You’re not selfish to wish that instead of traveling all over town to your favorite boutiques, they collectively came to you.
Not selfish, but not smart either. That’ll never happen…Or could it?
Liz Haan, owner of Marie La Mode, asked herself that question and answered it as well—and it’s one big heck yeah as the first Boutiques of Grand Rapids event gives guests the opportunity to shop an unbeatable fashion lineup exhibiting the talents of 23 women-owned businesses, under one roof and for one special night.
“In Grand Rapids, boutiques are so spread out, it would be hard to shop them all in one day,” said Haan who dreamt of bringing stores together for a fashion show and shopping experience spotlighting independent styles with the help of talented women makeup artists and hair stylists.
Participating boutiques in the hour-long fashion show include DENYM, Gina’s Boutique, Marie La Mode, LA Miller Boutique, Ivy Castle, Lennon & Willow Boutique, Pink Lemonade GR, Feather and Birch, Duffield Lane and Adored Boutique. Each boutique showcases eight to 10 different looks for fall and winter with the opportunity to see the faces of the women behind each business as all owners take the runway at the end of the show.
“Lennon and Willow is right down the street from us,” said Haan. “I wanted to bring the owner’s girly boho style to the show along with her target market that’s a little bit older. We are all not in our 20s and 30s.”
Highlights include fashion institutions such as Gina’s Boutique and the nautical inspirations from Duffield Lane. Adored Boutique sells quality fashions, the majority of which comes from organizations that employ women in restorative programs after having been exploited in the sex trafficking industry. Newcomer Feather & Birch just started a clothing boutique in Byron Center and Pink Lemonade sells children’s clothing. “It’s something fun to break up the boutiques and have kids model.”
Because it’s not a party without cupcakes, Little Cake House is on hand with sweet refreshments along with a cash bar and tunes from local DJ JWill4Real as well as two personal stylists, Lisa Vander Veen from Becoming You and Michelle Krick of Michelle Krick Style. Both ladies will be available to help with styling advice and to navigate trends.
“I’ll have a pop-up talking about what it’s like to have a stylist, things to buy at the show and mannequins showing how to wear things three different ways,” said Krick. “It’s a good time to spend with me to chat and ask questions and engage.”
In the end, while shopping and fashion are fun, when you boil it down, it’s about the strong forces behind these women-owned boutiques connecting and collaborating to work toward something larger than their own small business.
“When people leave I hope they spread the word,” said Haan. “They’ll be coming to one event, but they’ll be supporting so many women working hard every day to better themselves and their families. The women of Grand Rapids—these 23 women-owned businesses at this event—they’re amazing.”
Boutiques of Grand Rapids takes place on Thursday, Sept. 13, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Goei Center in Grand Rapids. This event is sold out, but event organizers hope to make this a twice-annual event so keep an eye out for a spring runway show.
*Photos courtesy of individual establishments