New store empowers girls

January 7, 2009 3:26:32 PM PST
Ten-year-old Tori Ferlauto is creating her very own handbag, selecting the shape, the fabric, ribbon and details. She's tapping into her inner designer and She's doing it at Startiste. It's a new store at the Roosevelt Field Mall.

"When naming our brand, I couldn't find a word that specifically describes a woman who achieves greatness," explained founder Cathy Taylor. "Because our brand encourages girls to use their creativity to reach for the stars, merging "star" and "artist" seemed perfect. A "Startiste" is a girl whose individuality makes the world shine."

Taylor previously worked on National Security Policy for the White House. She is also the great granddaughter of the late Maurice Ourman, couture designer for Patou Paquin in Paris and Bergdorf Goodman.

"Since before Cleopatra, girls of all ages have loved fashion and beauty. Rather than try to change girls and their interests, Startiste simply makes their favorite places and pastimes more empowering," she said.

At Startiste, there are about 25 different items to design including lotions, bags and even watches.

The creating is done on the store's computers. A "shooting star" device takes the order to the back area where the item is assembled. In minutes, the design process is complete. Out comes a pretty box with the item inside. It's instant gratification.

Cathy's named her handbag styles after interesting women. The hope is to inspire young girls to meet their own potential. It's retail therapy with a boost of girl power.

You can learn more about Startiste and design items right from your computer at

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