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Archive for May, 2011

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Following the Flynn

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Truth be told, Anne M Cramer has been over her bold striped Flynn skirt for sometime. Maybe not over, so much as overloaded with requests for re-orders and magazine mentions (a good problem for an emerging fashion designer from Minneapolis to have, no doubt). So how does a designer follow up a smash hit as iconic as the Flynn? Cramer found just the way to build on her sensation and keep it fresh: With a full length striped Flynn dress, and an understated solid camelhair wool skirt in the same flattering A-line silhouette. Anne M Cramers Fall 2011 collection debuts today on her website for pre-fall orders (expect to see it soon in local boutiques like Melly at Galleria). The collection also includes a cashmere cardigan in eight colors and a silk top in gold and sterling.

Grand Frames

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Little Bean Photography has opened Grand Frames next to its Excelsior Boulevard studio in St. Louis Park, offering custom framing services, as well as grab and go picture frames by Jonathan Adler, gifts including Alora Ambiance scent diffusers and stationery. Owner and photographer Elissa Kadue got frustrated not being able to find frames befitting her irresistible photos of babies and tots. She went out and found colorful acrylics, polka dots and stripes, painted frames and finishes ranging from shabby chic to modern. In all, there are hundreds of framing options. (Don’t feel like you have to have your picture taken first; Grand Frames is up for any job).

Once she opened the door to retail, it only made sense to add complimentary categories like note cards and candles. Baby gifts are on the way, along with more picture frames. Even with the inventory a bit light, I have high hopes for this smart little shop. One look at the photos on the walls proves that Kadue has a great eye. 4617 Excelsior Blvd., St. Louis Park, 952-303-3411

Bibelot Helps Tornado Victims

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Bibelot will donate 5 percent of gross sales from Friday, May 27 to Sunday, May 29 to to help those impacted by the North Minneapolis tornado last weekend. Another reason to shop local.


Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Elmo and the gang have gone eco! Just spotted Sesame Street Envirosax reusable bags at Fleurish, which has a fantastic new storefront on Lake Street in Wayzata. The bags – lightweight, durable and compact – sell for $10 each and will be perfect for hauling my little monsters’ gear (they don’t go anywhere with out 10 books, stuffed animals, snacks and yo-yos).  You can also buy a set of them here for $39.95 – makes a darling gift.

Speaking of gifts, Fleurish has plenty of clever ideas for end-of-the-year teacher gifts, like chic reusable lunch bags, cute totes, polka dot water bottles, and many other smart ideas for $20 to $30. Fleurish, 701 E. Lake St., Wayzata, 952-476-2296

Changes at Parc Boutique

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Men, you had your chance. Parc Boutique tried offering you something other than a chair to sit in while your girlfriends and spouses shopped. Owner Thao Nguyen wanted to help you look cool for the weekend in premium denim, Ben Sherman shirts and Alternative Apparel tees. But you didn’t buy enough – and interestingly, your gals were too busy shopping for themselves to worry about outfitting you, despite the convenience. Women will shop wherever there is stuff to buy. Men won’t bother – even if it’s right in front of them and they’re bored, waiting for you to decide if you look fat in those jeans. When they finally do muster up the energy to shop, guys tend to go somewhere that has everything they need, rather than a women’s boutique where they might find one shirt. So, like many women’s boutique owners who tried it before her, Nguyen is discontinuing men’s apparel. Everything remaining is now 50 percent off.

As one department closes, another opens: Getting men’s out of the way will give Parc Boutique space to add handbags and shoes. Like the apparel, expect smaller, contemporary lines, priced under $100. The goods will arrive in August!

Booster at Creative Kidstuff

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011
Creative Kidstuff stores will unveil a new department Tuesday, May 24 that goes beyond toys. Booster is aimed at the rest of the family – teens, parents, even grandparents – with a mix of function and fun at a variety of price points. Official tagline: “Booster – An ever evolving collection of tools and treasures to amp up everyday life.” The theme will change every 60 days. First up: Country Fair Flair. You’ll find pick-n-pack soda pop, aprons, hammocks and mason jars with illuminated tops.  Creative Kidstuff has been scouring markets around the world for months to bring in fresh ideas.

Three Must Have Summer Accessories

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Quick! Name the top three fashion accessories for summer! We fired that question at StyledLife owner Kevin Quinn without warning on live radio Saturday, and he was ready with fantastic advice. Of course you can listen to the Shop Girls interview, but here are the highlights – top down:

1. Hats. They’re not just for bad hair days anymore. The wide brimmed hat is a major statement, but think beyond thebeach. It’s okay to wear a hat indoors. It’s okay to wear a hat – period. Fedoras are fun, even if you’re not Justin Timberlake.

2. Long earrings. Don’t save them  for evening. They’re sexy, flattering and instantly finish a look. Think about it – ifyou’re not wearing a necklace or earrings, it looks like you didn’t try. Pop on the earrings and voila – you’re dressed, and suddenly the bare decolletage seems intentional. Earrings need not “match” the rest of your jewelry – in fact, it’s better if they don’t.

3. Cuffs. Wrists remain the focal point for accessorizing and become the place to really show some personality. So keep stacking those bracelets. Mix colors, textures, finishes.

Still unsure? March into the store and ask for Kevin (or Tim or Allison – the expertise runs deep). Take advantage of theexperts running our local boutiques!

Glamorama 2011

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Great get! Grammy Award winner and current hit maker Bruno Mars will headline Macy’s Glamorama on August 5 at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis. Electro-pop quartet Far East Movement of “Like a G6″ fame, will also perform. And for the first time in years, it’s those fussy 20somethings who are most excited about the show. While Glamorama has certainly featured big names in the past, it’s often artists past their prime, rather than on the rise like this year’s headliners. A smart investment for a department store eager to reconnect with young shoppers.

“ARTRAGEOUS” is the theme for the 20th annual fashion fundraiser to benefit Children’s Cancer Research Fund. Featured designers will include Jean Paul Gaultier, Marc Jacobs and Sonia Rykiel, and as always, the show will be followed by a party in Macy’s 8th floor auditorium and on the rooftop. Tickets for the show only are $60; show and after party admission starts at $175. To order, call 952-893-9355 or click here.

Calling MN Designers

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Maiden Minnesota – the can’t miss local shopping event that kicks off the holiday season – is now taking applications for this year’s event on Nov. 3 at the Graves 601 Hotel. Yes, you do have to pay to apply and to participate, but it gets your goods – jewelry, beauty, fashion and the like – in front of an influential crowd of women, who are there to buy. I often marvel at the way women stockpile necklaces and socks, soaps and handbags, as if they haven’t seen a store in months – and actually, many probably haven’t with their work/life juggle.

Only a few dozen vendors get in each year. I asked co-founder Jennifer Stack for some hints on what Maiden is looking for: “We want women to feel like they are shopping for items you’d find in a beautiful boutique your friend may have told you about. We also always love to introduce products or discoveries to the Twin Cities.” So if your product is new or somehow unique – don’t be shy about noting it!

Click here for the Maiden Minnesota application.

Another Twin Cities Hot Mama

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Hot Mama is hitting Woodbury. The fast growing Edina-based chain (yep, I think it’s officially time to call it a chain) will open its eighth Twin Cities store – fifth new location this year – at Woodbury Lakes. In six years, Hot Mama has grown to 19 stores in seven states – with three under construction and plans to open another 18 stores in the next two years. The magical formula: casual contemporary clothing and premium denim for moms in a manageable boutique setting.

Hot Mama now employs 250. Even as it becomes a national retailer, it hasn’t become sterile. The focus seems sharper than ever. From Wayzata to West End to Edina, I’ve been impressed recently by the appealing mix of basics and trend pieces at reasonable price points. But what makes it memorable is the attentive service – both getting me what I want, and watching my kid so I can actually try it on. I’ve never known Hot Mama to run out of animal crackers.

In a recent survey, Hot Mama found that half its customers were in their 30s and 40 percent were 40 or older. Founder Megan Tamte is her own best customer: “I need clothes that are quick and easy to wear, that can take me from a board meeting to my son’s baseball game, to a date night with my husband.”

So simple, really. Why didn’t we think of it?

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