April 2012

Radiance - A Refreshing Shopping Experience For the Young-Minded

Author: David Tobias

If anyone has any doubt that we have turned the corner on the dour economy or that spring is bursting full-bloom out of that weak excuse for a winter, just step inside Radiance, a delightfully charming women’s specialty store in the shadow of Harbour Town’s famous lighthouse.

Radiance is a place where you’re instantly transported away from everyday worries and concerns into a small world (600 square feet) of ingenious, colorful and lovely women’s fashion items. Every one, it seems, holds your attention for cleverness, and whimsy, but also for practicality and affordability.

Inside the door, you’re met with pleasing smells of fun perfume, fresh fabrics, stylish leather boots, tops, jeans and fashionable sandals, all mixing perfectly to make you linger and smile.

You might think it wouldn’t take long to walk directly across 600 square feet—about five long strides in a straight line—but the Radiance layout encourages a circular tour that takes you past jaunty fedoras made of jute, citrus-colored tunics and tops, eco-friendly jewelry, and Butter London brand nail polish with cute names like “Knees Up” (British slang for a party), “Tea with the Queen,” “Yummy Mummy” and “Knackered.”
The shop is the creation of its equally charming and clever owner, Linda Richards, a Brit who, along with her husband David, opened the store in 2008 at the beginning of the economic slide. She has managed to survive just fine and continues to draw faithful visitors and local shoppers.

Initially, Richards thought the shop’s target market would be women ages 25-45, but she’s found that the range is much wider. “I opened the shop because there really wasn’t anywhere I would go shopping,” Richards said. “My tastes are for things that are fashionable, affordable, stylish, and yes, eclectic. It seems that appeals to women of a variety of ages, but especially those who are young-minded.”

Richards says that while the shop’s styles may be fashion-forward, they are not New York fashion-forward. “We’re as fashion-forward as Hilton Head can handle,” she said.
By the time you’ve taken a lap around the small store, which has two fitting rooms and a storage room in back, you start to see items you didn’t notice the first way around—things like Good Works bracelets with messages on them such as “Make every day count,” “Be extraordinary,” and “Live, laugh, love.”

For some simple, light-hearted fun, Richards has begun a “girls night out” reception the third Thursday of each month from 5-8 p.m. She calls it “a great place to hang after work, have a glass of wine, do some shopping and enjoy the brilliant sunsets over Calibogue Sound.” She’s also posting on Facebook so Radiance fans can see what’s new.

Richards says her favorite part of owning Radiance is staying true to her initial reasons for opening it: designing a store where she would want to shop and offering a trendy place where the “young-minded” can feel good when they come in and when they leave with their purchases without breaking the budget.
If Radiance is any indication, perhaps the economy is coming back with fresh colors, mix and match belts, Judith March dresses cinched at the waist, skinny jeans, and Hanky Pankies.

Now, isn’t that refreshing?

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