By Marlena Chavira-Medford
North County is dotted with clothing boutiques, but The Den continues to distinguish itself by offering top-label lines exclusive to the area, and pieces by up-and-coming designers.
“I wanted to offer items that are wearable and fashion-forward, but not something you could easily find somewhere else,” said owner Mary Steely, who cut her retail teeth as a buyer in the surf industry.
After earning her business degree from Cal State San Marcos, Steely combined her savvy and sense of fashion to launch The Den, which now has locations in Carlsbad and Encinitas. Staying true to concept, each location offers a trendy yet unique mix for men, women and kids. The inventory includes labels such as Hudson, English Laundry, Talla, Laurie B, LA Made, 213, Project E, Rock and Republic, Affliction, and People’s Liberation — and several of those lines feature pieces typically carried in bigger markets such as Los Angeles and New York City. The stores also feature accessories by local designers, including jewelry by Love Heals, which plants 10 trees for every piece sold.
“We also pride ourselves on our customer service,” Steely added. “ We really look at a customer’s body type to determine what is going to be a good fit for them. And we’re happy to call customers when new arrivals come in, and put together packages for them based on what they like.”
Denim alterations are also covered for customers, and there are invitations to in-store events and promotions for anyone who signs up for the store’s online newsletter.
Steely — who is also the wife of Daughtry guitarist Josh Steely and the mother of sons, ages 3 and 9 — also believes in giving back part of her bottom line to the community. For that reason, she contributes regularly to neighborhood schools through local education agencies and to charities.
The Den in Carlsbad is located at 2744 Carlsbad Blvd., suite #114, and can be reached at 760-729-2080. The Den in Encinitas is located at 90 N. Coast Highway 101, and can be reached at 760-479-0650. For more information, or to subscribe to the online newsletter, visit