Cosa Boutique opened in Fitchburg on Sunday, Sept. 8, in memory of one of owner Amanda Houdek’s former pediatric clients, named Jocosa.

Houdek, also the founder and owner of CI Pediatric Therapy Centers, reminisced about the patient, who died before she could know the boutique would be named after her.

Jocosa was nonverbal and couldn’t walk, but “had a definite spark inside of her that touched all the people she worked with,” Houdek told the Star.

“She had a profound impact on my life,” Houdek added.

While Cosa Boutique mainly sells women’s apparel and gifts, its business model also encompasses a future program that would focus on job training for people like Houdek’s patients. She said they would benefit from the avenues the program would create, helping participants become more independent through “meaningful employment.” That program will come about at the beginning of next year, Houdek said.

Though Cosa Boutique’s employees all are volunteers – other than manager Michelle Perkins – the business eventually will hire people from within the program, Houdek said.

She said that is one part of the Cosa Boutique business motto – as depicted on a sign with neon lettering that reads “Look Good, Do Good,” inside a frame adorned above a trendy couch and coffee table setting.

Houdek said Cosa Boutique doesn’t just sell clothes and accessories, but also a lifestyle of doing good in your community and looking stylish at the same time.

She said shopping at the boutique offers many perks – besides Saturday morning mimosas and private shopping events – including helping to support local charities with a portion of sales. Last month, Cosa Boutique donated to the Madison Area Down Syndrome Society.

And starting Friday, Nov. 1, the business is supporting Gios Garden in Middleton, an organization to “nurture and strengthen families with children with special needs,” its website states.

Charity aside, Houdek and Perkins both said Cosa Boutique exists to dress people from all walks of life – to encourage them to try styles and outfits that allow them to step out of their comfort zone. The manager and owner both said they view fashion as more than clothes, but as an art form their clients use to express themselves – whether they are edgy, trendy or just like “functional fashion.”

A lot of Cosa Boutique’s pieces are on the higher end, but still affordable, Houdek said, from cozy pajamas to long and flowing pea coats to handcrafted hidden gems, jewelry, home goods and knick knacks.

Houdek said potential customers should consider shopping at Cosa Boutique because it’s a “woman-owned and woman supported business” with a family-friendly, comfortable atmosphere. They will be welcomed by an open ceiling, cement flooring and tables with garments and bags neatly laid out on each surface.

Clients can book appointments on Sundays and Mondays for more private shopping experiences, where Houdek, Perkins or other employees will provide different styling options for them. They ask them what they feel best in, and sometimes provide items that encourage the client to try something new.

Houdek said she wants clients to feel as if they are stepping out of Wisconsin for a second, and perhaps into space they would find in a big city, like Chicago.

Potential clients can request such appointments via the Cosa Boutique Instagram, Facebook page or through its website at cosaboutique.com.

Email Emilie Heidemann at emilie.heidemann@wcinet.com or follow her on Twitter at @HeidemannEmilie.