The new Juicy Couture Boutique on Oak Street opened this week and it is really beautiful! The space is cheerful and bright – with huge glass vases filled with colorful candy …and eye candy clothing.
I had the opportunity to meet and talk to Juicy co-founder, Gela Nash-Taylor.
"Take a look around!" was the first thing she told me. I was escorted upstairs where there were well-stocked walls of the famous track suits folded on shelves that seemed to hit the ceiling. For this season, they were in brightly colored soft baby terry. T-shirts, shoes, handbags are all arranged so you can easily put together an outfit, without getting overwhelmed. Gela explained that this was by design. There are little conversation areas all over the shop. "Have a seat…chairs are important," she said. You can spend some time with your friends and have fun. You can relax here!" That, too, is done by design.
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On the main floor there was a rack of the new Couture Couture Line, with which I was very impressed. Gela held up a pair of fluid black lightweight wool trousers, with a double set of gold buttons. "I have to get these," she told her staff. Dressed in a beautifully fitted spring Juicy Couture Couture suit, her tiny size 0 frame would look great in these trousers. I loved a beige patent 3/4 double breasted coat, $1800 in this line. Very Jacqui O…with an edge. For a couture line, these prices are reasonable and the shapes are classic perfectly tailored and collectible.
On the main floor my favorites are the double breasted jackets and trenches in classic colors like navy, deep red, green and tan. They were extra cute for some reason, and I think the buttons, tucks and and the piping made them special. Offered in a variety of cuts, from short and cropped, to hip length, to 3/4, and priced from $298.
The jewelry is really fun. The charm bracelets and interesting charms are a big seller, but I was liking the bracelets without the charms! And loving a very on-trend statement necklace that had what appeared to be colorful Bakelite pieces. ($228)
There were a wide variety of jeans, cute cotton dresses, everything looked so comfortable.
SCS: How have you dealt with knock-offs?
Gela: We really aren’t too concerned with knock-offs, we don’t look over our shoulders all of the time. I think there is a limit to where it can be a problem.
SCS: Even with the track suits, you can get something like it everywhere, but I think that women still want an "Authentic Juicy."
Gela: That’s just it. Knock offs are just not the same.
SCS: I’m seeing clothing that is classic, almost vintage inspired, but everything looks comfortable.
Gela: Our look is totally fun and classic. We love stuff. The clothes need to be comfortable. That is the LA Style. Our clothes basically are things that we like.
SCS: How do you stay focused on your brand as you keep expanding?
Gela: Pam and I "touch" everything. We have great people working for us and to stay on top of everything and we need to touch everything.
SCS: As a native Chicagoan, I think of Juicy and I do think it is so "LA". It may be part of the appeal for Chicagoans, but have you tailored your new stores to the midwest market in any different way, since we are a bit more conservative?
Gela: Nothing is different. It is the same in every store. There may be different colors that sell more, or different sizes that we need to stock.
SCS: What was the best advice that anyone ever gave you?
Gela: It was actually my dad’s advice. When we started our business, and everthing was crazy. People kept calling with different problems and I was freaking out. He told me "That is your job, to solve problems." And after that, things were much easier. And one more good bit of advice. "Trust your own style."
I’ll trust my own style and get back to Juicy Couture!