Stitch Boutique has had two thriving locations in the past five years — one store in the Highlands and the other in Cherry Creek. We had a chance to speak with Nicole English — who co-manages both locations along with her business partner Maureen Patterson — to discuss her journey into the world of fashion and how she brought affordable, yet on-trend styles to the more expensive neighborhood of Cherry Creek.
Now coming up on its third year of business, the Stitch Boutique location in Cherry Creek has continued to bring fashionable styles to Denver, from basic staple pieces to high-quality denim and accessories.
303 Magazine: What started your interest and involvement in the fashion industry?
Nicole English: After I graduated college, my first job was with a company called Astor and Black where I did custom suits for men. I worked with a lot of athletes, lawyers and businessmen in Denver. Then, when I was engaged, I hired a wedding planner through a company called Table 6 Productions, and the planner I was working with loved my ideas and would always insist that I become a wedding planner. I worked side by side with her for my own wedding and then was brought on to do other weddings.
I always knew I wanted to do something for myself so I had approached Maureen, my business partner. I’ve always had a love for fashion and design and I had mentioned to her that I always wanted to open up a boutique and be my own boss, even though it’s scary. We laid out the business plan and we opened our first location in the Highlands five years ago. We started it together and we always have to agree on something before we go through with it. Whether it’s picking a new vendor or just picking out a new top to carry in the store, all the decisions have to be made by both of us.
303: Tell us more about the process of making Stitch Boutique a reality in both the Highlands and Cherry Creek.
NE: We took the business plan and went into fruition with it. I had never been on a buying trip. It was basically all new to us. Our plan was to itemize everything. We lucked out with the space in the Highlands because we got in right before the area really exploded. Luckily, we had submitted a letter of intent to open a location there.
With Cherry Creek, the area always needed an affordable boutique. People get overwhelmed because the prices are typically higher in the neighborhood and a lot of our customers would commute to the Highlands to shop at our store before the Cherry Creek location opened because it was a more affordable place to shop. The affordable and contemporary style is really what people were, and still are looking for. People were telling us to come here and it took us a while, especially because the real estate isn’t cheap. Once we found our place here, it just kind of fell into place.
303: Can you describe the store and its style for someone who may have never been in before?
NE: I would say, what we try to do is find unique pieces that are transitional, fun and modern, but affordable. It took us a while to filter our the brands that we didn’t think were “quality enough” for us. So, it took us a while to gain the core brands that we now like to carry. We don’t buy in bulk. When something is gone, it’s gone unless it’s a basic piece and we do this because there’s already so much fashion going around.
303: What are some of the top brands you carry?
NE: For jeans, we carry Flying Monkey because it’s a good price point. We also carry Love Stitch, which is a boho style and Gentle Fawn, which is a higher-end brand in terms of our price point, but the quality is amazing. These are a few of our core brands we always keep in store.
303: What’s the buying process for getting clothes in the store?
NE: We go on buying trips frequently. Our biggest conventions are in February and August and it’s called Magic. Basically what we do in August is for styles from August to February, and then in February, we’re shopping for styles from February to that next August. So, we see stuff for the fall and winter months in advance. We’ve gotten comfortable with that because we’ve built more relationships with the brands we carry and the style that the store is. We also do L.A. markets and we do the Denver market called CALA. We can get immediate things there and fill in any gaps that we feel we missed maybe months before.
303: What’s a typical day in life like for both of you? What tends to be your main responsibilities as business partners?
NE: Being a new mom has been a lot more challenging. I used to be in a routine, now I’m trying to do a balancing act. My day consists of photographing new items. We typically get shipments two, three, four times a week. We unpack everything, photograph it, upload it to social media and then throughout the day, it’s consistent customer service. That’s what I think we all really pride ourselves on. At the end of the day, that’s really the whole goal and why we do this. We get to know people’s styles and get to know them personally, and it really makes the job more fun. Aside from that, we have to purchase orders, take inventory, work on the website, steaming, tagging and merchandising. At the end of the day, it’s not just playing dress up, it’s a lot of work but it’s worth it.
303: What does the future of Stitch Boutique look like?
NE: I don’t see us opening another location anytime soon. I would say that we would really love to focus our energy on what we have. I would like to focus our energy online and our social media presence too. I do all the social media, but I’d love to learn more about it. I feel like if you expand too quickly, even if the sales are there, it doesn’t always mean it’s the best business decision. I don’t want us to get so overwhelmed just to expand. I think we’re happy where we are right now. Our Cherry Creek store specifically is evolving so we’ll see how we evolve with it and go from there.
All photography by Coy Jennings