I may be a photographer, but I’m not always thinking about photography. I am human!
It is no secret. I love to Shop! I’m not a huge mall goer though. My favorite stores are small, intimate shops, privately owned by local families. I am always in search of new shops to check out.
I can’t even remember how I found this adorable shop. I came across the name one day and had to check out the site. Once I read their mission statement I knew I just had to meet the owner and bring her on board with my own mission!
Meet Gladys of KatyBug Faye Boutique
The original owner, Lisa Looney, didn’t start out in the fashion business. She was an accountant, and then left the corporate world to be a stay at home mom. She started a small home business decorating accessories and selling them to friends. Her daughter, Katy, gave her the idea to open up her own shop. So several years ago, KatyBug Faye was born.
Last year Lisa had many things going on in her life and decided it was time to hand the business over to someone else.
Lisa was very selective about who she was going to pass the store on to. If she couldn’t find the right people she was going to stick with the business herself. She felt that Gladys and her husband were the perfect combination. Gladys runs the front end of the store, while her husband runs the entire back end of the business.
Gladys started the process of “taking over” the boutique last year in September and officially re-opened on December 9, 2015. She began her journey shopping for the store with Lisa, learning the ins and outs of fashion. They would go to LA and New York together and attend fashion shows. Gladys added an entire line of work-out clothes to the shop when she re-opened. She still talks with Lisa frequently about the business and truly values her as a friend and mentor.
Gladys has been an Elementary School teacher for 22 years. She dreams of the day when she can call KatyBug her Full time job, and retire from teaching. For now, she continues to teach during the school year, while their 4 amazing associates run the store. One of whom has been with the store for many years. Gladys happily tells me that they can rely on her and that she is often running to her to help with advice on many different aspects of the store. She has such a great eye, that they let her design the displays in the store.
Sitting on cute black and white cushioned chairs in amongst so many adorable outfits, Gladys brought me back to another time and another world. “My mom shopped. My mom loved to shop. My mom lived for shopping! My mom was raised during a very different era, in Cuba, where her family was very well off. My mom as a little girl, young lady, would go shopping and just sign that she had been there. My grandfather would go in there at the end and he would pay off the tab. So my mom was raised that way. My dad never stopped it either. He was always like, whatever you want, go ahead. He was always so good to her.” Between her mother, her grandmother (who was a seamstress), and her aunt, the love of shopping and fashion was passed on to Gladys.
When growing up, she was raised among women who always knew the latest fashion and the latest trend. She was taught that a girl should always look like a lady. “Back then it was like, you can’t wear jeans! Girls should not be wearing jeans, girls should be wearing a dress! But how do you do that for the working mom? Or a single mom? It’s got to be affordable. You still want to look beautiful. You still want to be pretty. You can be heavy, you can be skinny, you can be poor, but you can still look good. That was something my mom always said. She said you don’t always have to be rich to look classy.”
Gladys is originally from New Jersey. She moved to Arizona 16 years ago for a job opportunity. She met her husband, a Chandler native, a few years later. His family has lived in Chandler for generations. His uncle being the very first Hispanic councilman for Chandler!
They have 16 year old twins, a boy and a girl! Her daughter loves to go with her to the fashion district and help her to pick out the clothing and other items for the boutique. She loves to model the clothes as they come in to the shop. She is learning how to run the register and how to help and interact with customers. Her son often helps out in the store with cleaning and other odds and ends.
Knowing virtually nothing about running a clothing store, I asked Gladys to explain more about Market day and the fashion district.
Once every 2-3 months they hop in the car and drive to L.A. The Fashion market is a district of clothing stores. Some are cute little boutiques and some look like “dives”. Some are open to just anybody, while most are only open to business owners who have a wholesale tax id. The stores have one of each item on their racks and you just pick and chose the items that you want. Once you’ve chosen, the owners will go to the back to get the items for you to take home. Gladys brings home only 2 of each size. They get new items in each and every day. They keep moving items around to keep everything fresh and new.
“That’s what’s unique about boutiques. When it’s gone it’s gone. It’s not going to come back. That’s what makes it unique. No more than 5 other people in your area are going to have that same piece!”
One of their more popular brands is Miss Me. A popular brand out of L.A. They are well known for their cute designer jeans with lots of “bling”.They also have many very cute dresses!
The biggest plans they have for the future of the shop is expanding the online store. They currently sell everything both in store and online. All inventory is out on the floor. Once it’s ordered from the online store or the app, it is pulled and shipped personally by Gladys or her husband!
KatyBug hosts several different fundraisers per year. They offer a unique way of doing this. They host what are called Trunk Shows, where you can rent the store for 2 hours from 6pm-8pm and shop to your heart’s content with family, friends, and neighbors. 25% of the night’s profits are donated to the fundraiser! Trunk Shows are also offered as fun gatherings as well. The host of the “party” will then receive 25% of the profit towards anything in the store! (Announcement: Beyond the Mask will be hosting a Trunk Show this Fall!)
I asked Gladys if she has any tips she would like to share with all of you:
“Everybody has their own unique style. I think they everyone needs to find what works for them.I find that some women don’t want to take the challenge or step out of their comfort zone. I think that’s what they need to do though. I think there are certain things that we need to take a chance on. You never know.It’s that whole idea about, don’t go buy it by the way it looks on the hanger. That’s my whole thing. Try it on! It may not be you, but that’s OK! I think that’s something more women need to do.
Embrace what you have!!! There are some women who don’t like their knees, or their breasts, or whatever. I think it takes some confidence to listen to someone who says, oh my God what do you mean? That looks awesome on you! I’m not saying it to get you to buy it. I’m saying it, because, Oh my God! Use it, You got it! Some people are like, “Oh, but I don’t like to show off this, and I like to cover up here”. I hear that from many of my customers. But when they try something on they’re like, “Wow, I do like it!” Sometimes when you try things on it will look very different than when it was on the hanger. Just be more daring. Step outside of the box and try something different and new! That’s what we tell our kids!”
“Our philosophy is that you don’t have to spend a lot to look like a lot. To look like “You’ve got it!” To look like you’re well put together. You can have your own personal style, your own sense of style. A little bit of accessories can make the most simple outfit complete. Definitely have an open mind to trying something new. Try a different color that you don’t think will look good on you. You may be surprised! Keep an open mind! Within moderation and within limits, we can all pull something from the latest styles and trends, no matter how old we are.”
KatyBug Faye Boutique has a Great app that you can download for both Droid and Apple devices. They run a different special every day! You can only get the special through the app. Occasionally they will share the special on their Facebook page as well.
If you are in Chandler, stop in and say Hi. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!!!