Walking down Grand Commons Avenue in Fairfax, Virginia you will see a variety of stores. And at the end of the street, you see the Giant “Camden” sign in the distance. Also above the shops, there are huge balconies looking out into the shopping of Fairfax Corner. At night the street is full of lights from the signs and strings of small lights cross back and forth to make you feel like you are in SoHo rather than in Northern Virginia. The store fronts all have amazing window displays, but none compare to the windows at Undeniable Boutique.
I had the amazing opportunity of meeting with owner, Alicia Russman, to learn all about her and the store’s past, present, and future. It was a cold Thursday evening, and I tried my best to have the perfect outfit planned to wear to this fabulous boutique. Though my outfit failed in my point of view (I forgot to bring a spare shirt to wear after work, and had to wear a button up shirt that did not match) I managed to not let it affect me too much. I walked into the store and immediately went to the racks of clothes, touching all of the different materials and fully taking in the experience of what it means to shop in this store. I eyeballed, and dreamed of owning each piece of amazing jewelry on their accessory wall. As I made my wish list, Russman came to greet me. Dressed in a black tunic and her hair pulled back, she shook my hand with a smile on her face and I didn’t feel inadequate or unworthy of being in her store. We met in the back room and I pulled out my favorite pen and Betsey Johnson notebook prepared to take vigorous notes take in every bit of knowledge she could give me.
Undeniable Boutique is the place to go and have a destination shopping experience. Imagine going to South Beach and shopping, but in Northern Virginia. The clothing and accessories are bright, fun, funky and most certainly bold. Buying a piece at UB means buying something that will have everyone looking at you, in a good way, because you have something on that is not in just any other store.
The Undeniable Boutique customer is the lady who likes to standout. She is a risk taker and likes playful clothing. When I asked Russman what the demographic of the customers at UB are, she said, “It’s more of a psycho graphic”. They have customers from the trendy college girl who buys a pair of earrings, to the businesswoman who needs a stand out piece for a night out in Fairfax. “I describe the store as Mad Men meets That 70’s Show”.
There are a lot of behind the scenes tasks that need to happen when owning your own boutique. Trade shows are the perfect way to get a line of clothing at wholesale price. Meeting with designers and merchants selling what is going to be hot for the upcoming season is very important. UB does a great job at continually adding new pieces on an almost daily basis. Russman does not buy in New York City. She tends to go to trade shows in Atlanta, Chicago and Las Vegas. When buying at trade shows, her philosophy is “if you can’t think of 6 customers that would buy this in the store, then don’t buy it”
The windows at UB are a stand out from anything else I have ever seen. Each month, Visual Merchandiser, Jennifer Tidd, changes the windows based on a collaboration of ideas between Russman and herself. The theme of 2014 has been “Undeniably _”, filling the blank with words like “euphoric”, “evolving” and “buoyant”. They never want to have cliché windows. For example, this Halloween, the window featured wood nymphs with pointed ears and birds’ nests on their heads.
After two hours of talking to Russman, I felt completely at home. To be honest, I did not want to leave the store. Every time I drive past the store in the morning, I can’t help but slow down to see the windows. I have stopped in a couple of times to see new merchandise. I have “liked” them on facebook, and every time I see a new top or dress, I want it. The next time you stop by Fairfax, Virginia, be sure to stop into Undeniable Boutique. You will not be disappointed.