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Ali Shops Blog

Posts Tagged ‘ladyslipper’

Coming to 50th

Friday, April 9th, 2010

Continuing their bid for Total Domination of 50th & France, one of the partners behind Bluebird Boutique and Ladyslipper plans to open a store for men in half of the former Pull Out a Plum space at 4946 France Ave. S. in Edina. Sacha Martin tells me she and her boyfriend plan to open BLUEPEG in August.

50th and France is having a moment

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

Recently I asked one of the owners of Bluebird Boutique how she felt about the arrival of Bumbershute, which could be perceived as competition for the designer dollar. "Great," she said, and I’m inclined to believe her logic – "now her Wayzata customers have reason to shop at 50th and France. The more the merrier." Indeed, power in numbers was on the mind of Bumbershute owner Kathryn Paulsrud when she made the big move. She figured 50th is more of a regional draw. And becoming more so every day. Nani Nalu made the move from Ridgedale Center to 50th. Priscilla of Boston, like Monique Lhuillier, picked it for its first Twin Cities store. And the latest announcement: St. Paul destination boutique Stephanie’s will open a second store at 50th in August – the same month the Bluebird girls will debut their accessories store, Ladyslipper Boutique. 50th has always been a distinguished address, but lately, there’s an undeniable energy as the shopping district proves itself to be the destination for boutique shopping in the Twin Cities with a well rounded mix of styles and price points (plus great places to eat and drink). If you want to impress your out-of-town fashionista friends, there’s no question where to take them.

Clutch closing

Monday, May 12th, 2008

Can’t say it’s a surprise.
Clutch Boutique at 50th and France will close at the end of the month. The polished handbags that not enough women could justify at full price are now 30 percent off. Owner Lori Cheadle said she simply reached the breaking point. Holiday sales were underwhelming and the last four months have been slow, which she attributes, in part, to bad weather. But long before the holidays and the dreary spring, there was an obvious sign of trouble: no customers. Almost every time I passed the boutique, it was empty.
And that was not for lack of publicity. I wrote about Clutch several times because when it opened, it was the only boutique in town specializing in high-end handbags from little-known, up and coming lines. I’m always thrilled when an independent retailer raises the bar for Twin Cities shopping. Unfortunately, this one raised it a bit too high. I never made a purchase at Clutch. I can’t afford $500 or $600 for a bag.
And yet, a lot of shoppers apparently can. Survey after survey shows that women will invest hundreds in handbags – just look at the shelves at Nordstrom and Neimans and Coach, which seems like a veritable bargain, compared to the $2,000 designer bags celebs carry. Expensive bags do sell. So why didn’t they sell at Clutch?
Cheadle thought we were ready to go a step beyond Coach and Louis Vuitton – to spend on a bag that wasn’t covered in designer logos, that wasn’t the same bag everyone else was carrying. She underestimated the importance shoppers place on big name brands, but I think she also sold herself short by remaining so focused on really, really expensive bags instead of diversifying a bit. She’s got a great eye – I’ve got to think she could have found a couple of lines in the $100-$200 range, which would have inspired me to browse more often. But it’s more than that. Compare Clutch to StyledLife, which hits the same prices and sells some of the same brands. The store experience is night and day. Clutch looked lovely, but felt a bit empty and quiet. At StyledLife, happy music is always pumping (and for sale a the music bar). Owner Kevin Quinn and his employees are eager to assist. The store feels more three dimensional, with table after table of things to touch. So when a shopper realizes the bags are almost all beyond budget, she can console herself with a belt, a cuff bracelet, a scarf.
Finding that perfect balance to make merchandising magic is no easy feat. It’s sad to see Clutch go.
Of course, it’s always on to the next store. And at 50th, that will be Ladyslipper Boutique, opening Aug. 1 in the former Spirit Kids, 4940 France Ave. Owned by the stylish duo behind Bluebird Boutique, which successfully sells pricey bags and shoes, the new accessories shop will expand on their casual, contemporary look with Frye boots, Dolce Vita and Botkier bags, cool watches, jewelry and more. The owners, who just returned from a buying trip, plan to keep prices under $400.
Let’s hope they stick to that.


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