Ever heard of the Fashion District in Los Angeles? Nikki B., an Ashburn-based Yelp.com reviewer, reports that the Brambleton-based Misguided Angels boutique reminds her of just that. “I’m not a fan of boutiques, but I have to admit this one grows on me,” states Nikki about the shop. “This store is definitely on the edgy and trendier side. It reminds me of the LA Garment District.”
I think the boutique’s owners, Carol White and Kim Hutchings, would be pleased to know their store is being compared to a “multi-faceted hub of fashion” – at least, that’s how Google describes the LA Fashion District. “We purposefully carry clothing lines you can’t find at retail stores or in the mall,” explained White. “What you’ll find here are interesting, unique clothes and garments that are out of the ordinary and full of attitude!”
White spent a good few minutes explaining how women’s lingerie brought her and Hutchings originally together. “We were both successful managers working for Victoria’s Secret years ago. We eventually went our separate ways but somehow managed to find ourselves working for the same employer years later – a home builder.” After the home building employment stint, both were unemployed for some time. Over a period of months, the duo eventually realized they had spent many years working for jobs neither had been particularly in love with. Before long, the pair began to contemplate how they could combine their strengths and talents into a profession they could both love. “Kim had always wanted to own her own store,” explained White, who admits store ownership was not her dream. “My dream was to design my own clothing line.” Is this still White’s dream? “Yes! And someday, I will sell my own line of clothing right here at Misguided Angels.” If warm, dreamy smiles could be heard over the phone, White’s would have been deafening. “For now,” White reassured, “collaborating here with Kim is exactly where I want and need to be.”
Concerning the store’s customers, I asked, “Who are they?” White says, “We get lots of young mothers. I would say the majority are 25-40. Many arrive with young children or with strollers and almost all of them are looking for clothing that is fashionably uncommon and one-of-a-kind.” White adds, “We definitely have our regulars. They come in routinely to check out what’s new.”
I inquired how often Misguided Angels receives new merchandise. “We get about 2-3 new shipments a week,” says White. “We get a little bit of everything – from shoes and accessories to dresses and sweaters. And we don’t order large quantities of items on purpose; we want the merchandise to turn quickly so our selections are limited.” The limited quantities and frequent merchandise updates also keep the store looking fresh and different each time a customer returns.
One of the more popular items the store carries includes Miss Me® jeans. According to the Miss Me® web site, the Miss Me® brand launched its first collection in 2001 “with the single purpose to dress the modern girl who was no longer definable, but multi-dimensional in character and style.” Given Misguided Angels’ goal to carry trendy and distinct items, the Miss Me® jeans seem to be a perfect fit.
“Another popular brand we carry is a dress line called ‘Hale Bob’,” says White, who describes the line as having beautiful and bright silk prints. A quick look at the Hale Bob® web site indeed confirms White’s comments: “Hale Bob® dresses women in feminine, chic clothing. Known for our prints, bright colors, rich silks and luscious velvets, Hale Bob® helps women shine as brightly as the stars who wear our brand.”
In the coming months, Hutchings and White will introduce a new, exclusive line from Barcelona, Spain called Desigual® known for its “atypical Spanish wear.” This line includes fun and unusual dresses and sportswear with very contemporary textures.
Also in the coming months, the store owners are excited to celebrate their first anniversary in the black. “We’re almost done paying off our loans,” a delighted White shared. “We’ve had a fantastic, successful first year and have many future plans for our shop.”
While White and I continued to gab about customer email lists and the store’s web site (www.shopmisguidedangels.com), a customer approached the register. “Looks like I have to dash; I’ve got a customer here ready to be rung up,” said White. We promptly said our goodbyes and ended our phone conversation. As I perused my interview notes after the call, I realized something White had shared with me was worth mentioning: “While we do have a web site, we actually encourage folks to visit us on Facebook instead.” There, White explained, the store posts information about new arrivals and upcoming specials. Customers also share comments and conversation about items they’ve purchased. “Occasionally, customers even post photos of themselves wearing garments or accessories they’ve bought at our store.”
To partake in the Misguided Angels community on Facebook, shoppers can search for “Misguided Angels” in Facebook’s search engine. The store also tweets on Twitter using the @MisguidedAngelz handle.
22855 Brambleton Plaza #105, Brambleton Court | Ashburn, VA 703.957.4601 | www.shopmisguidedangels.com.
MAYRA RUIZ MCPHERSON: Mayra is founder of Ruiz McPherson Communications, a marketing ingenuity and digital PR company based in Dulles, Virginia. You can follow her on Twitter at @mayraruiz, via her practice’s Twitter handle @ruizmcpherson or on Facebook at facebook.com/ruizmcpherson.