With a needle in hand, Common Era’s Debra Mazur begins her day by sewing, knitting and designing works of art in vibrant and colorful clothes pieces.
Mazur, a 55-year-old Boulder resident who moved here from New York City, said she was drawn to the West by its beauty with her future husband.
“It was going to be fashion or food,” Mazur said. “I have both of them. Fashion never tires me. It always excites me.”
She said she always loved to shop.
“When I had other jobs in the past, my relaxation would be shopping, creating and sewing,” Mazur said. “That was all I ever did.”
Before getting into the clothes store business, she said she played around with food and considered entering the food industry. As she felt her stress maximizing, she said she switched to the clothing industry.
“I picked a thing I knew I would never fail at,” Mazur said. “I got into the business as easily as anyone could ever get in to it.”
Mazur opened her first store on Pearl Street in 1991. It was a second-hand store named Clothes Encounters of the Second Time. Opening the store allowed her to get to know the fashion store business. Two and half years later she opened Counter Evolution down the block, also containing mostly vintage clothes. In 1999, she opened Common Era, which sells new and hand-made clothes. In 2008 she opened another location in Denver, located on 1543 Platte St. in Denver. The Boulder store is located at 1500 D Pearl St.
Mazur said the store has a customer base of young people who love trendy clothes and anyone who is looking for the next new thing. The store has also received a substantial celebrity customer base from Harry Connick Jr. and his wife, Victoria’s Secret model Jill Goodacre, to Chris Whitley, to Alanis Morissette, as well as various musicians.
Michelle Knezovich, 31, works in the Boulder store for Mazur.
“It’s really fun working here, all the girls are really sweet,” Knezovich said. “We can make crafts. There are not many jobs that when you feel like making something you can. We get cute clothes and make all styles of stuff. We sew, make embroidery on sweaters and pins and hair clips. I’ve learned so much working here.”
She added she was self-employed before coming to Common Era and was nervous to come back to work.
“Debra is sweet, easy to talk to and gives great advice,” Knezovich said. “She also cooks really good lunches. They are the best meal I eat all week.”
She said Mazur is outgoing and energetic, easy going, fun and fabulous.
“She loves her job and her stores,” Knezovich said. “I really think it shows.”
Audrey Wakefield works in Mazur’s Denver store.
“It’s a relaxed environment,” Wakefield said. “It’s great because you can explore your creativity. You can make what you want. It’s a beautiful store, so it’s fun to be here.”
She added that Debra is a great boss who is involved and understanding.
“She makes it a family company,” Wakefield said. “Everyone is her little kid. She is a lot more caring than most bosses, flexible with schedules and genuinely cares.”
Mazur said she loves to make clothes and sells clothes that are unique and different.
“Fashion is about standing out, using ourselves as a canvas,” Mazur said. “Once you wear a uniform, you might as well be wearing a blanket.
As far as Mazur’s personal style?
“I love the Victorian looks,” Mazur said. “I am excited by the way they are being reinterpreted. I love the ‘20s. I love vintage. I play around with the other decades, some things from each decade. I love the mod ‘60s. I’m not really into the ‘70s. I’m in-love with some ‘80s. I always think in decades, where the styles originated. I’ll work for the rest of my life and stay vibrant, empowered and age gracefully. I love [this business] more than anyone should ever love a business and make sacrifices for it constantly. I will do anything to make sure it’s up and running.”
Common Era is located on 16th and Pearl streets in Boulder, just one block off the pedestrian mall. For more information: visit their website.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Sara Fruman at Sara.email@example.com.