HUFFINGTON POST -- In a world filled with discount websites peddling mass-imported fashion, 9th&Elm stands out ... way out. Its tagline, “Handmade, Independent or Otherwise Cool,” is the guiding principle behind everything it does. Imagine having a fashion-forward BFF who spends her time searching Etsy for the coolest items, handpicking her favorites, and then negotiates a discount for the rest of her friends. That’s the vibe behind 9th&Elm, which makes it a refreshing alternative to many more mainstream shopping sites. 9th&Elm is the brainchild of Elly and Clay Bethune, husband-and-wife owners of brick-and-mortar, Missouri-based retailer Elly’s Couture. After graduating from San Francisco State University with a degree in Journalism and an emphasis in fashion, Elly launched the eponymous boutique in her hometown and quickly became a local favorite among Columbia’s college crowd, earning a reputation for finding and curating products from exciting, up-and-coming designers.