Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

Sonja Motley-Turman Familiar Face

Series: Familiar Faces | Story 8

January 15, 2020

Ryan Munch

Sonja Motley-Turman is a familiar face at Little Bird Boutique in Niwot where she's a sales person. She also offers her expertise through her own business, Clutter Free Closet, as a fashion stylist and closet organizer for both women and men.

Niwot's Little Bird is a symphony of good taste in every form - from art to jewelry, clothing to body care. Sonja Motley-Turman can be found amongst the treasures at Little Bird, offering customers her assistance. Her expertise in all things fashion and style won't come as a surprise to those who know her well. But for everyone else, here is some insight into Motley-Turman's life.

Left Hand Valley Courier (LHVC): Where did you grow up and what brought you to Colorado?

Sonja Motley-Turman (SMT): All over the world, I'm an army brat. I was born at Fitzsimmons Medical Center and then my father was stationed in Germany. We came back to the states and lived around, including El Paso and Ft. Monroe, VA. From there they shipped my mother, my father, and I to Bangkok. I was there as a pre-teen.

When it was time for my father to retire, he's from Missouri and my mother's family is from Colorado, so we'd be retiring in Colorado over Missouri and I've been here ever since.

LHVC: What has been your career path?

SMT: I went to art school at the Colorado Institute of Art on a full-ride scholarship to become a fashion illustrator. It's still an art, but it's not utilized by the advertising market anymore because no one wants an illustration of a dress, they want to literally see it. So I do know how to draw and I moved into graphics.

Knowing the woman's human body, fabric, and draping, it was easy to transition from illustrating it to dressing it. That's where my business, 26 years ago now, turned into personal styling and closet organizing and doing things to help women dress well and easily, to find who they are and not flow from one trend to another, to embrace what they love and dress even better. That company is called Clutter Free Closet. I also rep a custom men's clothing line, J. Hilburn.

LHVC:: How did you and the owner of Little Bird, Liz Gould, get to know each other?

SMT: Liz and I worked together at a clothing company - Carousel and Scott's Ltd. - in Boulder where she was the buyer and I was the advertising director. We met 30 years ago, became friends, and stayed in contact. We were also reps together at the Denver Merchandise Mart for 14 lines of clothing. I've always sprinkled a little bit of retail in my work because I don't have clients or a closet to organize every day. In between my own work, it's a pleasure and an honor to work in Liz's creation. With a lot of guidance on Liz's part, I created the Little Bird logo.

LHVC:: Tell us a bit about your family.

SMT:I'm an only child, so I'm a brat. I lost my mom last year; she was 92 and my best friend. It was a doozy, she was an unbelievable woman. Dad was a trickster and what we called Jackie Gleason. When he walked in the room, he made a presence. He was jovial, he was loud, he was 100% of everything. He was the best man in the world. When he passed away, my mom and I were amazed at the preparations he'd made to take care of us. My life and childhood, in the wide scope of things, was angelic.

Kenneth is my second husband and he's amazing - so kind. He's the guy who cleans your car off and fills the gas before you get up. We've been together for six years and got married last year.

I was challenged after my divorce. A girlfriend said to me, 'Gee your hair looks great today. What are you going to do about it? Are you going to sit here in your chair with your Earl Gray tea and your croissant and your cat Zelda in your lap and watch Downton Abbey for the rest of your life?' She said I needed to get online and told me the right thing - 'It's like shopping.' I found Kenneth and I put him in my basket. Our first meeting lasted three and a half hours and he said some key things that let me know we could have a second date.

We have two fur-babies, Bandit the golden retriever, and Zelda the cat.

LHVC: What passions do you have?

SMT: I love music. I love movies. My husband and I love to travel and I love to eat good food and try new restaurants.

LHVC: Are there ways in which you connect with the community?

SMT:I have a lot of clients who utilize me to speak to women's groups and for silent auctions. Anything that's woman-based, my time is given to them free of charge.

LHVC: What would people be surprised to know about you?

SMT: I grew up, from my teens to my early twenties, fundamentally religious. I chose that life. It was pretty regimented and pretty beneficial. It's given me options, it's given me patience, it's tempered me like an old pan. I grew out of it and started to live, but that restriction let me know I could do it.

To learn more about Sonja Motley-Turman's business, visit ClutterFreeCloset.net.


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