Elyse Walker

Elyse Walker at her store at 1234 Adams Street in St. Helena.

As I walked into the Elysewalker boutique in St. Helena on a recent Monday morning, the bright, cozy store was abuzz — clients and stylists catching up on the day’s news, locals popping in for a quick hello and shoppers perusing the latest fall arrivals. In the center of it all was the store’s owner and namesake, Elyse Walker, a petite brunette with stylish thick-rimmed glasses, an easy smile and an infectious joie de vivre.

Over the last two decades, the New York native has become a powerhouse in the fashion retail world. When she opened her first eponymous store in Pacific Palisades in 1999, the boutique catered to women wanting to shop for stylish clothes in the neighborhood, near their favorite coffee shop and kids’ schools. With an offering of high-end brands mixed with more casual, everyday wear, Elysewalker was an instant success. Since then, that original Palisades store has expanded multiple times, and new Elysewalker boutiques have opened in Newport Beach, Calabasas and St. Helena.