Saturday, November 29, 2008

By George in Austin

By GeorgeThis week, the New York Times featured By George in Austin in a piece on the struggle of independent boutiques in these budget conscious times.

Shopping -- even when it's just window shopping -- is always a highlight of our girls' trips. When we were in Austin, the legendary By George was the first store we hit. Even though we're on a tighter budget these days, the selection was so special and unique compared to what we've seen in big department stores, we bought a Rag & Bone dress. We can't wait to start wearing it to holiday parties this month. And because we bought it in Austin and haven't seen the dress in other stores, we know no one will show up in the same outfit.

The point of the Times piece is that independent stores have it tougher than department stores or chain stores, which have deeper pockets and greater leverage due to their size. The strength of the boutique store -- the good ones, that is -- is that it knows its customers better and can offer a cherry picked selection of the season's best fashions. By George not only did this, it baked them up in a pie served topped with fresh whipped cream.

So keep on shopping at By George and other boutique stores. We realize those 40 and 50 percent off sales at Saks, Neimans, Bloomies, and Macy's are hard to pass by. But buying something on sale isn't a bargain unless you really need it or love it and it fits you. And this recession isn't going to last forever. We need boutiques for their hand selected fashions, better service and unique shopping environments. Go on--just have a look.

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