driving style: meet kelly doyle of park alley
NAME: Kelly Doyle
LOCATION: Menlo Park, ca
SOCIAL MEDIA: @shopparkalley
working in her mom and aunt’s store while growing up, she easily connected with the personal expression and creativity of fashion. Knowing she wanted to create her own retail concept, she began with the concept of style consulting which has become a staple component of her brand. she went on to create a personalized shopping experience, helping women see themselves in looks that inspire them and make them feel confident. her boutique offers a way for shoppers to connect with their power in finding the perfect fit.…... best of all, its on wheels.
Meet business owner and style consultant, Kelly Doyle.
So great to talk with you, kelly! We are very excited to learn more about your unique fashion business, its certainly one of a kind……Can you tell us a bit of background about Park Alley and how the idea came about?
“I grew up around my mom and aunt, who are two of the most fashion-forward people I’ve ever known. Clothing, fabric, textures, and design have been ingrained in me for as long as I can remember. I realized at a very young age that fashion is more than any single look, but a way of tapping into my inner expression and creativity. I got to experience this first hand working in my mom and aunt’s boutique as a teen.
Park Alley wasn’t born overnight. I always knew I wanted to create my own retail concept, but after having babies I knew I needed something that would be more flexible with my schedule. I turned to style consulting because it was something I knew I could do in the hours my boys were at school—or even sleeping in a car seat! (#Momlife.) All I needed to create a vision for a client was a quick meeting and a trip through her closet in order to understand the way she lives, what’s working—and more importantly, what’s not. Together, we’d make a budget and off I’d go to the stores I knew carried the vibe and fit she was looking for. Styling gave me the opportunity to have a personalized experience with each woman I worked with, and I knew that I wanted to bring this element into my next big move.
Now that my boys are in school full time, I felt it was time for a bigger retail concept where I could control inventory but still have the flexibility I needed. Once Park Alley was conceived, the wheels on this truck literally wouldn’t stop turning. It’s been a process of talking with my community and family, supplemented by late nights with my bffs and big glasses of wine.”
“I realized at a very young age that fashion is more than any single look, but a way of tapping into my inner expression and creativity.”
I’m always interested to see how business owners come to branding themselves, particularly in choosing a name… How did the name Park Alley come to be?
“Well, to be honest, it took a village. Initially, I asked the Facebook world for naming ideas to see what the hive-mind could come up with. From there, I decided to turn to a professional branding firm, Personify, for naming advice as well as brand creation for the logo, website, print materials, photography, truck design—the whole nine yard. They presented a list of names and after talking it through, sharing with friends and family, I finally landed on something that played with fashion and location, both of which are obviously integral to what we’re all about. I liked the play on “park”—Park Avenue and high fashion—and the nod to our roots in Menlo Park. As for “alley,” I loved the idea of that’s where you’ll find us! We’re this hot secret, a little off the path, where people come together to meet, shop, and have fun! And, if I’m being totally honest, it came down to what it sounded like when I answered the phone. ; )”
having a nice “ring” to your business name is always important, no pun intended ;)
Now to a more serious question…. What has been the most challenging part of being a business owner for you?
“Balancing it all with my personal life! Starting a business is no joke—it’ll totally take over your life if you let it. Between motherhood, falling in love and getting married (hooray!)—which included traveling back-and-forth between California where I live with my kids, and Hawaii to see my husband—I’ve had a lot to balance. My husband has been very supportive of me, as have my kids, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t come with a unique set of challenges. Otherwise, my community has been amazing, and I have a super solid crew behind me who I couldn’t be more grateful for. Like I said, it takes a village!”
that’s awesome, i think more than anything having a community and people behind you really helps when times get tough. underneath it all, What would you say is your primary mission or goal as a business?
“I am here to help women feel comfortable—like, good-in-their-skin comfortable—in a shopping environment. To take this experience that can often be intimidating or triggering, and turn it into a celebration of self. I want my clients to have the best experience possible—to look and feel beautiful from the inside out.
Growing up working in my mom and aunt’s store, I saw them bring their own unique, vibrant approach to all the women at their shop. It was personal. When we styled them, there was something that happened emotionally—you could see it in their faces in the mirror. Suddenly, these women were able to access parts of themselves that were more confident, sexy, and true to their own happiness. And this was all due to a fresh look and just the right color combination. What’s better than that? This really planted a seed for me, that fashion was a way of connecting someone to their power.”
“My goal for Park Alley is to provide my community chic, personalized shopping where customers can discover their latest fashion moment, find something new, feel fabulous, and even share the experience with their besties.” -k.d.
Now on the more positive side of it, What has been your most satisfying moment in business? Were there any particular moments that stuck out to you?
“Bringing Park Alley to fruition on my own! I was divorced at the time—a single mom with two kids trying to turn this crazy idea into something real. There were a lot of times when I’d look at myself and think, “how are you going to do this?” It was tough. But! I am blessed to have a loyal team and a supportive community who wasn’t afraid to give it to me straight—but also to lift my chin and help me remember the dream. And now I look at myself and think, “you did the damn thing!”"
I applaud you—that’s so awesome and such an accomplishment to see something tangible (like a mobile boutique) come into fruition. Must’ve been a dream! In your business journey, do you think there’s any key tasks that you would recommend entrepreneurs to invest their time in?
“Take your time! There’s no point in being hasty when you’re building your dream. Do it right the first time, don’t cut corners—the seams will split and your haste will show. Write everything down! Don’t assume you’ll remember, because you won’t. Be meticulous. Have a business plan—and invest in a branding team like Personify to help you launch! It might seem like too much in the moment, but it will ultimately set you apart, give you the polish, and the depth you need in the long run.”