Q&A —  Spinning Success: FM Boutique Expands to Meet Its Growing Demand in Vinyl and Fashion

Photo courtesy of FM Boutique
Photo courtesy of FM Boutique

FM Boutique, a beloved local business based in the heart of Denver, responds to the growing demand for fashion and vinyl in the Mile High City by expanding its store to a more spacious location. With the recent move to a larger space, FM has expanded its interior, adding a cozy couch, a DJ booth, and a larger inventory of both its vinyl and trendy apparel. Fancy Matthew, FM Boutique’s founder and owner, has cultivated an ambiance for their customers, captivating all the fashionistas and music enthusiasts to explore a perfect balance of trendsetting clothes and a unique collection of records within a comfortable yet eye-catching store. Guests are encouraged to return for FM’s weekly in-store DJ sets and complimentary drinks that further elevate the customer’s experience, creating fond memories in their new favorite local business.

303 Magazine recently spoke with Fancy Matthew about the store’s recent move, the history the boutique, how they curate the vinyls they sell, upcoming in-store DJ sets and more.

Read — 70+ Local Denver Boutiques You Should Know About

303 Magazine: What’s the origin story of FM Boutique of how and when it got started?

FM: In 2005, I had just returned to Denver after a 5-year stint in TX, opening and running a coffeehouse. I planned to open another coffee shop, but I decided I wanted out of the food and beverage industry. I noticed that Denver was lacking in the types of indie boutiques that I had frequented in towns like Austin, Portland and Montreal that felt more cosmopolitan and representative of wider cultural trends. I had recently befriended Matt Labarge (Sputnik owner and Hi-Dive founder) and set my sights on the space right next to Sputnik on the corner of Ellsworth and South Broadway. Everyone was telling me to go to what we now call “RiNo” or somewhere north of the city but Broadway’s creative edgy side had always appealed to me. In the 90s, I shopped at its vintage stores and DJed or played in bands at the original Skylark and 7 South. Matt put me in touch with the landlord and I quickly learned that the current tenant was about to leave. The rest is history.

    303: What inspired you to open a boutique specializing in fashion and vinyl records in Denver?

    FM: FM had been a clothing boutique for about 13 years before I decided to introduce a record store into the brand. I started DJing vinyl exclusively about 12 years ago, so it was just the store taking a chance on another passion of mine. Luck would have it that I met Seth Nichols, a very talented DJ and online vinyl store owner (Love Vinyl Records or LVR), at a party in Denver where he had set up a pop-up record shop. I was impressed with his dance selections and quickly invited him to host a pop-up in FM. The success of that one pop-up motivated me to offer him a permanent tenant residence in the back of our space. I felt that Denver (and Denver’s DJs) needed more direct access to such a well-rounded and thoughtful vinyl resource. That’s all a roundabout way of saying that the record store is a serendipitous clash of playing records and meeting a talented vinyl buyer/DJ around the same time.

    303: Can you talk about the selection process for the vinyl records you have in your store?

      FM: Seth Nichols gets all the credit for the LVR shop. We definitely give him feedback about what people are asking for and what sections we’d like to see expand but Seth is the man behind that magic. He feeds what works so that the store reflects Denver’s music/DJ community and takes risks when he feels strongly about something. With that said, LVR definitely has a very unique point of view. [Nichols’] larger techno, house and rock sections clearly express his personal tastes in music.

      303: What genres of music do you primarily focus on curating for your collection?

      FM: In general, upcoming DJ sets play a major role in what I’m buying at any given time. Most recently, I’ve been buying a lot of disco edits and psych rock. I’m also focused on acquiring a lot of late 80s/ early 90s UK psychedelic music that I never bought on wax back in the day. I tend to get stuck on certain labels and use them as a guidepost for where to look next. In general, I lean heavily towards deeper, darker stuff.

        303: Your store recently moved to a new retail space, what type of changes if any can we expect from its new home?

        FM: Our new, bigger location allowed us to expand the record store and add a 900sq/ft lounge/event-type space where we host Saturday vinyl DJs and other creative events that align with the brand. We outfitted the lounge space like a living room lounge with mid-century Scandinavian furniture, a vintage Klipsch hi-fi system and a custom DJ booth. Local vintage store, MEEK, also opened a spectacular store in the very back of the space. 

          303: Can you describe the feeling or atmosphere customers can expect inside your store?

          FM: We’ve been getting a lot of feedback from first-timers who discovered us after we moved one door down. The common response is a basic awe-inspiring confusion/surprise as they venture farther into the space. You start in a design-heavy clothing boutique and end in a hi-fi lounge with another retailer, Meek, nestled even deeper beyond our “listening room.” Overall, the space is hard to define and full of surprises. 

            303: You also host regular in-house DJs. How do you feel this enhances your customers’ experience?

            FM: I’m not totally sure since I don’t think that way per se. I’m always just asking myself how I can do something that inspires me and makes Denver more exciting to live in. What I hope is that the experience raises the bar in terms of the type of customer service we expect from places we go to spend our money or just hang out. When you enter FM, you enter my home in a sense. When you come to my house, I want you to feel cared for. The whole experience is really an exercise in good hosting.

              303: Are there any other special events or collaborations that we can look forward to?

              FM: In May and June, we’ve got some exciting Saturday DJs on the list, and on May 18th, we host a popup collab with the clasp-free jewelry brand LOVE WELD. We’re planning some exciting Chef events, and we’re starting to record more live DJ sets for release. I anticipate the entire store will continue to grow, and I hope to make more announcements around the backspace soon.

                303: What do you think sets your boutique apart from other record stores in Denver?

                FM: Ultimately, we are much more than a record store and a clothing store. Sometimes you stop in to buy a shirt or find a new record but sometimes you end up finding out where to eat that night, what party to go to or maybe even discover your new favorite DJ. It’s important to me and my staff that if you are visiting or even if you live here, you experience some of the most exciting and unique things that Denver has to offer.

                  303: How do you see your store evolving and growing in the future, both in terms of what it offers and how it connects to the different communities in Denver?

                    FM: I’m very much a planner, but when it comes to the creative stuff, I try not to forecast too far into the future. I hope we can continue to help make Denver a safe, supportive, and exciting place for everyone and also keep pushing the city towards being genuine yet sophisticated and, yes, a little weird. We’re also getting more involved in our immediate community and thinking a lot about where we want to see Broadway in 10 years in terms of what types of businesses and people define the neighborhood’s character. It’s incredibly important that Broadway maintains its funky, creative spirit and continues to be a destination for art, music, and independently-owned stores. There’s a smart and healthy way to grow a city and I hope we can be a voice in that conversation.

                    Discover more from 303 Magazine

                    Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

                    Continue reading