Isla Vista sees many businesses come and go, with few managing to establish themselves as staples in this unique college town. Miss Behavin’ is as local as it gets. Not only has the store been in its location for almost exactly nine years, but it is also owned by University of California, Santa Barbara alumna and Santa Barbara native Kelly Scott.
Scott can be seen on any given day arranging her displays and doling advice to the near-constant stream of customers who come in to shop for clothing, accessories, gifts and more.
Her roots in the world of fashion run deep. After studying sociology at UCSB, Scott attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, and remained in the city working for various showrooms and companies such as Intermix on Fifth Avenue (which was subsequently bought out by Gap). She spoke of her time in the Vogue fashion closet and exploring the corporate world while hanging up new shipments, followed by her dog Riley — a frequenter of the establishment who walks each customer out the door.
Without any one impetus, Scott returned to Santa Barbara in 2007 and almost immediately had set up her first business. “I was over working for a corporate fashion company, and wanted to do my own thing,” she said. She was reunited with her family and friends, and still kept in mind the void in the market she saw here from the time she was in high school.
All of the merchandise in the store is to her taste and she has not seen a significant change in street style here in Isla Vista over the years. Scott emphasizes that she does all of her own buying for Miss Behavin’, keeping tabs on trends she sees over the years in the area.
“Despite the age difference, I don’t buy anything I don’t personally like,” she said. Besides remaining loyal to several core designers, Scott explores other options in the area and picks up on trends and what girls seem to enjoy wearing.
She also frequents fashion blogs, magazines and trade shows. Her current project is the store website, shopmissbehavin.com, which will launch this week. Customers will be able to shop online and have their purchases shipped to them.
The aesthetic of Miss Behavin’ has remained remarkably constant in the near decade it has been open. She employs four students and makes a point to keep her prices relatively reasonable, considering her student customer base. Scott makes sure to keep a constant flow of new products, and she alters what she offers based on local events to ensure her business is successful.
“I’m on the school schedule along with you guys, and I cater to what’s going on,” she said. “I had to learn that. I didn’t know that at the beginning. My first year I geared up for an intense holiday shopping season but it was a ghost town!”
The main events that Isla Vista residents seek her for include Halloween, Deltopia and music festivals. Scott has become adept at varying her merchandise accordingly. As I sat on the couch in the store, Riley curled up on my lap and Lana Del Rey crooned in the background while Scott helped one customer find shorts to wear to Coachella.
“Fashion trends come and go, but the customers continue looking for the same kind of thing, and have the same sweet disposition,” she said. Scott has seen Isla Vista grow and build up over the years, and is able to watch the antics of residents from her second-story window. “I avoid the crazy stuff with my hours,” she said. “But I dress people for the chaos.”
Miss Behavin’ is located at 6651 Trigo Road upstairs in Suite #6.