StyleFinder Turns Two! Here’s Our Story…

Two years ago today, May 1st, 2015, Jim and I first opened the doors to StyleFinder Boutique.  Drawing on my more than 25 years in the fashion industry, our desire was to not only give women a whole new way to shop, but to also provide them with tools to discover their true style and build a wardrobe that’s perfect for who they truly are.  Today, we happily celebrate our second year in business with a month long celebration!  Here’s our story…

In 2008, I launched my style coaching business with little more than a desire to help women get back in touch with their own personal style.  I had been a clothing designer for more than a decade, and then taken some time off to start a family.  A stint in blogging and writing (under One Chic Mama) led me to wanting to help women in a deeper way.  When two friends asked me over the span of about a week to help me clean out their closets, I knew there was something more for me…and my career in style coaching was born!

I read every book I could find, trained with experts in color analysis and body type assessment, and set about to become a Master Style Coach.  After a year or so, I realized that I had no real way to help my clients find out what their style was, so I decided to create one.  My passion is helping women discover and connect with what their style is, and I believe that when that happens it’s truly magical.  After working with many women and seeing similarities, I started to create our proprietary StyleFinder ID® System.  In 2010, I launched this comprehensive assessment and was astounded with the accuracy of it.  My clients were excited to discover what their style was, and I was delighted to be able to help them!  Now, our clients can take the free mini-quiz on our website, StyleFinder Boutiqueor take the full assessment with our personal style packages.

“A co-worker wore a killer dress to an event and when I asked her where she bought it, she said StyleFinder Boutique.  She sent me the website link and I followed it quite a while before going. Once I went, I was hooked. Great clothes, lots of different styles and colors, and stylists who are helpful. They are not clingy, but are truly interested in getting clothes that complement you, your style, and your personality. I’ll be back again and again. I’ve found pants that fit like a glove in an un-threatening shop. If you haven’t been, you’re missing out on looking and feeling your best!” – Ginny Fountain

My own StyleFinder ID® is Dramatic/Romantic, Whimsical.  I know how important style is and that it be congruent with who a women truly is, not just what everyone else is wearing.  We are passionate about helping clients cultivate their very own style, rather than trying to emulate their friend, their sister or their daughter.

Jim had heard me talk over the years about what a disconnect there was between what women needed and what is offered in stores.  When I would work with a client as a personal shopper, I was often disappointed with what we would find.  It made my job that much harder!  In the fall of 2014, he suggested we open a retail boutique.  My first response?  Hell, no!  After all, I had been there and done that.  {I opened my first boutique, Head Over Heels, in July 1997, designing custom wedding gowns, hats and a line of clothing we sold around the country}.

But after giving it some thought, and realizing that we could help women in a much bigger way, I said YES!  In January, 2015, Jim and I attended our first trade show together.  I spent my birthday wandering the aisles of the Javits Center in New York, wondering what lines we should carry.  I was overwhelmed.  But I trusted my intuition and came back with orders from 3 vendors, to be shipped immediately.  We did not have a location yet, but we had goods coming in.  Yikes!  We also brought back lots of jewelry.  Knowing exactly who our target clients were, we were able to start buying for them.  We put pictures up on Facebook and before we were back in Raleigh, StyleFinder Boutique had made its first sale!

We did pop-up shops/seminars at North Ridge Country Club to get our start.  I invited my list of clients, some of them making appointments, some of them scheduling style sessions and some of them just coming to shop. They loved what we had and couldn’t wait to see more!

“Love going to StyleFinder Boutique, everyone is always so helpful to find just the perfect outfit, give honest feedback and gives such personal attention to every customer. The personal style quiz is a great tool so be sure to complete it, it really does help you discover what “style” is just you! Be sure to stop in and see all the beautiful clothes, jewelry and get lots of personal attention!!” – Tamara Porter

In the meantime, our off-the-beaten path location became available.  It was the perfect testing ground for our concept, so we began setting up StyleFinder Boutique.

Our soft opening was May 1st.  We later had a ribbon cutting with Sig Hutchinson, and a full blown celebration.  We were official, and we were off to a great start!  Slowly, we began to hire employees.  We built our amazing team by word of mouth referrals and couldn’t have asked for better Stylista’s!  Over the past two years, our team has evolved and changed, but there is always a place in our heart for each one of our team members.

Upon opening, we began training our clients in our StyleFinder ID® System.  It proved to be a wonderful way to help them know exactly what our clients needed, even if they had no idea themselves.  We’d put together outfits for our clients, and they’d shake their head, “No”.  We’d press on, “Just try”.  And when they did, they were surprised – “How did you know?”

“The confidence I’ve gained from discovering my own personal style was worth every penny! I highly recommend Mary Michele and her team at StyleFinder Boutique.” – Amy LeBlanc

At StyleFinder, we make shopping simple.  I recently asked clients to describe us in one word, and that list of words included:

  • Confident
  • Enlightening
  • Unique
  • Welcoming
  • Fun
  • Fabulous
  • Classy
  • Easybutton
  • Refreshing

and more….

Many of our clients are women who hate to shop.  Once they have the StyleFinder experience, they tell me how much fun we made it!  Not only do they get new clothes, but they learn how to build a wardrobe that’s right for them in the process!

In January of 2017, I trained one of our Stylista’s, Kirsten Miller, to become a certified StyleFinder Style Coach.  Now, clients can book appointments for personal style packages, closet clarity sessions and more with both Kirsten and myself.  As a Master Style Coach, it has been an incredible experience to create an environment where we can share our knowledge everyday with women to help them know exactly what to wear and how to wear it.

“I love that you show me HOW to wear something, and give me multiple options. I don’t get that anywhere else. ” – Brenda S. 

We love our clients!  We get to work with the most amazing women around the Triangle and well beyond!  We have clients in other states who buy things they see on Facebook, and when they’re in town, pay us a visit in person.

We want to thank our amazing clients and our team for helping us make it to two years and still going strong!  We have big plans in the coming months that will be announced shortly.  In the meantime, come celebrate with us!

Entire month of May:

Register to win on every visit.  Our Anniversary Drawing will include:

  • $500 StyleFinder Boutique gift card
  • Katherine Way Dress
  • Insight Pants
  • Style Packages
  • Jewelry
  • and More!

Then on May 19 & 20th we’ll have a weekend long party and Anniversary Celebration.  Be sure to stop in for champagne, cupcakes and specials!

Want to experience StyleFinder for yourself?  Come into the boutique, located at 6801 Falls of Neuse Road, Raleigh, or call us at 919-454-3068. 

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