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Anna Stefen, owner, and Christine Carnevale, assistant store manager and stepmom to Milo / Image: Katie Robinson, Cincinnati Refined // Published: 9.30.18
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This Successful OTR Clothier Is Owned and Operated by a 21-Year-Old

OTR is a metropolis of fun and unique shopping destinations. What sets The Native One apart from other shops is that it’s owned and operated by a 21-year-old.

Anna Steffen’s boutique feels like it’s right out of a Los Angeles dream, which makes sense considering the majority of her clothing pieces come straight from the L.A. Fashion District.

“In high school, I was never super crazy about school, but I loved working in retail,” Anna says. “A year and a half ago I decided to take on a store.”

The Native One has been in operation since the summer of 2017. Anna initially started the business online and functioned through pop-up shops Downtown at events such as the Off Market and City Flea. Now, the shop lives on Vine Street, flourishing with greenery and eclectic treasures.

Anna isn’t a Cincinnati native per se, but she did grow up in NKY, attending Highland High School. So when I asked her where she came up with the name, she said, “I wish there was a really glamorous story about it, but it just popped into my head at Fountain Square one day—nothing crazy.” (An epiphany at Fountain Square—can you think of anything more Cincinnati?)

Then I asked Anna what she believes makes her boutique different from other stores. I assumed she would mention how young she is as a shop owner, or maybe the store’s individual style and West Coast ambiance. Or maybe even the fact that they sell cacti along with their clothing, jewelry, and decorative home merchandise.

Instead, Anna told me she considers her shop special because it is a small operation. She says, “We have a team of four, and with it being so, so small, everyone can put in their feedback and be hands-on.”

The close-knit group of employees may have something to do with why The Native One radiates a comforting, personable energy; the kind where you can walk into your neighbor’s house without even asking and expect a warm welcome and a gab session. Customers also receive special greetings from Anna’s dog, Milo, who roams around the store, always searching for new playmates.

The Native One is more than just a place to shop and visit a cute pup. Yoga events are also offered inside the boutique. It costs $10 to participate with snacks and juices provided by Off The Vine. Yogis receive 20% off their next purchase there, too. If you're looking to get your Zen on, the next session will be held on October 21st.

Yoga, charming and affordable clothes, and a playful store puppy… I’m missing it already. Anna may be younger than most fashion moguls, but her stylish and successful boutique is anything but amateur.

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The Native One is located at 1421 Vine Street (45202). It's open Tuesdays through Sundays.

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