Anna Steffen’s Personal Style Is on Display at The Native One

Boutique owner Anna Steffen uses her style inspirations to inform what she buys for The Native One.

Occupation: Owner, The Native One
Style: Neutral tones with pops of color

Photograph by Aaron M. Conway

How do your boutiques reflect your personal style?

I do all of the buying. I obviously don’t own everything we buy, but everything that’s in [the shops] I would wear. My style intervenes so much, whether it be elastic on the waist of something or a certain pop of color. Does it pass the Anna test? is usually what I’m thinking. If I wouldn’t wear it myself, you probably wouldn’t see it in here.

Describe The Native One’s style.

You typically find very earth-like tones and neutral bases. You’ll always be able to find a neutral or go-to [staple] piece with the occasional pop of color and patterns. I really like comfy style, so as long it passes the comfy test of being able to wear it all day, that’s me. I really want the shop to be a reflection of who I am and what I like.

How have you been able to successfully infuse your style into your boutiques?

I go by instinct, but I’m always looking for new inspiration. There are a lot of people I follow on Instagram, who I go to for upcoming styles, or I get a ton of inspiration from Pinterest. I see those [styles] and I tweak what I like about them. I’m really into the yin and yang style right now, but like not too much. I like it subtle in shoes or on the nails. I don’t think I would ever sell like a yin and yang top or anything but I like to subtly pull things in. Always looking for new inspiration keeps the shop so fresh. I follow the people who I feel genuinely inspired by.

So you take trends and tailor them to your vision?

Yes, definitely. You never see anything too bold in here, but I definitely do try to find a few unique pieces that pop.

Photograph by Aaron M. Conway

Your shops offer everything from active wear to statement pieces to wear out on the town.

I’ve been using the phrase one-stop shop a lot lately, because you really can come in and get almost anything you need, whether it be a plant, a coffee bag, a top, or your new favorite pajama set. There really is a mix of everything, and I feel like that’s what makes it so great for people when they’re shopping; they’re like Oh, The Native One probably has it; they’ve got a pretty good selection. When we first started, I never really fiddled with the basics and athleisure. Adding all avenues is what really helped us grow. Being a spot where you can find more than just that one top you’re looking for is really ideal.

As you grow your own style, does the shops’ aesthetic grow with it?

Yes. When I creep on our old Instagram posts, it’s so funny, because at that time in my life, those were the colors and styles that I loved. It really shifts to the change of who I am. [This year] we started getting into business casual looks and that never was on the radar two years ago. What I’ve typically got going on in my closet is what I try to bring into the shop.

So the shop’s inventory is constantly changing?

Always. Like right now, obviously stay at home means more lounge, but I have full-blown indulged into lounge. Like give me all the elastic and comfy materials.

So do you just target women your age?

Oh no, anyone. I don’t really believe like, Oh you’re past a certain age, you can’t wear that. I’m very much like, Wear whatever you want wherever you want. Starting out, it was very much just girls my age, but having the stores [and adding to my inventory helped me] build a diverse customer base. It bums me out when I hear women in their 40s or 50s say, We’re too old, and I’m like, You’re not too old for a satin PJ set; you can wear that your whole life! I really want people to know that [The Native One] isn’t just for one age group. And if you can’t find an outfit you like, you’re going to like a home good, a plant, candle scent, or something else.

You also just relocated your OTR storefront into a larger space, which previously housed the former Kaze restaurant. How is this new space different?

It doesn’t look anything like what you’ve seen at [our previous OTR space]. The style for that store is very west coast. It’s very breezy and bright. I want people to have the feeling of, Are we in Cincinnati anymore? Almost like you’re traveling, but you’re not; you’re in your hometown.

Did you ever think that your personal style would grow into this successful brand?

Never. It was a dream, but I never felt it, and now I very much so feel it. Any time I go out, I see at least one girl in an outfit [from The Native One]. It’s crazy because I can remember the day and time that I bought that outfit.

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