Monday, July 27, 2009

Amy's boutique, 'a cute vintage shop,' finds success on Sanibel
Something Special is an eclectic gift and clothing boutique.
Amy's Something Special Boutique is located at 630 Tarpon Bay Road at Periwinkle Way, in the Olde Sanibel Shoppes on Sanibel Island. Store hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.
Call 472-4421.
The boutique sells vintage and new items. We have vintage tablecloths and linens, teapots and things like that. We sell jewelry: handmade ceramic beads Kazuri from Africa, Lalamar jewelry from the Dominican Republic, hand-painted ladies watches, French perfume bottles, organic lotions, and a lot tropical jewelry in beautiful colors.
We also sell clothing; dresses for girls and women from Bali, little girl dresses from Hawaii and boys' toddler outfits. We also sell T-shirts made by local artist Nora Butler.
The felted purses are handmade on Sanibel. The colors are great. We sell tropical bedding as well as lots of pretty bedspreads, tropical rugs with pineapples and fish, ladies shoes and flip-flops.
What are your biggest sellers?
Right now a T-shirt by Know made of 70 percent bamboo. They have sayings like "happiness" and quotes by Anne Frank. Another shirt line with a "Save the Earth" sign is popular.
The "Save the Tatas" T-shirt for breast cancer awareness is one of our best sellers.
What is the best buy in your store?
The sea turtle purses that have a peace sign in the middle are a good deal. They are very well made and the price range is very good. They come in wallets, messenger bags and purses. They've been selling very well.
Who is your typical customer?
I don't have a typical customer. That's part of the reason we have so many different things. Our customers range from 3 to 80 years old. So we have a different selection for everyone. Hopefully everyone will walk out with something they like.
What is unique about your store?
The store is in a 100-year-old home. It has eclectic vintage lighting and accessories to keep in style with the building. It's not like your regular retail store. It's like being in someone's home.
What are you doing to survive the downturn in the economy?
This is very strange because I've just had my best season in five years, from January through May. I'm working it myself and my costs are lower.
I think if you pay attention to business and do your best ... it's worked for me. I do try to keep things at a reasonable cost and make an effort to find different things than what you see in every store.
What is the No. 1 thing you have learned about business?
Never take anything for granted.
How has technology changed the way you do business?
I don't use much technology at all. It's all word of mouth.
What plans do you have for expanding?
I'm just going to keep it as it is. I'm always changing the store around, but with the same merchandise.

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