Alexis Garrett: Cheyenne Trailblazer

In the heart of Cheyenne, Wyoming, Alexis "Lexi" Garrett has carved her path, redefining the retail landscape and bringing a touch of high fashion to the Wild West. She is the creative force behind Alexis Drake, a boutique leather handbag and accessories store that offers not only timeless creations but also a one-of-a-kind shopping experience in downtown Cheyenne, Wyoming.

It all began with a simple desire for a quality handbag and a little inspiration from her husband.

"I was carrying around a reusable grocery bag as my purse, and my husband thought that as a professional and a mom, I needed a quality handbag," shared Garrett. "He encouraged me to do some research and find something I liked, and he'd buy it for my birthday."

She tried. Dissatisfied with the available options, she took matters into her own hands and crafted a canvas bag in her garage. What started as a personal project quickly gained attention, and the demand for her creations grew.

"I realized that there was a need in the marketplace for something that's simple and easy, that can go from different occasions and from day to night, and make you feel put together," she recalls.

This realization sparked the idea for Alexis Drake, a brand that would not only provide stylish, versatile, and durable handbags but also offer customers the opportunity to witness the artistry behind these beautiful creations.

"Being able to bring more high fashion to Cheyenne but with our Western heritage spin on it, that's what we're about. And mixing it into our community and making it familiar and comfortable and easy and fun," she said.

Creating a Unique Shopping Experience

Alexis Drake isn't just a store, it's a destination combining craftsmanship with shopping. Before opening her brick-and-mortar shop, Garrett invited shoppers into her garage, delivering the whole experience by allowing her customers to choose their leathers, linings, and hardware and witness the meticulous craftsmanship that goes into each piece.

Demand outgrew her garage, yet the process remains the same but is now located in a historic Cheyenne storefront.

Her shop is in what once was the Rex Hotel, with enough space to house the entire production process under one roof, which she sees as a gift. While they renovated it to become a retail space, laser cutter production space, and sewing room, touches of the building’s heritage remain.

“From what we understand, there was a Rex bar. So we do have a bar tab receipt, and we also have a really beautiful stained glass transom from the Rex Hotel,” she said. “We want every person who walks through our door to experience this history within this historic building.”

Community Support and Growth

Garrett's success is a testament to her talent and vision and also the unwavering support of the Cheyenne community. Not only has Alexis Drake become a source of pride for locals, but it's also a symbol of entrepreneurship.

"As a small community, we all love the idea of somebody starting small and then growing and watching that growth," she said. "So many of our early customers are still customers, they have watched our progression and been part of our story."

Alexis Drake is more than just a fashion boutique, it's a trailblazing example of how innovation and creativity can thrive in unexpected places. Garrett's determination to create something unique and offer opportunities to the youth in her community sets a powerful example.

The store provides job opportunities and valuable experiences for young people, giving them a glimpse of the world of fashion, design, and retail that they might not find elsewhere in Wyoming.

"Showing our younger generation that we have jobs available that are phenomenal is important. Here, they have exposure to fashion and style and just bigger types of things," shared Garrett. We are on the phone with Italy and other suppliers and want to share that process. It's not something I had ever imagined doing, so I love that we can offer that opportunity here."

Cheyenne's Evolving Culture

Cheyenne is often stereotyped as a city steeped solely in Western tradition, yet it continually evolves. Garrett points to the growing food truck scene, the burgeoning food culture, local breweries, and distilleries that add layers to the city's culture.

The art scene in downtown Cheyenne is growing and hosts one of Garrett’s favorite events. Downtown art galleries take turns hosting First Fridays so visitors and locals can explore all of the galleries and their different installations or artwork. Larger-than-life murals, nearly 40 eight-foot-tall cowboy boots painted by local artists, and a collection of bronze statues offer new discoveries around the city’s center year-round. Plus, the walkable downtown is also home to an array of boutiques, beautiful architecture, and trains.

“We're so lucky to be a part of such a phenomenal downtown, there's so much history with its connection to the railroad,” she said. “People just love to understand our history, and we're growing so much.  That's really exciting.”