Store Owner Spotlight Darbe&Co.
Our latest Store Owner Spotlight highlights a store that is all about personal service and providing their customers the latest in upscale women’s and children’s fashion. If you’re looking for big city style with a small town flare, you should definitely take a look inside Darbe&Co. Boutique.
Darbe&Co. Boutique is an established retail apparel store celebrating 4 years in business. The store is located on North Main Street in the historic business district of Charles City, Iowa. Darbe&Co. Boutique offers style-conscious women a variety of clothing, accessories, and beauty essentials with a splash of energy and fun. They carry a selection of merchandise from some of the most respected women’s clothing lines available. As a companion to the clothing, Darbe&Co. Boutique also carries a wide selection of accessories: jewelry, purses, carry-on luggage, collegiate wear, and more. The store also offers a full line of skin care to keep your skin looking fresh and radiant.
How did you come up with the name of your business?
“Years ago, we traveled to London and were touring Bath, England. That is where I became enamored with a hat shop named Darbey’s. When I decided to open the boutique, I dropped the letter ‘y’ and named it Darbe&Co. Boutique.”
Do you have a background in retail? If not, what is your employment background?
“I have been a business partner and owner on Main Street in Charles City for almost 15 years. Also, being a Property Manager for 13 years, I was very involved in the marketing and development of several commercial properties. In the spring of 2012, I purchased the building now known as Darbe&Co. Boutique.
What factors led you to decide to open a retail store/website?
“I felt that Main Street needed a boost in the selections available to sophisticated shoppers in northeast Iowa. Also, this was a great opportunity to help boost the local economy. Establishing a new niche for women’s clothing has been exciting and rewarding. I am thankful to my clients for their support, friendship, and encouragement!”
Inside of Darbe&Co. Boutique is an organized grouping of well styled apparel. Within the space, tables full of merchandise are beautifully arranged to allow the shopper to properly view each piece. The displays are constantly updated to maintain their ever-changing inventory. Darbe&Co. even has a feature wall, stocked with everything from skin care products to wine racks. The wine offering makes this store especially unique, capitalizing on the growing popularity of wine enthusiasts. What woman wouldn’t want to shop for clothing and purchase a bottle of wine within the same retail space?
What was your design strategy when you put your store together?
“Repurpose and renew. Everything involving the store design has the ability to repurpose what we have in the background and highlight our retail inventory. We’re a local destination and national trade secret for women seeking high value style. We offer hometown personal service and tasteful, sophisticated class, with a fun attitude. Darbe& Co. Boutique has the personal style trade secret you can afford to indulge in.”
What are some features/special events that you do at your store to set yourself apart from other retailers?
“We are the only “boutique” retailer on Main Street that sells wine. We organize and advertise our monthly Wine Walks and always have a dry wine sample on the counter with sweets in the cooler. Fresh coffee also welcomes our shoppers every day, along with the opportunity for wine tasting. Three times a year, we participate in shopping extravaganzas with other Charles City retailers. Some of these events include ChickFest in the spring, WitchFest in the fall, and ElfFest in the winter.
What advice if any would you give others seeking to open a retail business that you have benefited from?
“It is so important to advertise and be involved in the community. Also, do not forget to have fun and keep focused on your customers. Be consistent with your look; find a supplier and stick with them. Run routine sales and keep your lines and vendors fresh. Finally, give your customers something to look forward to: great customer service and fresh new displays showcasing fun inventory.”