Years ago, a friend had a birthday and her family threw her a surprise party. This is a woman I’ve always had the hardest time shopping for – she leans toward unique, one-of-a-kind items and decor and her tastes are always a little eclectic and a lot of fun. I called a mutual friend for some ideas and she told me something I haven’t forgotten to this day: there are two types of presents. One that means something to the receiver because it reflects what they love. The other means something to them because it reflects what you love. Eighteen years ago, Diane Silverstein walked into an impulse buy like no other. (i.e. not your regular gift purchase) She came home with the deed to a retail space that would become Absolutely Fabulous – a supremely unique gift and decor destination that has evolved into a Surf City staple that folks from every corner of Orange County flock to for every milestone that calls for an extra special gift.
A recognized retail maven, Diane actually started her career as a registered nurse, practicing medicine for 34 years. A specialist in spinal cord injuries, she worked tirelessly to get her patients the care they needed. Now she is working to overcome some of her own personal health challenges, creating fun, happy spaces in the shop, and winning awards along the way.
Her eye for curating the most incredible selection of home accent offerings and unique gifts make it easy to find the perfect item without making a million stops or needlessly scouring the vast black hole of the internet. To surprise others with such a selection, you have to have a specific passion for hunting down curious items others might have passed over, or never looked for in the first place.
The variety and uniqueness of products at Absolutely Fabulous is astounding: hand-made jewelry, Miche Bag purses (the ones where you just drop the “insides” of your purse into a new shell, rather than having to dump all of your stuff out!), $10 silk scarves, old-school shaving kits for men, a “Daddy’s Tool Bag” that includes diaper changing equipment, and instructional DVD, face mask and other funny items, rare paintings by successful artists, large crystal chandeliers, crystal perfume bottles, stuffed animal baby bottle covers, piggy banks for kids, “dorm survival kits” for new students, wedding party gifts, rare Disney art and collectibles, seasonal decor and gifts, Christmas decorations that range from very inexpensive bottle stoppers and tree decorations to 6-foot high collectible Santa dolls. Absolutely really does cover the gamut of gifts for anyone: “from birth to death and everything in-between is our moniker” Diane proudly states. I tend to agree.
Let’s see what other people have had to say about Absolutely Fabulous (we checked their reviews): “nicest ladies who took terrific care of me,” “Love this store. It’s amazing and wonderful to shop in.” The raves go on and on. Absolutely Fabulous is not only a local treasure, however, they have been awarded multiple national awards for her visual merchandising (did I mention that they have the best windows in the country – an honor repeatedly bestowed upon them by industry publications) and marketing. Diane was even flown to the United Kingdom by Gifts and Decorative Accessories Magazine (the leading magazine in the gift industry), put up in a hotel, and honored with the title of “VIP buyer.” “I guess they just like the selections I’ve made over the years,” Diane humbly responds when I ask why they chose her for this honor.
Diane’s love for the store is reflected back by the community: this is the place locals love to shop and folks from out of town make sure to stop. Since that birthday when I struggled to find something for hard-to-shop-for friend, I’ve heard another saying: “it’s not the gift, it’s the giver.” Diane is a little bit of both.