A few years ago, when I first started helping clients shop, I found they often needed basics more than anything else, so we would end up at department stores and nicer chains like Macy’s, Nordstrom, LOFT, Banana Republic and JCrew. Stores like these are so great for basics; they have a large selection of items and really good finds on the sales rack. But I also want to fulfill my client's wishes and add some zha-zhing to their wardrobes as well as introduce them to a shop they've never been to before. So I started taking them to boutiques. Depending on needs, we're typically able to knock out basics fairly quickly and then hit a boutique to get some unique pieces. I've been scouring the internet and found a bunch of creative ways to find boutiques, so I thought I'd share my tricks with you!
With the industry landscape moving toward entrepreneurship, there is an abundance of great little shops – both locally and nationally (I’ve found so many great ones on Instagram like this one and this one too!). I love that each boutique is different! Some are geared toward a more youthful audience, others have items for all age ranges. A lot cater to the smaller end of the size scale, but there are a growing number of stores for the average-sized woman (which, if you're curious is size 12 in the U.S.) Torrid, which has a location at Charlotte’s Premium Outlets, is a great shop for edgier pieces and Versona (quickly becoming a fave!) has a great selection in all sizes of clothing, accessories, shoes. There’s also a new boutique opening in a few weeks in Ballantyne Village specializing in sizes 12 and up! Anthropologie has amazing pieces, sourced from all over and are in malls nationally. Other boutique franchises, like Francesca's are following suit and now have locations inside malls.
Some of my local favorites are: Bevello, KLa, Cheeky Bean, KKBloom, Lavender, Luxe Angel, Pink Hanger, Doll, Copper Penny and Impeccable Pig. OH! And I almost forgot Charlotte’s newest gem: the GW Boutique! This is Goodwill's boutique - I went to their grand opening (and really need to go back!) and found some really great name brand items for a steal.
1. Sign up for local emails that do the work for you - scoopcharlotte.com does a great job of this They are an online publication that sends emails with all kinds of fun stories twice a week as well as links to what’s hot in the local boutiques they work with. They’re motto is “what a girl needs to know this week” and I completely agree. (disclaimer: I may be a little partial, I'm a contributor!).Check out a couple of my DIY articles here, here, here and here!
2. Look online first. Whether you find them via Instagram, Etsy or just by searching "boutiques" online, one way to see if a boutique fits your style is to look at their items online. You can get a feel for the store’s items, read their story and oftentimes see what the store looks like by the pictures they’ve posted. Try searching these hashtags on Instagram: #shopsmall #shoplocal #boutique One note to be aware of: don't take cues from the age of (most of) the models; they are typically either store employees or local models and much younger than what is actually in the store. I'm a firm believer that in each boutique there are age-appropriate items for just about everyone. And I say that as an *ahem* more mature woman. (#nottellingbuttrustme #olderthanilook)
3. Take part in Instagram Loop Giveaways. This is a great way to find stylish bloggers and new shops. I recently found a new favorite who happens to be located in Cincinnati, where I went to college, which makes it even more special to me. ***I'll be participating in a Loop giveaway tomorrow night (9/14/16) if you would like to try one out. You can always unfollow accounts that don't fit your needs after the giveaway is over.
4.. Sites that do it for you. Shoptiques. OK, y’all…if you haven’t checked out this site, you need to. Like right now. This is one of the most brilliant ideas I’ve seen in a while – one site that allows you to browse boutiques from all over the U.S and other countries! I haven’t ordered anything from any shops on here yet, but have about 8 items sitting in my cart right now. Which, by the way, is my new strategy for trying to avoid spending extra money (because #adopting) – I put items in my cart, let them sit for a day or two, then when I go back sometimes the desire to buy isn’t as strong and I can delete them. I think this is how Dave Ramsey recommends you handle large purchases as well – give yourself 24 hrs to be sure. I’ll probably always be a shopaholic, but a girl can try, right?!
And one final, important thing to remember when shopping at (most) boutiques: you are helping a small business-owner, and oftentimes a female small business owner. I’m all about shopping local, helping another #girlboss with her dream and finding unique gems. It’s truly a win-win situation.