Cuckoo for CocoRose

When you walk into CocoRose Boutique, next to the theater/church in the Orange Circle, you'd never guess a 25-year-old owned it. A storefront in the circle is enviable real estate, not to mention expensive, but Courtney Rose was determined to have it, so she put all her savings on the line.

Two years ago, Rose was coming out of a long, hard run in retail. She had managed several boutiques, driving from Fashion Island to Los Angeles. Burnt out, she decided that if she were to put that much work into something, it might as well be her own. “After managing so many stores, I couldn't go back to just doing sales,” she says. Rose had saved up enough money to get the ball rolling, and she pretty much leapt with no net after that. “I had no credit, and I refused to ask my family for money,” she explains, though she was lucky enough to find one investor.

As to getting one of the best retail locations in the county, Rose says it all came down to being annoying—and chocolate-dipped strawberries. “A lot of people wanted this space, and why would you give it to me?! I was 23 and a first-time renter,” Rose says. “I just begged the landlord every day and kept bringing her desserts.”

Everything came together in just a few days with the help of her dad, a restaurateur, and the grace of Home Depot employees. The spacious boutique is now filled with festival rompers, candles, bubble bath, soap and graphic tees.

Sounds stressful, but Rose's easy-going attitude shows nothing of it. “For me, it's more stressful to work for someone else than myself,” she says.You can bet that by 30, she'll be running an empire.

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