SMART THINKING: Erica Brown (center) has adopted a business model that could help save State Street.
Courtesy Photo

“Shared space is the future,” said Erica Brown, the third-generation Santa Barbaran behind the new clothing boutique Dylan Star.

The store, on State and Islay streets, shares a newly converted space with Salon U, where Brown has worked as a hairdresser for eight years. “It’s expensive [to rent] on State Street, and to share the cost with somebody is fantastic,” she said. “It’s exciting for both people,” she said of being able to bounce ideas off Salon U’s longtime owner, Michael Romo. They hope the two businesses will encourage visits from similar clientele and allow for crossover marketing.

Envisioning a one-stop fashion shop, Brown curates Dylan Star ( with an entire outfit in mind and offers consultations for those wanting advice. “I love dressing people,” she said. “There is something about an outfit that can make you feel so much better.”

Dylan Star’s general merchandise covers colorful clothing lines personally sourced by Brown from Los Angeles and New York, including sandals and jewelry from Africa, hats from Australia, jewelry from Sonoma Valley, and leather belts from Canada. Brown said her goal was to bring a clothing boutique to Santa Barbara that she and her friends could afford without sacrificing quality and style. “We all work hard for our money,” said Brown. “Shopping should be special.”

Brown’s work schedule is indeed hectic and includes several other current jobs in fashion merchandising, hairstyling, and photography, but she took the leap toward making her dream store a reality after the effects of last year’s twin tragedies. “After a tough year for everybody, I decided, what the heck; why not?”


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