“Welcome to Rancho Relaxo!”
Those are the words that every guest hears as they walk through the doors of the spacious new boutique located at The Atrium in Rancho Mirage. The space is the former home to the Coachella Valley Repertory Theater. Patrons of the theater barely recognize the space and that is the element of surprise that delights the owner, Stella Adena.
“Delight is the emotion I want to evoke,” Stella says. The store is laid out to encourage meandering and discovery. The breadth and diversity of assortment caters to the modern consumer. In additional to apparel and accessories for men and women, there are gift items, home décor, and recently many, many puzzles. In the center of the space is a large midcentury-inspired sectional sofa for lounging. The copper fixtures are all hand-made by Stella. “This always surprises people. Copper is surprisingly easy to work,” she says.
“My favorite part of the space is my dressing rooms!” Stella says. The repurposed dressing rooms from the Coachella Valley Repertory Theater are spacious so you can really relax and a chaise lounge is inviting enough to take a nap. A mural by local artist Sophia Enriquez is the perfect selfie back drop.
“Guests often ask why I am not in Palm Springs or on El Paseo," Stella says. "Selfishly, I love the 2-minute commute! But I also relish how centrally located Rancho Mirage is in the Valley. We have strong repeat customers from both La Quinta and Palm Springs so being right in the middle on a major road with a huge parking lot made sense to me!” And having popular neighbors like Palms Café, Victoria’s Attic Antiques, Agape Aveda Salon, and Su Casa were a huge plus.
Rancho Relaxo opened inauspiciously at the end of 2019. “I feel lucky that I wasn’t planning on opening in April 2020!” Stella says.
The world experienced seismic shifts from the coronavirus pandemic that affected consumer buying decisions. Fortunately, Stella ascribes her planned success on being able to “pivot.” She is bringing in more home décor and crafts with a focus on cultivating local talent.
Spacious dressing rooms makes it easy to safely try on outfits.
The hat wall at Rancho Relaxco.
“My mission has always been to humanize the fashion and retail world. Rancho Relaxo allows me to share with my customers the story behind these items and the artisan,” Stella says.
Stella describes her sensibility as “desert modern.” “Personally, I vacillate between the “less is more” and “more is more” design philosophies. I love mixing materials and creating “ironic adjacencies” that give pause,” she says.
What surprises Stella most is how much the name Rancho Relaxo resonates with her customers. “Every other person who walks through the doors calls their home Rancho Relaxo, or knows someone who does,” she says. Fortunately, this means her top sellers are her T-shirts. “People love them. They are sustainably made, super soft and make you smile. And my husband thinks they are cool!”
Stella has called Rancho Mirage home since 2011 after long stints in both New York City and San Francisco. She grew up in Ohio and studied Economics and Japanese at Princeton University.
Stella made a career change at 30 from investment banking to fashion. “I remember thinking I was too old to be making this change!” she recalls.
Stella worked her way up at iconic American brands Liz Claiborne, Limited Brands, Henri Bendel and Ralph Lauren. “The fashion industry is the second largest employer in New York City and I worked for three very large corporations. Everyone in that industry is about one degree of separation. My best friends are from that time, all extremely strong and smart women. The camaraderie and support as I launched this has been enormous.”
Stella always fantasized about moving to California. She vividly remembers the debut of the TV show, Beverly Hills 90210 and wanting to have a life of pool parties. The name Rancho Relaxo honors this dream come true.
After 15 years in big cities, she felt she won the career lottery by landing a job at a private equity company that invests in leisure space in Greater Palm Springs. Stella spent eight years at KSL Resorts as director of retail buying for 5 Diamond resorts and properties on the National Historical registry including The Hotel Del, La Quinta Resort, Arizona Biltmore, The Homestead, Grand Wailea, Miraval, The Grove Park Inn, La Costa, and Monarch Beach Resort.
Catering to a guest on vacation is a passion for Stella. Her mission is to give that guest a physical manifestation of their time of leisure so they can keep that memory alive.
Life presented a crossroads to Stella when her company relocated to Irvine in 2019. Stella had found her home in Rancho Mirage with her husband Domenic and children Lola (almost 5) and Enzo (3) and dog Scout.
Rancho Relaxo was born.
Rancho Relaxo, 69930 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage, CA; 760-656-7009, ranchorelaxoca.com.