Ever walk into a plus size clothing store and wish it existed in your hometown? One of those places you frequent when you are in the mood to “treat yourself to a little retail therapy” every so often. I mean, the Internet is nice for ordering, but the whole shopping experience needs a makeover. Nothing beats going into a physical shop and talking to the shopkeeper, trying anything and everything on to make sure it fits and walking out with a shopping bag full of some fabulous finds. Am I old school? You bet, that still gives me a rush. I can’t help it. It’s part of being a woman and loving to S-H-O-P!!! That’s why when I walked into the Bodacious Boutique I felt excited, jazzed, psyched – even a tad sexy….!! Nothing gets me going more than a wonderfully merchandised display, with the whole top to bottom look done the way you’d wear it in totality. Right down to the fabulous accessories. You know how a store does that? The windows entice you and the clothing delivers! You see the entire ensemble and you just have to have it! That’s the Bodacious experience from the moment you walk in the door.
Over the holiday season while visiting my sister who now lives in Dallas, I decided to make a long overdue excursion to the Bodacious Boutique. I had met the owner over the phone, Paula Guthrie, through my introductions to the new line of clothing X-Two out of the Netherlands. I wrote several blogs for DVD and the company’s reaction was so overwhelming and positive that the execs suggested I contact Paula who does very well in the U.S. selling the line in her store. To know Dallas is to know that a word like “bodacious” is part of their everyday vernacular. Just say it with a Southern drawl and you’ll see how utterly appropriate and charming a descriptive term it is for her shop. By definition it means “outrageously uninhibited”. So you get the gist. From the moment you step through the door, you are spellbound. Her staff are so on point, you feel they know you just from your voice when you called before arriving. I was instantly impressed with the whole look of the store and immediately started assessing and analyzing the assortment to my joy and delight.
Paula herself is knowledgeable, passionate and personable and instantly knowable. Like your best girlfriend or trusted confidante, she talks about her life, her boutique business and any topic on the radar with wit and wisdom and she goes the extra mile on every single thing. “If your sister can’t bring you here, I will pick you up, just call me,” she stated matter-of-factly. She genuinely wanted to meet me and have me see her store. She is proud of her place and it shows. Her background is in sales and she has the customer’s needs at the forefront of her mind at all times. Whoa…she had me at HELLO!
The square footage of the store itself is something I, as a diehard, spatially challenged New Yorker, can’t ever get over. So much space in these stores, and that enables there to be so much more variety and brands galore. I may have only recognized the names of 25% of her selection! She makes it a point to not carry what the big retailers carry. She wants to be that destination that is unique and different. That’s how new and different the clothing on the racks were. From casual to cocktail, funky to fabulous, she carries a little something for everyone, no matter your age or style. And the store is her online warehouse. She sells directly out of the store to her online customers, so her clients are from everywhere! While I was there I met a delightful customer who was edgy and creative, an artist and sculptor, who makes amazing statutes of angels, hearts and crosses. Her name was Janice Redford and I instantly fell in love with her designs and even thought I would commission her to do the awards for a show I have on the horizon.
So not only did I fall in love with the store, her staff, but I fell in love with her customers who know who they are and what they want. They zip in for a little retail therapy and are never disappointed. And Paula scours the racks right alongside them quizzing them and making suggestions. That’s what the plus size customer needs — attention and information. Even my sisters who had tagged along with me that day both bought something. Paula, of course, had to share her latest discovery: Sleevey Wonders. These little arm sleeves that are attached to a shrug can be worn to the front with a deep V or turned around to the back that has a rounded jewel collar so you wear it the way you would a shell to fill in the cleavage area. My sister scooped up a pair of Sleevey Wonders in black lace!! And my other size 4 sister bought a beautiful shawl! We posed as a foursome shot with me in my little jacket I found on sale for $49!! Amazing clearance rack, too!
Paula and I talked about how a franchise of the Bodacious Boutique is so needed in the plus size retail environment right now. And Paula has the vision, the sass, savvy and aesthetic sense to pull it off. The marketplace would so benefit from at least one of these stores in every major market. It’s a goal to work towards in the future.
I happened to think to ask Paula to have her store participate in my Runway the Real Way: Innovative Integration fashion shows at the YOTEL HOTEL in NYC that I produce each Saturday. Without batting an eye, she said, “YES!” The next thing I knew I had picked out over a dozen items, which she proceeded to pack in a big box and send to my address for inclusion in the upcoming shows. That’s what I love about a store owner, seizing a promotional opportunity and running with it immediately, without hesitation. That’s the kind of participation and enthusiasm we need across the board. If you care to check out her website, please do so and she will give you a 20% discount if you type in the promo code YOTEL in the check out…
I am so thrilled when I make the effort to meet industry people in my travels and help promote them and get the word out. It was well worth the trip and certainly something you shouldn’t wait to explore, whether you are in Dallas or in your den searching the web for some new and different items to update your wardrobe. You may even just want to pick up the phone and have a heart to heart chat with dear Paula. I am sure she would love to hear from you and give you a generous heaping of time to find just the right item you’ve been searching high and low to locate. It renewed my faith in the offerings of merchandise that isn’t the same old, same old. Her sensibility and buying eye is unsurpassed. The models in the YOTEL lineup loved the pieces I brought to showcase in the runway event. That’s the true test of style, when all the models love your stuff!! Keep up the great work Paula, you are truly one in a million and let’s bodaciously work to get the word out there, ladies! Bodacious Boutique 972-763-0779 [email protected]