Sherman Oaks’ Scandalo Boutique puts the artistic flair in your fashion wear

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sarahtohl90BY SARAH K. TOHL

In times of a weak economy, with decreased retail sales, and boutique windows filled with “50% off signs,” it is a struggle for any business owner to find great success – but not so much for Alex Damiano, owner of Scandalo Boutique.

Scandalo Boutique owner

Alex Damiano, Scandalo Boutique owner, in her store surrounded by her favorite bags. All photos by Sarah K. Tohl.

Located on Ventura Boulevard, in Sherman Oaks, Scandalo Boutique has developed a strong database of clientele since it first opened four years ago.  Damiano, in collaboration with her mother, opened Scandalo just after finishing her studies at Marangoni Design School, in Milan.  Her motives were simple, yet challenging.  She wanted to create an environment filled with diversity in terms of fashion garments and style, as well as offer a place where customers could feel the support and comfort in their discovery of personal style.

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European imported blouse ($98) with high waisted lace pencil skirt ($59).

“It’s always great to see someone mainstream come in and then leave with one of my unique designs that are a little more cutting edge,” Damiano says.  “I feel like I influenced that person’s fashion sense.  I influenced something new.”

Rather than carry labels from some of the more “well-known” designers that can be found in department stores, Scandalo provides a supply of both classic and cutting edge designs made in the USA, in addition to pieces imported from Europe.  Currently, the best-selling items for this Fall include a high-wasted lace pencil skirt ($59), a shimmered “flapper girl” dress ($79), and patterned stockings and knee-highs ranging from $24 and up.

Scandalo offers one-of-a-kind handmade leather clutches and bags designed by Damiano herself – her popular “skull bags” ranging from $220 - $520.

Scandalo offers one-of-a-kind handmade leather clutches and bags designed by Damiano herself .

Best of all, Scandalo offers one-of-a-kind handmade leather clutches and bags designed by Damiano herself, including her popular “skull bags” ranging from $220 – $520.  As a small business owner and artist, Damiano would like to see more boutiques supported by community than department and chain stores.

“I want to give artists an opportunity to showcase work.  I want to promote people that are talented, independent designers,” Damiano says.

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Flapper Girl dress $79.

But there is more to Scandalo’s success than an array of diverse fashions and handmade creations.  According to Damiano, there is a different experience in a boutique.  One-on-one relationships can develop which makes the shopping experience more personal, comforting, and exciting.

“I have customers where I’m pretty much their stylist,” Damiano says.  “They’ll come in with a pair of shoes and say, ‘Alex, with this budget, please help me build an outfit around these shoes.’  After that happens once or twice it’s natural – they feel comfortable.”

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The famous skull purse accessorizes this outfit. Sweater $78.

It appears to be these one-on-one relationships, and Damiano’s attitude towards her customers that play a major role in Scandalo’s success.

“We are surviving the recession,” Damiano says,  “We haven’t had to clutter our window with huge sale signs.  Customers are very loyal.”

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Patterned stockings and knee-highs are hot for fall and winter. $24 and up.

Damiano adds, “We are not a pushy place.  We’re more about building a relationship with customers so people come back, rather than pushing a garment to make a sale.”

Scandalo Boutique 14547 Ventura Blvd. Sherman Oaks, CA 91403 (818)986-1867 www.scandaloboutique.com

Sarah K. Tohl is a life-long Valley resident. She graduated Pitzer College in 2009 with a special major that combined the fields of writing and media studies, titled: “Verbal and Visual Languages.”


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About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

  • Rachel

    I love this store. I only stop in every couple of months, but after just my first visit, Alex had remembered everything about my life and job and what my fashion tastes were, and always knew where in the store to steer me after that. She’s fantastic, and so are the clothes in this cute store!

  • Kristin Freyman

    I am one of those loyal customers mentioned! Alex has a wonderful aesthetic and I can always count on finding beautiful and well-priced clothing in her boutique. Her bags and hand made clothing are truly special. I am constantly complimented on the clothing I have bought from her. Additionaly, she creates a warm environment which makes the experience a true joy! I love this store!

  • Lisa

    I shop at Scandalo all of the time! It is truly the BEST! I always find something that makes me feel amazing! Alex, the owner, is always spot-on the latest trends and she makes sure that you leave the store looking hot!

  • leslie

    Scandalo Boutique is amazing! The most beautiful, high quality things. It is like Beverly Hills in Sherman Oaks, but with better prices. Magnificent purses, too. Unique things every visit.

  • Betsy Ceder

    I have heard about this store for awhile and have actually had it on my calendar as a need to go to destination. Now I will go for sure. . .thanks for the push!

  • Sharon

    I love this store!! I have bought many beautiful items at Scandalo Boutique, from dresses to skirts and scarves. Whenever I want to treat myself, I come here. Alex’s pieces are stunning, and I always get complements when I wear anything from her store.

  • Barbara DeLucia

    The story as covered by Sarah Tohl accurately describes the ambiance at Scandalo. My very stylish, hip niece shops at Scandalo whenever she visits me from back East. The reaction, even after she has not been in the shop for a while is amazing ~ Alex will recognize her and recall what she last purchased. You don’t get that at too many places. It’s uncanny but true. A very warm, wonderful shopping experience. I’m happy to hear that the shop is doing well.

  • Genevieve

    The first time I went to Scandalo shopping for clothes to wear on stage [I'm a singer], Alex made a strong impression. She was super nice and creative in her own designs as well as her choices in pieces by other designers. The things in her shop are elegant and have a hip twist to them. I’ve gone back several times for different types of shows, and have consistently gotten great personal treatment as well as great dresses fitting for each occasion. This is making me want to go back soon…

  • Kelly

    Alex is an extremely talented designer, as well as an all-around beautiful person, and the pieces she creates reflect that. Her designs are unique, timeless, and affordable. The “Cheers” of boutique clothing stores, Scandalo offers runway designs at affordable prices!

  • aline

    I love this boutique! I can always go there and find the most affordable clothes. Alex has a great eye for style and her designs are unique.

  • http://www.heavensmobilehands.com Anayah Whisenant

    I love shopping at scandalo. Alex is an amazing,warm and lovely woman. I remember the first time I shopped at the boutique Alex and I immediately connected. She not only picked out some wonderful clothes for me to try on and by the way; (I love my green tunic Alex) she also paid attention to what looked good and did’nt look good on my body frame. She was very honest, she even told me what I should’nt wear. That showed me alot about her because most sales people would tell you everything looks good so they can make the money. She’s so beyound that. I will always shop there as long as she’s around. I just love her amazing clothes and accessories. I just bought a beautiful unique black belt with a silver bow like buckle that just really complements my waist. Talk about amazing clothes that make me stand out.

  • Mitchka Lyonnais

    First time I met Alex it was 3 1/2 years ago. On that very first day, she left me with a life lasting impression of not only a talented individual but a sincere, wonderful human being. Her warm and honest welcome, made a loyal customer and a honored friend out of me.

    I do visit and shop at Scandelo on weekly basis. I do appreciate the deversified fashion forward items in the store. What makes the experience special is the fact that Alex allows you to be! She lets you know of her thoughts, assist you with your decision based on your budget and the need.

    With Alex is always more than shopping that it is an experience.

  • Jenn Mascio

    In response to Barbara DeLucia, I am her niece from the east coast. I try and venture to LA once every year. When I am visiting, I love to hit up unique boutiques that have great finds I cannot get in NJ. A few years back I went into Scandalo and had an awesome shopping experience. The owner helped me pick out a great red dress that I have worn on several occasions including my college graduation. The following year, I was in LA with two friends and I took them back to Scandalo. The owner took one look at me and asked if I came to LA often and how my red dress was working out! I had only been in there once before. You do not find that kind of customer service at Abercrombie!!

    I hope Scandalo has continued success and I can’t wait to shop there when I come back to LA!

  • Toshia

    During my first visit to Scandalo Boutique I was pleasantly greeted and pampered by Alex and her lovely mother. There was no pressure to buy but I purchased approximately ten items.

    Alex affectionately calls me the “Belt Lady” because every time I visit Scandalo I buy her belts in bulk. Her belts are beautiful and well made and exremely affordable.

    Alex has exquisite taste and Scandalo is the best kept secret in Sherman Oaks.

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