Thursday, November 19, 2009

Adrene's Boutique

As I walk into the store, this petite California chick meets me. She’s got Dorrough playing in the background as she tells her male customers, “let me know if you need sizes, I do have SMEDIUMS!” Surrounded by unique pieces of urban fashion, I’m in Adrene’s Boutique on Peters Street and trying hard to take notes instead of grab merchandise. My job teases me.

What drew me to this shop initially was viewing her package on WSB after her fourth break in over a two-year span. Although Adrene Ashford keeps women’s clothes priced all under $100 and men’s clothes under $200, she understands that people are going to want her pieces and not want to pay for them. “What can I say, I’ve got great style!” Adrene adds, keeping the same positive demeanor she has had to maintain while experiencing the pitfalls of owning a high-end boutique. From what I see, business is steadly running in and out, as her resume includes names like Jennifer Hudson, Ciara, TI, Terrell Owens, and Kim Zolciak of Real Housewives of Atlanta. What I love about Adrene is that no matter what your budget, every customer is met with a great smile and her sharp opinions for fashion. As Adrene danced my way to Beyonce’s “Video Phone,” we chatted it up about her start in this biz, and why all you need to enjoy Atlanta is on her block.

SJB: First, how did you get your start in fashion?

AA: Well I opened my first store out of necessity. I got into law school at UCLA and didn’t have enough money to go, and someone told my mom I was using my refund checks to buy clothes. She told me I had better sell those clothes to get some money for school. So I started to host these Sunday soirees where I decorated my walls with clothes, similar to a boutique, and I had my friends over to shop. I would have these cocktails called pink panties and mimosas and made it a real comfortable girl’s day, but the focus was to shop. I did this the whole summer before law school and still didn’t have enough money to go. I just took my investment and rented a loft space from a designer 9 years ago.

My first big break came while I was interning at an entertainment firm, building clientele. I was at a photoshoot and got call from Puffy’s marketing company, Blue Flame, and they wanted to hire me. Well, I didn’t know people got paid to dress people. I was like, you wanna pay me? And it all came together from there.

SJB: Why Peter’s Street?

AA: The culture and spirit of this neighborhood is phenomenal. When I went to Clark Atlanta (University), I was told this area was all drugs and rundown and just to never come here. Now with the energy of other entrepreneurs, where else could I be? Neighborhoods are great when you can bring businesses together and the energy bounces. People barhop here, lounge here, network here, so we close at 12 on the weekends to set ourselves apart from others. Where else can you grab a nice shirt at 11:30? My boutique adds shopping to the space. The energy here is great for business and for living, why not add a little shopping to the mix?

SJB: Tell me about what sort of guts it takes to keep going after the pitfalls you’ve experienced.

AA: (Laughs) Peaks and valleys are real in entrepreneurship. You choose this to have freedom, and it’s unrealistic to think it will be just high road the whole way. You have to keep in mind the valley will come, because you’re always being tested, being stretched. These are challenges to grow your mind. I chose this life accepting the good and bad. It’s my passion and love that allows me to keep going. When someone shops at my store, it’s my attitude people are buying when they buy this It’s my energy they take when they let me style them. I have to be positive when business is at a high and a low.

SJB: What makes a woman stylish?

AA: What a woman wears can bring her such energy. If she’s wearing black or if she’s wearing colors, it affects the way she walks, the way she carries herself. I can take any girl off the street transform her and throw her back she will be a different woman. That is really how I feel. Wardrobe changes everything. If you’re wearing something bright it’s impossible to pout. Colors exude energy and that relates to the way you walk and your overall swag.

SJB: So what about a man?

AA: Men like you to put a look together. With women it can be one piece, but men are more head to toe. They want all the pieces and they’re all about the fit. For women, we don’t always wear the right size but it makes us feel a certain way. Too tight or too loose, it’s something we are looking to feel. Men just want to be put together while women are looking for other variables.

Here are a few of our favorite things!

Daisy soft denim jumpsuit $98

Tweed Long short with suspenders, Nicola Bertti $89

Assorted Jewelry $25- $50

Black Coat, Hot Air $179

Patchwork dress $79

Gray super warm coat, Monarchy Collection $225

Check out Adrene's Boutique across the way from Slice and 255 on Peter's St.

1 comment:

  1. Shelby B., I follow u on Twitter and I would say that I check you out on myspace and facebook but of course that would be a lie...too much social networking makes me a little paranoid. However needless to say I've been secretly following your blog since you got started and you've been conducting some fascinating interviews and the construction is very well put together...too bad the aroma of stale hating reeks in this city and not to many people want to take the time out to let you know that you are doing it and to keep the updates coming!!! I would like to add however, that I am "precious" trapped in a skinny girls body so I love to eat...I would enjoy to here about some of these fab restaurants in the city and some of the not too fab. I enjoy an intimate encounter with a special someone and a glass of wine but I'm running out of places to go!!!Please help... Keep up the good work they may not see you now but they WILL. Much luv...Shelby C