Tuesday, January 26, 2010

New Kids on the Block: Bobbles & Lace Turns Up the Volume

  Every time I return home from school, be it for a week, a month, or a summer, I can bet that my friends and I will pay one particular boutique more visits than any other. That boutique is Bobbles & Lace, a little slice of high fashion amidst the more conservative clothing shops common on the North Shore. It came as no surprise that on my most recent visit, the cocktail dress clad manikins stood poised behind a large glass window that now boasts a most deserved Best of Boston accolade: “Best Party Dress 2009”. Considering the percentage of party dresses in my friends’ closets that came straight from the ever changing racks of the sparkly, Washington St. wonder, I can’t imagine a more deserving recipient. 

Boggles & Lace’s fun, trendy clothes and unique jewelry are not the store’s only selling point. Ninety-nine percent of the boutique’s clothing is under eighty dollars, and that’s before sale items are taken into account. Currently, the store is having a thirty dollar jean and shoe sale. That doesn’t mean the european denim and funky pumps are thirty dollars off, it means they cost a flat thirty dollars. The North End store, the second of three locations in Marblehead, Boston, and Newburyport, has two racks of clothing which are always fifty percent off of the ticketed price. Lindsay Rose Rando, one of the two owners of the Marblehead store, calls Bobbles & Lace “a family business”. She is the niece of co-owner Valerie White. Lindsay’s sister-in-law heads the Newburyport store, while her mother-in-law frequents all three locations. 

Both Lindsay and Valerie are veterans of the fashion industry, albeit in pretty different senses. Lindsay’s careers have taken her from LA to London, as stylist, model, and fashionista. Valerie’s job list is expansive as well, from selling jewelry off of a push cart on Newbury St. to serving as director of merchandising for a national store. According to Lindsay, the popular boutique was “kind of like the next step”. She and Valerie have never been happier, claiming that they have a warm familiarity with all of their regular customers (of which there are many). From size to personal style, the fashion loving family is generally able to spot a specific piece that will work for their particular shop’s frequenters; “You can go to Macy’s or something but never see the same face”. Not here; just name the occasion and trust that the perfect little dress/lacey top/kitten heels, will find their way to your dressing room.

While faces may remain consistent, the clothing certainly doesn’t. Lindsay and Valerie handpick all of the pieces that Bobbles & Lace carries, buying one of each piece of jewelry and one size in each piece of clothing. The philosophy? “You snooze you loose” claims Rando smilingly. While you may have to become a more motivated shopper to catch your perfect item, the exertion is worth the security that you wont be one of twenty wearing it to the party. 


Valerie is Bobbles, named after a store she worked in previously also located on Washington St., and Lindsay is Lace. The combination is, according to both Best of Boston and their ever growing army of faithful customers, a winning one. It’s a rare shopping experience when there seems to be an equal exchange between customer and retailer that goes beyond material. Both Lindsay and Valerie are genuinely happy in what they do, a fact that contributes as much to the store’s popularity as do their choices in merchandise. The same holds true for the family store’s two other locations. The key to their good fortune (besides passion and hard work)? Lindsay summates it with ease: “High fashion in a small town: good recipe for success”. 

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