Boutique owner sees value of creating a welcoming shopping environment
After 30 years in retail management, Yolanda Coleman started her own boutique designed to serve women who may struggle to find fashionable, reasonably priced plus-size clothes and accessories that fit. In 2019, she opened Plush Clothing in downtown Racine.
“Downtown represents a community of togetherness where all are welcome, no matter who you are,” Coleman said. “Plush Clothing is a fashion boutique that caters to the full-figured woman.”
The store’s name is an acronym that stands for Pretty, Lovely, Unique, Sexy, Happy. To create a comfortable environment for everyone, Coleman knew she needed to make a few updates to the boutique to get ready for the 2021 holiday season but needed a helpful resource to do so.
WEDC supports a Mini-Makeover for the store
Plush Clothing entered and won a Mini-Makeover Contest, an outgrowth of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation’s (WEDC) popular Main Street Makeover contest. While larger makeover projects require a substantial outlay of funds and generally involve a full-scale remodel of a business, the Mini-Makeover highlights transformation that can occur through thoughtful improvements, within a limited budget.
Wisconsin Main Street staff from WEDC and a team from Milwaukee-based design firm Retailworks Inc. worked with Plush Clothing for several months to plan improvements to help customers enjoy their shopping experience and make the shop more visible. The total cost of improvements for the Plush interior transformation was less than $5,000 and all work took place in 24 hours.
“We’re so grateful for the program, which allowed us to make improvements that would have a direct impact on the customer experience and contribute to the success of our business.”
Retailworks owner and senior interior designer Lyn Falk advises small business owners to consider four basics when looking at their space: Lighting, signage, color and merchandising.
- Displays should be lit three times more brightly than the surrounding space.
- Streamline signage using only high-quality signs. Avoid clutter.
- Use paint to add interest and guide customers through the space.
- Keep shelves full.
- Use focal point displays to manage traffic.
Plush and WEDC partnership is a timely gift for shoppers
WEDC and Retailworks staff completed Plush’s mini-makeover in early November.
“I’m excited to reveal our new look to the public just in time for the holiday shopping season,” Coleman said at the time. “We’re so grateful for the program, which allowed us to make improvements that would have a direct impact on the customer experience and contribute to the success of our business.”
TO SUM UP
Business Owner Idea
Find support to enhance her store’s customer experience with quick, inexpensive design and merchandising makeovers to prepare for the holiday season.
WEDC staff recognized that Yolanda was ready to take her business to the next level but needed direction in determining which investments would be most effective. The mini-makeover contest provided support and staff from WEDC and Retailworks helped Plush put together plans for a one-day, reality TV-style makeover.
Plush unveiled its new look in early November, with plenty of time to welcome holiday shoppers.