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At the eclectic, couture boutique Paris Montana in Red Lodge, owner Heidi Martincic believes feeling good about yourself on the outside often inspires emotional well-being.

With a degree in journalism and many years in the corporate world, Martincic was a successful business woman but it took a significant change in her life to inspire her to follow her dreams.

“My life turned into a bad country western song – my husband left me, my dog died and the market crashed,” she said.

It was a chance encounter with a French jewelry designer while on a cruise ship that inspired Martincic to begin making her own necklaces.

“I saw what this designer had done and I knew I could do it and my Montana roots kicked in. I sold my Mercedes – everything I had – and started from the ground up,” Martincic said.

Martincic wasted no time. She immediately started attending large-scale fashion and jewelry shows, learning the tricks-of-the-trade from the best in the business. Before she knew it, she was making a name for herself in the industry and affectionately called “The Western Betsy Johnson.”

Born and raised in Montana, Martincic chose Red Lodge as her landing spot for Paris Montana. The small-town community appeal blended with the artistic and contemporary vibe of Red Lodge was the perfect fit. Now, she owns one of the only authentic western couture boutiques in the region.

“My goal for every woman that walks through my doors is to help them feel amazing in their own skin,” said Martincic.

Martincic designs and creates much of the clothing in her boutique including best sellers like the lace and leather chaps and the custom Tumbleweed Skirt. Martincic’s designs appeal to all ages and sizes of women. In fact, Paris Montana sees shoppers closer to age 40 and over – renegade women against societal norms, refusing to fit a mold.

“I decided as I aged I was not going to go quietly. I was not going to cut my hair. I wasn’t going to wear clothes that I didn’t feel fabulous in. I was going to ignore what I was supposed to do – I was going to be fierce and feel sexy,” said Martincic.

Martincic’s style encapsulates the rugged feel of western flair in each couture design she creates. From tulle bustle skirts that she hand-pigments herself to layers of pearls paired with dirty boots and a vintage hat, the shop stands out among the rest.

Paris Montana has a realistic approach to women’s curves and needs. Sizes range to fit and flatter all women.

“It doesn’t matter if you are a size 2 or 22 – I want women to feel beautiful in what they are wearing and not just wear what is the least-worst on them,” said Martincic.

For the many women who walk into Paris Montana afraid of what to expect, they leave with a handmade Tumbleweed Skirt, a sense of self-worth and appreciation for the positive experience.

“A lot of customers are afraid to wear the skirts because they will ruin them. I say, wear it everywhere and marinate it in your life. Get dirt on it, spill wine on it, be wild in it – it only adds to it,” Martincic said.

Paris Montana is also affiliated with a sister boutique in the same building, Moo Country. The two shops, owned and operated by women, encourage customers to find personal empowerment. Oftentimes, emotional restoration begins with an external makeover – or, at least a really fabulous bustle skirt.

For more information, call (406) 446-1084 or visit shopparismontana.com or check out their Facebook page.

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Senior Editor for Special Sections

Senior Editor for Special Sections at The Billings Gazette.