Thursday, November 29, 2012

Declaration Boutique and Events

I am beyond excited to be sharing with you my favorite place to shop...well favorite place to be actually. A few months ago my sister Jamie stumbled across a boutique while in St. Augustine. The text went something like this...

J-YOU ARE GOING TO DIE
Me-uhhhhh, why, what's up???
J-I JUST FOUND THE ULTIMATE BOUTIQUE!!!!
Me-I still have my PJs on, I'll be there in 5 min.

My sister and I owned a boutique together a few years ago so we both can appreciate a really, really good one when we see it. The time, love and pure agony it takes to run a successfully unique boutique is a gift. Declaration Boutique and Events is just such a boutique. What happened when I pulled up and took my first step inside was truly magical.

My first thought was...how in the world is this store in St. Augustine? It is straight out of New York or Chicago. How lucky are we to have something this special right at our back door! Not only is the aesthetic so adorable it is little overwhelming, the owner, Lara was just as fabulous. When checking out at the counter you could just tell how much she loved her store by the way she wrapped every single little item, regardless of price, like it was the most significant item ever purchased. I didn't want to take anything out of the bag because it was just too stinkin cute inside!
 
It is one of those places that I thought, maybe I should keep this place to myself because I want everyone to wonder how I always find the best gifts! But I decided that I love this store so much that everyone should stop what they are doing right now and go there. Seriously.

After quite a few shopping trips to DBE, I'm sure she thought I was stalking them :) I asked her if she would mind sitting down with me to chat a little bit about her and how my new favorite hang-out came to be so I could share with you. She was kind enough to oblige and my shop crush just deepened :)

Lara grew up in small town PA, where the shopping was scarce (they just got a Target, woo-hew). She was able to travel around the country for competitive dance which allowed her to visit big shopping meccas such as Las Vegas, Chicago and New York. In college, where she studied fashion, she was also able to travel to Italy and France. But her trips to New York and Chicago were where she found her biggest source of inspiration. She loved the feeling of finding that hidden gem of a boutique. She knew she wanted a boutique of her own to be that for someone else and in 2010 that dream became a reality. She started with a smaller location where she really focused on helping new brides and styling wedding events. On April 13th of this year she moved Declaration to it's current location to hone in on the dream gift boutique. She is lucky enough to run the shoppe with her hubby of 1-1/2 years, Steven (aren't they adorable!!!).

She describes the store as a welcoming place full of gifts that anyone could come in and buy a special treat. You can come in and spend $10 and feel just as special as if you spent a couple hundred dollars. Because Declaration is located in what is probably considered a touristy area she feels like her clientele is about 50/50 make up of locals verses out-of-towners. More of us ladies from Jacksonville and surrounding areas are discovering the rejuvenation of uptown St. Augustine and making a day out of shopping, eating and relaxing...which fits perfectly with the store's feel.


Lara explained to me her take on the art of gift giving. She recommends grouping multiple items together based on a theme, be it by color or jewelry or personal interest. It forms a more cohesive gift experience. For example, if you are looking for a holiday gift for your best girlfriend...maybe a scarf a bracelet and journal...build it up, make a basket, add some ribbons...voila, the perfect gift.

Speaking of gift baskets, this is a niche Lara is perfecting. She hopes to offer online gift baskets in the coming year. She can help you put together an amazing gift basket from items in the store that is guaranteed to impress anyone. The hardest part is going to be narrowing down what you want to give away and what you will want to keep!


Lara takes her time selecting what she sells in the store. She loves the thrill of the hunt, searching for an item that is just right. She doesn't rely on the big Markets to find her goods. She wants you to be surprised when shopping, not seeing something you have seen in a dozen other stores.


Her favorite item in the store is a whale ornament she found while on her honeymoon in Hawaii. She scoured her sources until she found it. It means something to her as do so many items she selects. That is what sets her store apart. She is the furthest thing away from a big-box store. She cares and it shows.


A very special thank you to Lara and Steven for allowing me to hang out and talk shop with you guys. And as always, allowing me to drool over the unique finds you serve up on a vintage platter. As I like to describe it, DBE is like the best parts of Anthropologie except affordable and more fabulous :) Enjoy some eye candy to tide you over until you experience it for yourself...


 



















Now to all of my local peeps....grab your bff's, your mom or your man and plan a trip to Declaration. There are gifts for every occasion.You can finish up all of your holiday shopping as well as get yourself a little something that you deserve!

Tell them Wendy sent you!!!

Declaration Boutique & Events
77 San Marco Ave #2
St. Augustine, FL 32084






2 comments:

  1. Well now I guess I have to drive to St.A! ADORABLE!! Definitely need to check this place out!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I just mapped the shop to see where it is. There's a cupcake shop across the street?! A little shopping followed by a sweet treat! I will make it a point to go and tell them you sent me.

    ReplyDelete