Fashion-forward thinking keeps local designer a cut above

Drue Thompson in her shop on Lee Road. Photo by Chelsea Bonner

The Internet has given way to the ease and convenience of shopping online. With a click of a button, customers can view, purchase and have merchandise delivered to their homes. But what does the rise in online shopping mean for traditional retailers? As customers have become accustomed to the effortless process of purchasing online, some retailers find it difficult to compete, leaving many small, independently owned businesses pressed to bring in customers, and closing down within a year of opening.

Others, however, see an opportunity to change the methods of traditional retailing. DruChristine Fabrics & Design, at 1623 Lee Road, in Cleveland Heights, has successfully cleared the one-year benchmark by offering more than fashionable merchandise to clients. The success of this boutique comes by offering a lifestyle.

Designed in the style of a chic living space, owner Drue Thompson gives shoppers a comfortable setting for their buying experience. Clients are welcomed with complimentary drinks as they browse, and Thompson encourages her clientele to sit and chat while she sketches their designs. Service is her main priority, knowing that her customers place a high value on her fashion expertise—from designs to selecting fabrics, or even accessorizing a recent purchase.

"I was aware of the challenges that come with being a retailer and knew I had to be creative to bring clients to my store instead of shopping online, or in another boutique." said Thompson. "In our fast-paced society, there is a need to develop a true shopping experience, letting clients know their time and money is well spent, and setting my boutique apart from traditional retailers."

DruChristine Fabrics & Design carries items from the designer's current collections, as well as ready-to-wear selections for both men and women. The boutique offers an array of designer and vintage fabrics, with a rare collection of findings—adding to the experience, as clients can see the design, select fabrics, and even choose buttons to complete the look. In addition, the shop carries several unique accessory lines from other local designers and artisans.

Thompson also hosts monthly events as part of Fashion Forward Living, a lifestyle series that features sewing classes, personal style and holistic workshops, held at the boutique.

Thompson’s forward-thinking approach to business has helped her complete a successful year. To mark the occasion, she hosted a week-long celebration last month, with food, music and giveaways to thank her customers. Events included tutorials and hands-on demonstrations.

Thompson knows the importance of personalization as it relates to the overall shopping experience, and has combined her design talents, energetic personality and specialized customer service to stand out in the fashion retail market.

For more information about DruChristine Fabrics & Design, call 440-941-0052 or visit www.druchristine.com.

Chelsea Bonner

Chelsea Bonner, a Cleveland resident and graduate of Spelman College, is a fashion and public relations intern for DruChristine Fabrics & Design.

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Volume 6, Issue 9, Posted 3:48 PM, 08.30.2013