We carry several new retail lines, like Adorned Jewelry, made by St. Petersburg native Laura Sibley. Other St. Pete-crafted goods include a leather cuff line, art by local artists and many redesigned estate pieces that I make, as well as consignment.
Q. How does Bentley's differ from other stores on the 600 block?
A. Bentley’s is a definitive mix of what each store on the fabulous 600 block encompasses. With that, we mesh old with new, funky with conservative and throw local art in the mix.
Q. Life can't be all about work; what do you like to do for fun, outside of your many business ventures?
A. Most weekends, you can find me boating, fishing, exploring new places and hanging out with Bentley and doing anything outdoors. I’m a Florida native and really feel blessed to be back in my hometown and enjoying all it has to offer. I love St. Pete.