Primp, a St. Paul boutique known for its cheap, chic women's clothing, will celebrate its one-year anniversary today with a birthday party. Shoppers can stop by all day to check out new fall merchandise, snack on treats at the candy bar, and enter hourly drawings to win a store gift card. Owners Michele Henry and Wesley Uthus are excited to spend time with their customers at the celebration, and say that the event is a good way to meet new people and enjoy a fun shopping experience.
The friends met three years ago when they were introduced by Uthus's husband. Both women were trying to make it in the design industry, and decided to start a handbag line together. While traveling to Chicago to sell their bags to retailers, they noticed that people weren't shopping at the fancy, high-end boutiques -- it was the more affordable shops that were filled with customers. They wondered why a boutique couldn't have both: a fancy, glamorous feel, but with affordable pricing. On a road trip to Duluth, the women started brainstorming about opening their own shop.
"We thought, 'Why not? What do we have to lose?'" says Uthus.
[jump] They put together a business plan and soon after, Primp opened. Unsure of how their boutique would be received by the community, they started with a small inventory, but were thrilled when merchandise began to sellout almost immediately. Today, the store has about six of each garment, so new items are constantly being moved onto the sales floor. Trips to Los Angeles every few weeks have become a part of their routine to ensure that they always have the latest and greatest clothing.
In addition to providing affordable clothing (all items are under $100, and most are under $50), Primp focuses on helping women put together looks that fit their budget and style.
"We pride ourselves on great customer service, and we only hire great stylists who are up-to-date on the latest trends," Henry says. "One of the best parts about owning a boutique is getting to know customers and helping them find an outfit that they love."
Both Henry and Uthus say that opening Primp has changed their lives, and they look forward to growing their business in the future. For the time being, both enjoy meeting new customers and traveling to L.A. to get fun, stylish merchandise for their boutique.
"We both love fashion," says Uthus. "We buy merchandise that we love and that we know other women will love. It's so fun to be out in downtown St. Paul and to see women wearing clothing from Primp that we've picked out."
IF YOU GO:
Primp's One-Year Birthday Party
Friday, September 16 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
618 Selby Ave., St. Paul