Women’s clothing brand Duffield Lane opened its first boutique this summer in Gas Light Village. The 4-year-old company, which launched in 2013, sells its merchandise across the country in over 300 stores, but this is its first retail store.
Jamie Loeks Duffield, owner of Duffield Lane, said she recently decided to test out the boutique format.
“It was the next logical step,” Loeks Duffield said. “The biggest part of it was wanting to interact directly with customers.”
She added, “We’d love to roll out more retail stores.”
The Duffield Lane brand includes loungewear, resort-wear, dresses, and tops and bottoms, in “classic designs and comfortable, high quality fabrics.” All of its pieces are designed in Grand Rapids.
Many of the pieces are a preppy, nautical design, inspired by Loeks Duffield’s love for Lake Michigan and growing up around the Great Lakes.
“We name each piece and they all have Michigan names,” Loeks Duffield said. “In the summer Our best selling dress is the Mackinaw. A lot of the names are recognizable, but our collections have grown so much we have to come up with obscure Michigan places for naming them.”
Duffield Lane’s brick and mortar store carries the entire brand line as well as select pieces from other brands, including Gretchen Scott, Southern Tide, Smathers and Branson, Sunny Life, Jack Rogers, and Gigi New York.
Loeks Duffield started Duffield Lane in partnership with her husband, Ryan Duffield.
“We had this idea for classic and comfortable loungewear,” she said. “We decided to move back to Grand Rapids to start the company.”
At the time, the pair was living in Miami, where Loeks Duffield was practicing law. Originally from Grand Rapids, Loeks Duffield decided it was time to come back. She said even after her family moved to New York during her childhood, they continued to visit regularly.
“We had a place on Lake Michigan when I was growing up so I spent all of my summers in Michigan,” she said. “Michigan was always my favorite place to go in the summers. So we moved back here to start the business and it went from there.”
Her parents had also relocated back to Michigan while she was in college.
Originally, Loeks Duffield set out to create loungewear attractive enough someone wouldn’t be embarrassed to be seen in public wearing it.
“[The idea was] you didn’t’ have to be ashamed to be in your pajamas. But people were wearing them out of the house — more than we’d expected. We realized there was a demand for clothing that was very comfortable and washable, but also clean and tailored.”
Duffield Lane began expanding its product line to meet the demand. “We came up with summer dresses [first],” she said. “They were in cottons and were easy to wear, comfortable and flattering, but still a tailored look.”
She added, “Now we do five collections a year.”
The brand still offers its loungewear line. It also has a sear sucker collection in the spring, an eyelet collection in the summer, and a cashmere blend sweater collection in the fall.
Loeks Duffield said the retail store offers a “comfy atmosphere” with a “nautical and residential feel.”
“It’s very clean and bright, and an easy place to shop,” she said.
She said the hope was to create an inviting atmosphere where customers will want to spend some time, particularly since Duffield Lane plans to host different events throughout the year for its customers.
“We are going to start doing a cocktail or wine night, probably when unveiling new styles,” she said. “We will be unveiling the fall collection soon. We are also doing a sidewalk sale during Taste of East and are hoping to get the other stores to come on board for that.”
Duffield Lane is located at 2237 Wealthy Street SE, Suite 150
*Photos courtesy of Duffield Lane