Let's face it, shopping local is better than shopping at the “big brand stores”. Maybe it's the specific way the owner greets you at the door and asks you how your day is going, or the unique merchandise you can’t find anywhere else in the area. These four local boutiques all have something to offer that you can’t find anywhere else. From being family-owned through three generations, to having merchandise so unique you can only find eight in the country, these stores are something to talk about.
Located in Wayzata, MN
What started as a few pop-up shops and an online business, Northern Drift in Wayzata bloomed into a very successful business for owners Brent and Lisa Jane. The couple rented out retail space on Lake Minnetonka over Thanksgiving 2020 and decided to permanently establish their business in the space after receiving positive feedback over the holidays.
Northern Drift is a clothing brand designed by the Janes’ that embodies the lake life and coastal vibes of Lake Minnetonka. “Many people celebrate getting out to the lake and being on the water. We love to hop onto a boat, kill the engine, and drift along the water. We knew if we were going to build a brand, it needed to be about something we love to do,” says Lisa.
Northern Drift carries both men’s and women’s clothing. While all the apparel designs are their own, the store also includes accessories, home furnishings, and jewelry that are from local designers and brands.
One of the most challenging aspects of being a designer for your own boutique is having to work ahead and know the upcoming trends. Lisa is currently working on designs for Spring/Summer 2022. “The process can become exhausting and time-consuming. It all starts with a color palette and a tech pack, then you have to choose all the materials, fabrics, buttons, and so forth,” says Lisa.
Brent and Lisa are looking forward to expanding their assortment offering in the upcoming year, and hope to begin adding children’s merchandise to the boutique.
Located in Zumbrota, MN and Excelsior, MN
Luya Shoes opened in Zumbrota in 2014 by Connie Hawley. In 2019, Connie’s son Travis joined the family business by opening a second location in Excelsior. While it is apparent the company offers hundreds of shoe brands, the store also carries other products such as clothing, accessories, art, and home goods.
Unlike others in the area, Luya purchases the majority of its shoe brands from Europe. “When we purchase from a new brand, we want to ensure that they are sustainable, high quality, and take care of their employees. We buy a lot of the time from Europe because we believe they are of higher comfort and quality, and typically their designs are more advanced than the United States,” says Travis.
When shopping at Luya, you're guaranteed to find quality shoes that aren’t like any other. “I typically order shoes a year ahead of time. Some of the inventory is handmade, therefore there could only be eight pairs of a particular shoe in the country,” says Travis.
One of the best aspects of Luya is that it embodies the stop-and-shop lifestyle. The store is set up to look like an art gallery, with all of its merchandise and inventory on the floor. So, if you're wanting to shop during a lunch break or are in a rush to an event, you're able to try on, purchase, and leave satisfied, all within five minutes.
Located in Plymouth, MN
Nicole Chose is one of the four current owners of the third-generation family store, The Foursome. The Foursome was originally started by four ladies who were golfing partners. The store was then taken over by Chose’s grandfather nearly 80 years ago. Currently, the boutique is located under the same roof in Plymouth with their other family-owned stop-and-shop, Boundary Clothing.
Each of the four siblings works under both brands, continuing on the family legacy. Nicole is the marketing manager and handles the day-to-day operations, while her three siblings are the company’s buyers and visual merchandisers. “It is nice to be able to work with my family every day and to know that at least one of the owners is always in-store. We love being able to interact with customers and each other every day,” says Nicole.
While The Foursome focuses more on fine menswear and high-end casual wear, Boundary Clothing brings in both men’s and women’s casual, outdoor merchandise. “We decided to rebrand part of our store during the pandemic. We noticed that more people enjoyed wearing casual wear, and that is something that is never going to change. Therefore, we gave our store a different look and feel, hoping it would appeal to a different audience who is looking for more casual, outdoor apparel,” says Nicole.
Located in Mound, MN
Miss Kasual is a brick-and-mortar store started by husband and wife Demetrous and Teri Few. It offers an abundance of local brands at an affordable price. From sweatshirts, dresses, and tops to jewelry and accessories, this boutique has everything. The store opened in North Dakota in 2015 and in 2018 relocated to Mound where Teri took over the company.
One of Teri’s main focuses when taking over the company was to choose brands that are either local, a small business, or help give back to the community. Essence One, a brand the store carries, specifically brings awareness to mental health and wellness. Essence One partners with Bring Change to Mind, an organization that forms mental health clubs to stop discrimination against those who struggle. However, this isn't the only organization Miss Kasual supports. It also gives back to several other charities through its brands. “I love being able to help out others through our brands. Whether it is mental health or education for girls, it feels great knowing that we are helping make a difference and are supporting these brands. I hope in the future we are able to give back more,” says Teri.
If you are wanting to help support charities and shop local, Miss Kasual offers discounts to customers throughout the week. On Monday’s the store offers 15% off your purchase, Friday’s 20% off, and Saturdays you shake your discount through an interactive dice game.