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Friday, July 8, 2011

Tyler House and The Art of Style

Yesterday I was at Tyler House for the Shop Local event. Jennifer Huggard is the store owner and probably one of the most respected merchants in Raleigh. Her store always is merchandised well and her employees are always helpful, and willing to give an honest opinion. I particularly like the back and forth banter that I share with Anne Suber, a longtime employee. She is born and bred here in Raleigh and knows most everyone, which always makes me giggle. She loves to name drop (in a nice way) and I never, and I mean never, know who she is talking about.

I have been working with clients at Tyler House since I started consulting almost 20 years ago. Although the clothes are generally traditional, I always find a handful of trendy items that are great to build and spruce up a wardrobe. Jennifer's store is often a surprise to many younger people who shop it and get a fabulous jacket, sweater or dress. Yesterday morning, as I expected, there was steady stream of patrons looking for last minute great buys on summer items. The store has a full blown sale going hoping to blow out the last third of spring/summer goods, as fall deliveries are beginning to trickle in.

I met several shoppers, but remember one in particular, a young bride looking for a strapless, soft pink dress for a wedding gown instead of the traditional white. Just as I would with any client, we spoke about what exactly she was looking for and what she envisioned for her special day. After giving her several ideas for stores to hit I came to the conclusion that having the dress made would be the best route, instead of spinning her wheels for a dress that isn't out there. I sent her out the door to Mulberry Silks and Fine Fabrics in the Carrboro Mall and armed her with the contact info of a few seamstresses I trust, and she left with a smile. This was a great example of a day in my life in working with clients. It is all about figuring out what works best for people’s budget and lifestyle!

My afternoon took me to finish my week helping the Independent’s Contest for ShopLocal Raleigh up at The Art of Style at Brier Creek. Kendra, the store owner, has begun to establish a great following and network of clients in their early twenties to late thirties. Her clothes are trendy, but not overly fad-like, and Kendra stocks items that if you are even remotely fashion savvy, you can pair up with basics and look fabulous. Kendra has been open maybe a year and has worked hard at doing events for charity, as she sadly lost her husband a few years ago to cancer. Her purpose is evident and her knowledge of what she wants her store to be is clear.

One of the guys shopping the store was a young professional that loves the look of the items she carries, and shops regularly. We worked together on pulling together a few looks and we sent him to try things on. Clearly, he was probably over whelmed with a group of women telling him how great he looked in several of the fitted shirts he tried on. I believe he ended up purchasing two shirts and left with a smile. While there I worked with Kendra and Chris Jones, a local jewelry artist, to pull together outfits for the Red Carpet Fashion Lounge at the Carolina Music Awards, which is happening next Sunday night at the Progress Energy Center. The Art of Style is one of the featured boutiques, and Chris is doing the jewelry for it. I love mixing items that people wouldn't normally put together to give a new twist to fashion. I was able to do just that and with Chris's fabulous necklace, we quickly were able to pick the items for the runway. I dashed out the door just in time to pick up my friends at the airport - two other fashionista's from Baltimore. They are coming into town to make their mark…more to come on that.

Overall, it was a wonderful week of working with stores for the Shop Local event and I look forward to doing it again soon!

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