Helping clients look their best
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 30/11/2022 (190 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
When regular clients come into Investment Pieces (IP) Boutique to shop, the staff already know their colour preferences, the brands they favour, and their clothing size.
Dianne Szelag, owner of the shop at 749 St. Mary’s Rd., and store manager Agi Libor view their loyal customers as clients and strive to treat them well. This includes contacting them when new clothing arrives that might match their tastes and special ordering when needed.
“My goal is to provide quality fashion at a reasonable price. I want women to look good,” Szelag said.
Szelag, who lives in St. Norbert, trained as a fashion designer then entered the financial planning field over 30 years ago. When international markets plummeted in 2008, she took stock of her career and decided to embark on a new adventure. “I was looking for something a little more fun.”
Knowing the value of owning property, she looked for a site to invest in. She demolished the previous structure at 749 St. Mary’s Rd. and had a new building constructed for her use. IP Boutique opened in 2011. She now has her office above the store and says she’s been pleased with her choice of location as it’s easy to reach from most parts of the city.
Along with top-notch customer service, Szelag is committed to supporting Canadian clothing manufacturers. She said about 85 per cent of her stock is made in Canada with the two biggest brands being Joseph Ribkoff and Sympli. The store also carries jewelry by Canadian designers Anne-Marie Chagnon, from Montreal, and recently added Newfoundland jewelry maker Elizabeth Burry’s creations. Scarves from InFocus, a Canadian company, are also featured.
IP Boutique carries sizes 2 to 18. Szelag said today’s clients are mainly looking for well-made clothes that are comfortable and flattering. An enduring trend for the coming holiday season is a pair of black pants teamed with a brightly coloured sweater or blouse that might be embellished with beading or sequins for a bit of bling. Red and the jewel tones of plum and teal are popular for tops.
Other clothing retailers are dependent on online ordering, but Szelag said the vast majority of her clients prefer shopping in-person. “Mature women need to try clothes on to get the right fit.”
With this in mind, she said, she made sure that the store’s fitting rooms are spacious and comfortable. Staff are on hand to help clients find the right size and style.
“We really want people to look good,” Szelag said.
IP Boutique is open Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Andrea Geary is a community correspondent for St. Vital. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
St. Vital community correspondent
Andrea Geary is a community correspondent for St. Vital and was once the community journalist for The Headliner.