Recently I walked into a new European-inspired clothier in my area, and walked out with both a silky-soft Parisian dress and a reminder to self re: storytelling.
This is a high-end boutique in a not-so-high-end area of downtown. Fresh white brick building surrounded by a neighborhood of outdated little ranches with overgrown driveways and dusty old porches.
I almost drove right by the storefront. But the cornflower blue sign — elegantly self-assured of itself, despite the surroundings — caught my eye and slowed the car.
I walked inside. The store owner was manning the front desk and looked like a Parisian model herself. Breezy and bright-eyed; black flat-tie shoes and crisp white shirt. Immediately a tad elusive in a sweet way.
“Welcome to L’Avenue!” she chirped. “What can I help you find?”
It was the kind of place that made you feel lucky to find yourself in it. Bright ceiling spotlights and full-length antique brass mirrors, the entire room bathed in a floral-meets-woody aroma that was like a splash of Baccarat Rouge 540 on the wrist.
Stately rows of clothing racks lined with puffy-sleeve paisley things, vintage green metallic things, belted and sheer and chunky-woven things. Eclectic, daring, “could I maybe be this person today!?” things.
I did not tell her I’d just spent $230 at Target an hour prior (despite having only walked in to purchase paper and pens). I already felt too bespoke to leave this store. What DID I need help finding?
Dresses? Did she have dresses? (Ridiculous question.)
She strolled to a nearby rack, spent a few moments actually comparing styles to my figure, and then held out a ivory midi dress with a buttoned-down front and short ruffled sleeves. “This just looks like you,” she said.
And it did, or maybe I just would have believed her either way.
Then we talked.
I never miss an opportunity to congratulate a fellow woman in business and ask about her journey. She described her path from fashion school in Paris back home to North Carolina where her family lives. How she missed the tightly edited, inspired collections of clothing at her favorite boutiques back in the UK, missed the understated but chic European styles and vintage markets.
“I decided to bring a taste of that to my home here,” she said. “Paris is to expensive to be home, so I brought Paris here.”
She straightened a stack of pale yellow sweaters on the table display. “By the way, there’s a story behind THAT dress in your hand…”
And I heard about how found it at a Parisian market in the Fall and had to have it, because the brand has yet to make its name in the States yet and she likes supporting the little hole-in-the-wall makers. She ran a gentle finger over the buttons and talked about how I could dress it up or down, and feel both flirty and tasteful. Oh, and this is what her mother said about the dress, and she agrees, that it reminds them of a dress she had designed herself back in fashion school.
I told her about my own 2019 trip to Paris. We compared restaurant stories. We both missed the Louvre. The crepe stands near the Eiffel Tower, we agreed, are actually incredibly underrated.
10 minutes later, I was swiping my credit card.
She didn’t sell me a dress; she sold me a story.
Or rather, she told me a story and the Parisian dress I did not need then sold itself.
She brought out something extraordinary in the ordinary.
And so I didn’t walk out with a dress, and I didn’t feel the pain of $85.99 spent.
I felt the thrill of a beautiful identity, the nostalgia of a shared cultured experience, the distinction of an outfit that promised to make me of-the-moment but not too trendy, and the joy of knowing I was supporting another woman whose clearly articulated business story had led her here to help other women feel more
rare, discerning and sophisticated.
If you want to win hearts, don’t sell things.
I haven’t worn the ivory dress yet. It’s on quiet display in my closet, waiting for a special occasion. Hope your week’s off to a great + storyfull start, friends —
P.S – What’s BLUEPRINT, again?
We’re a gaggle of designers, writers, and creatives on a mission to change the branding narrative in real estate.
We offer a signature branding service and the industry’s most elegant and high-converting digital products to help modern, stylish Realtors do three things:
➝ Communicate their worth;
➝ Become the obvious choice;
➝ Tell the right stories to stand out + SELL more.