Photo: Tommy Mendes
Believe it or not, February is my favorite month of the year. Despite the unbearable cold that comes with it, this month is all about celebrations.
Whether you are celebrating the love you have for your valentines, the hard work of designers throughout the world as they showcase their creativity for the Fall 2013 runways, Mardi Gras and the forthcoming Ground Hog Day, or simply finding pleasures in celebrating the originality that comes with a month that lacks a full sets of calendar days, February definitely isn't short on reasons to smile.
So, to focus in on the happy faces of the people who dedicate their lives to finding local designers and quality items, this month, we are on a mission to make boutiques cool again. And no, we don't mean your Fifth Avenue Chanel boutique. In fact, this February, we are making it clear that those big brands with "small boutique" shops aren't real boutiques. And let's be honest, we know real boutiques. We work with them everyday!
See, real boutiques aren't powerhouses with big name designers who own cats that have more Twitter followers than our entire office combined. Real boutiques also aren't on the runways during New York Fashion Week. They aren't paying Conde Nast millions of dollars for an ad in the September issue. They aren't hiring interns to do their customer service - nor are they outsourcing it. In fact, they quite simply aren't doing a lot of things that the big brands are - but just like the month of February, it is in what they don't have that makes them so special.
They don't spend hours on social media because they instead spend hours on the clock, hunting down the best local designers, sourcing the highest quality knit, interviewing for the most personable floor attendant and talking to you, their prized customer, face to face.
They don't have a Fall 2013 collection to send down the runway, not because they don't have a Fall 2013 collection, but because they are too busy outfitting you and your friends to be outfitting models with items the public won't even wear until next Christmas.
They don't place ads in your favorite fashion magazine because they find that the best value in the world comes from amazing customer service. They believe that when you spread the word to your friends, no Vogue ad could ever compensate for the impression they have left on your life.
And finally, they aren't hiring interns because they are providing high school students with their first job, stay-at-home moms with part-time work, and helping those in our communities who give back with their laugh, soul and chatter a place to work that they can call "home." And they pay them for it.
You see, just like February, real boutiques might be short on manpower, but they sure as hell aren't short on celebrating the individual in us all. And that is one thing that the big brands don't do.
By supporting Shoptiques, you are supporting small business, local economies and real people who run real shops with you, the customer, in mind.
This February, it's time to celebrate the real heroes…the real boutiques.
As always, be yourself, be different.