dress boston: a small business story

we are a small children's boutique and we take supporting other local and small businesses very seriously. small businesses are critical to the success of our local economy. according to the small business association (SBA), small businesses have generated 64% of new jobs and paid 44% of the U.S. private payroll.

it’s not always possible to shop small. we know how day-to-day life works (especially when kids are involved): multitudes of multi-tasking across busy days; afternoons of activities that alternately drag and fly by but leave no chance for achieving anything; and evenings that are full of desperate attempts to PUT SAID KIDS TO BED. we get it and even in our own homes it’s oftentimes only amazon and next day delivery that saves the day.

but we do urge you to carve out even an hour this holiday season to visit and support at least one small, local business. get to know the shop owners and staff. hear their stories and see their passions. i’ve done just that with boston businesses over the years, and now want to share one of my own favorite local shops, dress, with you.

dress is located in a beautiful space in the old meeting house in beacon hill. owners jane schlueter and martha pickett carry a wonderful selection of some of my favorite women’s lines – NSF, frame denim, and ulla johnson – and we recently came together to host a kodomo trunk show at their location.

jane and martha are as exceptional as their taste in clothing. they were kind enough to answer a few questions about dress for me, sharing their ethos and showcasing just how exceptionally hard they work to run their wonderful store.

how did you dream up the concept of dress?

jane:

martha and I started planning dress around 2003/2004. We recognized that there was a void in the boston market. many of the brands that we loved and that inspired us weren’t available in boston at the time. we saw an opportunity for a new boutique and believed that our combined skill sets in merchandising and marketing were the right combination to create the kind of store we dreamed of.

many experiences and visions contributed to the concept of dress. ultimately, our brand is inspired by the idea of coco chanel’s “little black dress”, a reference to wardrobe staples in every woman’s closet.

we opened dress in 2005. over ten years later, we are still driven by this concept.

since opening the store, you've both added children to the mix. how has the way you work changed?

martha:

my children are young (18 months and 3 years old), so they still need me physically all day. the way i work now is totally different to how I worked before kids. things have changed particularly since the addition of our second child.

now I get the bulk of my work done in two or three chunks during the day: before they wake up, during their nap time, and the largest chunk after they go to bed.

like all working parents, I've learned to be flexible and to work much more efficiently.

thank you to jane and martha for inspiring me and other small business owners and shoppers in our area. and thanks to everyone who supported small businesses like this one on small business saturday. if you have not yet had a chance to get out and shop locally, i hope this peek behind the small business scenes inspires you to get acquainted with your own neighborhood businesses!

visit dress at 70 charles street in boston or at www.dressboston.com

xx, jasmine

shop small and support local boston businesses

jasmine punzalan

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