Growing up in Newfoundland, Paulette Martsolf did not envision finding a career in the fashion industry. However, what started as a hobby eventually led her to Toronto with her husband, where Martsolf studied fashion design.

From there, Martsolf developed her first line of clothing, a collection of pajamas, and picked the name Allie-Coosh, a nod to her Newfoundland upbringing that colloquially means “go to bed.”

“Even as a little girl, I absolutely loved fashion,” Martsolf said. “When we moved here, I worked for a couple of different companies, and I quickly realized that if I was going to survive in this business, I’d have to do something on my own.”

Following another work-related move with her husband, Martsolf opened Allie-Coosh’s first storefront in 1992 in Snider Plaza in Dallas.

When it first opened, Allie-Coosh manufactured nearly everything in-house to keep costs lower and to maintain quality control. Even before the business had a loyal following of customers, Martsolf said her goal was to create timeless articles of women’s clothing and jewelry that was formal yet functional and could be used as the foundation for myriad looks.

“We provided something that just wasn’t available to a woman over 50 or 60,” Martsolf said. “You have to find that nice balance of being age appropriate but still feeling like you’re feminine and beautiful.”

Word quickly spread, causing Allie-Coosh to expand its space into the storefront next door and eventually requiring Martsolf to build a backyard workshop to keep up with demand. In 2010, Martsolf added Allie-Coosh’s Richardson location to continue that growth.

“Our business was such that we really were friends with a lot of our clients,” Martsolf said.

Initially planning to use the space as a manufacturing hub, rising rents at Snider Plaza caused Allie-Coosh to move all of its operations to Richardson. The community Allie-Coosh had curated followed.

Martsolf credits Allie-Coosh’s success to hard work; commitment; and her clients, many of which come back decades later to find new pieces to match ones they previously bought. Even at the height of the pandemic, Martsolf said many Allie-Coosh customers bought items to help keep the business afloat.

“I have women that come in here and say, ‘I bought this from you 15 years ago, and it’s still my favorite thing in my closet,’” Martsolf said.

Business information:

Allie-Coosh, 521 N. Interurban St., Richardson.


Hours: Tue.-Fri. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., closed Sat.-Mon.