Caroline Rooney has built a successful career helping clients find wardrobe pieces that make them look and feel their most confident. She’s now opening a beautiful neighborhood shop called Kingfisher, where she creates a highly-curated experience in the buzzy neighborhood of Condesa in Mexico City.
What brought you to Mexico City?
I moved to Mexico City three years ago, after stints in San Francisco and New York (though I’m originally from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan). My husband and I moved to Mexico City to be closer to family (he grew up in Mexico City, and we met at the University of Michigan 14 years ago). We were spending more and more time visiting and fell in love with the big chaotic city vibe mixed with incredible art, culinary, and design scenes. We love being in a big city, while still being able to walk to local boutiques and cafés…and after years in Michigan, New York & San Francisco, we love the weather!
What is your philosophy when working with clients?
As a stylist it’s really important that I’m helping my clients find pieces that they love. It’s not about me and what I like! My job is to guide them towards well-made, well-fitting items that complement their personal style, and help them to look and feel their most confident.
I’m known for my process of helping clients create wardrobes built around elevated basics – investing in high quality pieces that will flatter their body type and have longevity in their closets. I don’t believe in buying something just because it’s cool or because it’s a certain designer or brand. My clients come to me for timeless, beautiful, products and I love to introduce them to brands, silhouettes, and garments that they might never have discovered on their own!
What inspired you to open your store Kingfisher, which carries home and design objects?
I’ve worked in the fashion industry since I started modeling at 14 (nearly two decades!) and I’ve had the good fortune of working in many different types of roles and organizations, and with a diverse range of customers. We tend to buy the things we need on Amazon, or other websites that deliver practical items, quickly. But when it comes to the things we want – I believe deeply in the power of walking into a beautiful space, full of beautiful things, and having a beautiful experience.
I’ve always valued the idea that small, thoughtful, unique objects with a story have the ability to enrich and beautify our lives. I hope that people will come to Kingfisher for the special items I’ve curated from around the world. I hope they stay to visit, have a coffee, and learn about a new designer or artist. A memento of your visit to this beautiful city. I see Kingfisher as a community space where you are welcome to come by, relax, and explore. If you decide to take something with you, I hope you’ll see that item as a gift – either to yourself or to someone you care about.
I think people expect me to open a clothing boutique, but I’ve always really loved home decor, gourmet, and gift items. At the shop we will have a small assortment of clothing – things I think are timeless and well-made. But aesthetically, I believe these types of things are all interconnect – that the way we dress ourselves, and our homes, the items we buy for ourselves, and for others, can bring a lot of joy and beauty into our lives.
The goal of the shop is that the items I’ve curated aren’t trendy, and we aren’t discounting merchandise constantly to make way for the next season. In a lot of ways the big retail model is broken – for designers, for retailers, for customers. We don’t need so much stuff. I hope that you’ll come to Kingfisher and find something special. In many ways, I hope Kingfisher is a way to bring the high touch, highly-curated experience my private clients enjoy into a more publicly accessible space.
I want Kingfisher to be a neighborhood shop – somewhere you’d pop in for a last minute hostess gift or a birthday gift. I really value creating a local space for my community where you can just pop in and know you can quickly find something thoughtful, wrapped beautifully.
Has your style changed since moving to Mexico City and becoming a mom?
I have always loved structured pieces, and unique pieces that tell a story. Since moving to Mexico City, I’ve shifted away from wearing mostly black (old habits die hard from my New York fashion days!), and started to lean on more neutrals. I love white, cream, tans, and camel.
Pre-COVID I wore a blazer and jeans almost every day. That is the outfit that makes me feel most pulled together, confident, and in control in a very chaotic world. Once I became a mom during the pandemic, I started swapping my trusted blazers for softer knits and paperbag waist trousers. Now that we’re finding our groove, I’m excited to start wearing some of my favorite pieces again. I love vintage chore coats, denim, tailored trousers and rich fabrics like cashmere & silk. I always tell my clients this, and firmly believe it for myself – it’s best to have a few go-to, well-made, well-tailored garments that flatter you and make you feel your most confident.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced and overcome in your career?
I remember when I left Bloomingdale’s to start my own company, so many people thought I was crazy to leave the stability and structure of a corporate job behind. Especially one that people thought of as a dream job! But for me, it wasn’t my dream job, and I knew that it wasn’t a good fit for what I wanted long term in my career. Building a business from the ground up, especially in a new market, and away from a lot of my career network, was really challenging but incredibly rewarding. I’m excited to do it again here in Mexico with the opening of Kingfisher. I feel like with every step of this career journey I’ve learned so much that I carry to the next client, project, and now… store.