KazStylious Secret Closet brings vintage fashion to Cedar Lee
Tucked away near the corner of Lee and Silsby roads is KazStylious Secret Closet, a vintage boutique that offers boldly colored clothes.
Tranette Thomas, 33, owns KazStylious Secret Closet and said she runs it with one primary goal: to make unique fashion affordable. She buys all of the boutique’s stock herself and also works as an in-store personal stylist. Almost all of the clothes in KazStylious are vibrantly colored. Offering colorful clothes year-round is part of Thomas’ vision.
“I believe in color,” Thomas explained. “Color brings happiness. It takes away from anyone being in a bad space. I think it brings good vibes because at the same time you’re vibrant, you’re going to get compliments. So everything that I have in my store, it has color to it. It has something unique about it. The most important thing to me is that my customers are happy. People don’t have to buy something every time they come to my store, I just have to see them leave with a smile.”
The name KazStylious Secret Closet combines various aspects of Thomas’ life. “Kaz” refers to Thomas’ daughter, Kazmere Harper, who she hopes will someday take over the business. “Stylious” refers to Thomas helping customers find a style they love. Kazmere’s father, Keith Harper, came up with the combined name, and Thomas added the second part of the name, Secret Closet.
Fashion has always been an interest for Thomas. While a student at Shaker Heights High School, Thomas usually bought her clothes from thrift stores.
“It was kind of a secret,” she recalled. “A lot of the young ladies at school used to ask me where I got my clothes from, and I used to always make up fibs and tell them my mom got them from New York or something different. I didn’t want to let them know my secret.”
Thomas studied business administration for a time and pursued several different careers, but always came back to fashion. The idea of opening a boutique came while she was working at a credit card processing company. During that time, she did most of her clothes shopping at thrift stores because her salary was so low. But, she still managed to find stylish ensembles. She wanted to share this secret world of fashion.
The first version of KazStylious got its start in the back of Thomas’ truck with support from her mother, Waverly Thomas. She said she would go to thrift stores with big suitcases and fill them up with anything that caught her eye, then move her finds onto a rack in the back of the truck. From there, she would drive to a spot to open up shop for the day. After eight months, she decided it was time to open a boutique.
Thomas had $322 when she began looking for a space for her store. She scouted for an area that had a good atmosphere and would be safe for her customers. After researching Cleveland Heights, she determined that it was the perfect place for her boutique. Thomas found her current space while driving down Lee Road. She got the keys to the building at 3200 Silsby Road and was able to open in May 2015.
“I went off of faith, and it has been a blessing,” said Thomas. “I’ve been here for a year and I have nothing bad to say. I love Cleveland Heights, I love the support system that Cleveland Heights has to offer, and everyone, they love the store. I think I picked a great location.”
KazStylious Secret Closet, located at 3200 Silsby Road, is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Lori Goldberg is an intern at the Heights Observer. Though a senior at Shaker Heights High School, Cleveland Heights is like a second home to her. She hopes to continue writing, professionally or not, for the rest of her life.