Like predecessor Bellwether Boutique, Cora Rasps Coriander store offers one-of-a-kind pieces often produced by local talent.
Four months ago, Omaha lost a true original. As did so many others, I walked the sidewalks outside the Old Market Passageway to see flowers, candles and farewells written in chalk. The space that was once Bellwether Boutique became a painful reminder that someone and something special had been lost. I remember Bellwether as a store unlike any other. The owner, Jessica Latham, sold vintage clothes and items by local designers and artists. She was considered one of their biggest supporters. Many thought the void could not be filled. But today, the space lives again and is born anew in Coriander. Like its predecessor, Coriander provides beautiful one-of-a-kind pieces and embraces local talent. Owner and Omaha native Cora Rasp, 27, hopes to continue the legacy Latham started in the very space she now occupies. “It was a tragedy to lose Jessica. I felt like there was this pending hole in Omaha after that happened. It was hard to just see that left open,” explains Rasp, “So I had three days to decide what I wanted to do. I had no business plan — I met, signed the papers, and hit the ground running.” Indeed, while she has no business background per se, the delightful former design student has a passion for the making of clothes. Everything else, she says, she hopes to learn along the way. And so far, the results have all been positive. Upon walking into the store, which is equally as charming as the owner, I saw Rasp seated at a table mending a garment. The first thing I noticed was her small stature and disarmingly sweet personality. She’s dressed for comfort but also showcases her personality with a black tulle pin adorning her polka dot cardigan. While the space is still coming into its own, Rasp has given Coriander its personality in art as well as clothing. She features work by local artists, which include paintings and ceramics by Caleb Coppock. He is also the man behind the huge piece on the wall — the abstract wood-panel hanging just above the shoes. The store itself is intricately organized and provides some of Rasp’s favorite treasures including items found by her buyers in Florida and Minnesota. The space is the same size as when Bellwether occupied it. The vibe is clean and simple with white walls and racks of carefully chosen merchandise. While many stores try to bulk out their product, Rasp keeps it minimal. “Don’t buy it unless you love it,” she tells me.Rasp likes to keep her personal style simple with some standout pieces, much like her inventory. Since everything is one-of-a-kind, pieces go rather quickly. To make sure everyone is updated on her inventory, Rasp has a Facebook for Coriander, which has pictures of all the latest garments and accessories, including prices and sizes. In addition to the vintage and thrifted women’s dresses and coats, there is plenty in stock for men. There are a great many scarves, shirts and jackets for even the most choosey male shopper to enjoy. Most noticeably is a dapper, tan men’s corduroy blazer displayed on an industrial hook that no doubt the Fantastic Mr. Fox would approve of. Rasp also offers necklaces, made by local designer Janna Nysewander, displayed on a large tree branch. Vintage heels, boots and flats lay on a shelf near the floor for the customer’s convenience to try on. “I love accessories,” she says. “Hats, jewelry, shoes. I dress pretty comfortably — simple silhouettes with great accessories. My style is comfortable and practical … with quirks.” And for a lover of garments and fashion, inspiration is key – so I have to ask, what’s hers? “I am inspired by plants,” Rasp says. “I am in love with her answer, which is honest and endearing. “Textures, pottery … practical yet beautiful items are inspiring.” It is no surprise that Rasp adores vintage and thrift store shopping for her own clothes. “Omaha has great thrift stores. I love going to the church thrift stores. Fashion is so cyclical. I think it’s the responsible thing to do,” she says. Practical and beautiful are the latent motifs in Coriander. With the Omaha fashion scene truly thriving in recent years, Rasp says she would love to contribute in some way to events such as Omaha Fashion Week and the like. Out of tragedy comes something new and inspiring to keep going what was started — unique fashion and constant support of local designers. Coriander is located in the Old Market Passageway at 1028 Howard St and is open Tue.-Thurs. from noon to 7 p.m., Fri.-Sat 1-9 p.m. and Sunday from 1-6 p.m. Call 889.5049 or visit hellocoriander.com for more info.