The Joy of Coming Home

By Shanie Matthews | Friday, June 9, 2023

Sandra Ney, the owner and designer of the new children's clothing boutique Will & Ivey, has a special connection to Tahoe that runs deep into her family's history. Her great-grandfather started a camp in the Bijou area of South Lake called Camp Bell in 1913, and in 1939 her grandfather built a house on Carnelian Bay, which became a special place of connection for Sandra due to the unique story that the home ties together.

Sandra's grandfather was a kind-hearted man who had a tender place in his heart for children in need of a home. He was enchanted with an adorable little girl (Sandra’s mother), who had a past filled with hardship, having been abandoned by her parents, separated from her four siblings and placed into an orphanage. He adopted Sandra's mother, who was overjoyed to find a family but melancholy at the thought that she may never again see her beloved sisters and brothers. 

However, a miracle happened when a close friend of Sandra's grandfather contacted him to say that he, too, had adopted a little girl. Upon meeting, the two families were dumbfounded to find that through the amazing journey of adoption, Sandra's mother had found her sister. Many years later, all of the siblings were able to reunite in adulthood.

For Sandra, her mother and the reunited siblings, Tahoe adventures created a profound sense of togetherness and enjoyment that became an integral part of their lives. The memories of those moments spent at their summer home on Carnelian Bay became a part of their family's identity and history.

It seemed like Lake Tahoe would be a cherished part of their family forever. However, life often has its twists and turns, and despite the deep-rooted love for this place, fate had other plans in store. In 1987 Sandra's family sold their cherished family home in Lake Tahoe.

Sandra turned her focus to pursuing her passion for fashion. As the head designer for the prestigious Beverly Hills Polo Club, her world was taking her on a path far removed from Carnelian Bay. Feeling a deep connection to design, she began to create a children’s clothing line. But then fate stepped in again. When her husband was asked to move to Nashville for a job, the couple jumped at the chance to move east, putting Big Blue even farther in the rear view mirror of life. 

Soon after arriving in Nashville, Sandra realized that her children’s clothing line wasn’t gaining traction like she hoped, so she shifted her full attention to raising her four children. Then, in 2013 she was asked to help a friend with a denim clothing line, reigniting her love for designing. She found herself revisiting those same children’s designs that she had put aside all those years earlier. Nashville seemed more receptive for her children’s clothing, so she found a pattern maker in her local area and a manufacturer in Tennessee. Will & Ivey children’s clothing line was born.

While the family adored their life in Nashville, the dream of living in Lake Tahoe was continually creeping into Sandra’s consciousness. During the pandemic, she and her husband came across a property in Zephyr Cove that they couldn’t pass up. They seized the opportunity to buy their perfect home, making Sandra’s dream of calling Tahoe home a reality.

Once settled into her new Tahoe life, Sandra felt the urge to expand Will & Ivey by creating a brick-and-mortar store to showcase her designs. Life presented a kindly twist by leading her to the perfect space on Kingsbury Grade, ready to be a children’s boutique that filled a much-needed niche in Tahoe by offering high-quality children’s clothing while supporting like-minded brands, toys, books, women’s jewelry and gifts.

Through Will & Ivey Children’s Boutique, Sandra forged connections with local business owners, and her passion for supporting children in need, born through witnessing her mother’s story, was once again allowed to flourish. She began a partnership with Rescued Hearts Ranch in Nevada, which offers Care Farming, a style of therapy for children that involves caring for animals. She became a board member for the program and is looking forward to assisting in their initiative to elevate the healing of youth.

Sandra's success in Tahoe continues with the launch of Tahoe True, a clothing line that gives back to the lake by donating a portion of the proceeds to the Clean Up the Lake Foundation. This summer, she is creating her first Tahoe True festival, which will bring together other conscious creators to showcase their work and celebrate the talents of Tahoe locals.

The joy of coming home is a feeling that many of us can relate to. But for Sandra, it's more than just a feeling; it’s a deep connection to trusting God and life’s twists and turns. It’s an appreciation for Lake Tahoe and a beloved family home that started it all. And it's having gratitude for the events that led her back to Big Blue, allowing her to follow her passion for design and supporting children in need.

(775) 580-7705
292 Kingsbury Grade Road, Stateline, Nevada

About the Author Shanie Matthews
A longtime Lake Tahoe local, Shanie is a freelance writer, Vinyasa Flow yoga teacher and positivity warrior. A true lover of the the gorgeous Tahoe region, she connects with the serenity of the mountains via skiing, biking and backpacking. She also believes in the gift of yoga and its way of allowing one to become his or her true best self, a passion she shares with the world with her online yoga studio.