Retail store carries items designed for 'today's women and lifestyles'

by: STAFF PHOTOS: VERN UYETAKE - Karen Cartwright, left, and her daughter, Lizzie Cartwright, have opened Flying Monkey, a retail store selling womens clothing and accessories in Lake Oswego.

Karen Cartwright and Lizzie Cartwright have opened Flying Monkey, a retail store selling women’s apparel, jewelry, gifts and accessories, at 519 Third St. in Lake Owego.

The mother-daughter duo specializes in offering affordable fashion, most of which is made in the USA.

“Our clothes are made for today’s women and lifestyles,” Karen Cartwright said. “If I had to describe our store, I would say it is fun, colorful, lively and energetic.”

Customers can choose from a wide variety of blouses, dresses, pants and jeans, as well as wallets, purses, jewelry, cards, candles and much more.

The fun factor begins with the inspiration for the business name. Flying monkeys are characters in “The Wizard of Oz,” one of Karen Cartwright’s favorite stories and films.

“It’s kind of a goofy name,” she said. “But people like it and remember it.”

The clothing store had its beginning in Seattle near the University of Washington campus. Karen and her husband had moved to Tacoma when he was transferred to the area. Through Facebook and other social media, she met a group of women entrepreneurs who urged her to open a shop of her own.

The shop succeeded and, when her husband was transferred back to the Portland area, daughter Lizzie encouraged Karen to keep the business going.

The pair opened Flying Monkey in historic Oregon City, in a space Cartwright knew would be too small.

“We were bursting at the seams instantly,” she said. “I intended to be there just six months, and kept looking for the right location.” She found herself driving past the vacant shop at least three times a week, and finally stopped and took a look. It had everything she was hoping for: It was located in a residential area with lots of dog walkers, and had a small-town, neighborly feel.

The Cartwrights rely heavily on social media to market the shop. Facebook brings in customers from throughout the metropolitan area.

“Social media really widens your audience,” Cartwright said. “We get customers from North Portland and Happy Valley. And if they drive over from a distance, I want them to feel it’s worth the trip.” She often posts on Facebook about other shops, restaurants and events to take in while in the area.

Flying Monkey is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

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