June 2016

Louette: A Boutique - Superlative Shopping Finds a New Home

Author: Kitty Bartell | Photographer: M.Kat Photography

The entrance to Louette’s new location, in the Village at Wexford

Building is a text that runs through most of Heather Quinn’s life. Having just completed the move to a new locale for her lovely Hilton Head Island boutique, Louette, she is looking forward to building on her original vision for her shop as a place where she said, “You could find a gift for your mom or sister, but also where we would do these amazing community events that would get people together. That’s what really drew us to our new location at The Village at Wexford.”

The practical matters related to moving from their original spot involved Quinn’s husband Brian Quinn to a great extent. Brian is a premier home builder and owner of The Twelve Oaks Group.

“Brian is behind a lot of the design of Louette,” Quinn said. “All the wood in the shop is reclaimed wood. We took the old wood from the shop in the Village Exchange and repurposed it in this new shop. The wood is from a structure up in Pennsylvania that dates back to the 1920s. Brian actually drove down to South Georgia for some more wood from an old Kentucky church. We took everything that was working and really listened to our regulars—our customers who have been with us from the beginning—and listened to what they love about Louette and ran with all of that.”

Louette’s original 900-square-foot shop isn’t growing in size, only in scope. “We’re keeping the same vibe,” Quinn said of their new 900-square-foot digs. “A lot of our customers have expressed that they really loved that our shop was quaint and really different, so it was a real test to find the right spot.”

The Village at Wexford became the clear choice for Quinn’s goals. Their May 2016 “Women in Business” event was just the kind of outreach in which Quinn believes retailers can really excel. The Village at Wexford was a place where visitors and locals could find Louette among its excellent restaurants and diverse boutiques, with a community of retailers who supported one another and the local community. “What’s happened as we’ve gone through the process of deciding to move here and build our new shop has been really heartwarming,” Quinn shared. “Retail can be a bit of a competitive business. I’ve always been open with other business owners that I meet … I’m new; I really need your help. I’m not really a competitive person. Gifted Hilton Head, Island Child, Java Burrito, Porter & Pig—everyone has been just so friendly and amazing. I think it will help us all. You’re only as good as your competitors.”

Antique furniture displays lacy lingerie , Large Silver Hoop Earrings, Heather Quinn, owner of Louette, A thoughtful hostess gift in the form of a book, Mauve tank accessorized with a Little Fish Boateak necklace

A University of Georgia graduate, Quinn built Louette by co-mingling her Atlanta-based marketing/PR work; planning big-time fundraisers, where she learned a great deal about retail and met some inspiring shop owners; her belief in supporting women in business; and her own involvement with The TEARS Foundation’s Harper Project. “I didn’t just want to open a fashion boutique; because of my background, I wanted it to be more,” Quinn said.

Named after her very chic grandmother (Quinn notes: not the cookie-making kind), Louette is a place to find delightful gifts and home accessories, bath and beauty, stationery and paper gems, clothing and accessories, and sweet layette treats like organic swaddle blankets. With her creative muses always at work, Quinn built Louette from her own artistic sensibilities. “In all honesty I would love to be the maker,” she said. “I am in awe of people who can make and do—the heart that goes into it. It’s been really fun for me working with some of the designers and makers since we’ve been open.”

A sampling of the lines that are the foundation of Louette’s collection includes friend Lissy Rawl’s Little Fish Boateak charming line of jewelry, paper goods from friend Jessica Berinato’s Atlanta-based Breathless Paper Co., leather goods by Satchel out of Savannah, and gifts by Belle & Union. Amour Vert organic clothing and Yala’s bamboo and silk pieces are spot-on for Lowcountry dressing.

Today, Quinn’s creative energies are fueled by her children (toddler Ella Grace and six-month-old Rose), the local community and her travel community. “I’m very visual,” Quinn said. “I have vision boards at home; I do vision boards in my office. Right now I feel like my girls inspire me the most. I’ve found a lot of cool lines by looking at things for my babies.”

With family in Manhattan, Quinn visits New York at least once a year where everything from industry markets to street vendors also feed her affinity for delighting her customers and building on her vision.

A big part of Louette’s éclat, Quinn credits to the team she calls family. “My Louette ladies are lifesavers. I really have them involved in as much of Louette as is possible. They help with events; they help with merchandising. I’m always asking their opinions. I am a firm believer that you are only as good as the people you surround yourself with. Our store manager Sarah Elisabeth used to come into the shop a lot; she has a big personality and would squeal with delight. About her twentieth time coming in, I asked if she wanted a job. I have amazing girls that work with me.”

Building is in Quinn’s DNA. Whether building a business or a family, building a retail or philanthropic community, she puts all the right pieces in place and appreciates the people and personalities that are a part of each facet of her life. “We recently celebrated our nine-year wedding anniversary,” Quinn said. “Brian was actually in our garage hand-staining wood for my shop. Not much has changed; he was the only guy in college making stuff all the time.” Making stuff (think curating) all the time herself, Quinn has taken Louette to a new address and again has created a sublime, cozy shop where hand-selected goodies are a part of her superlative vision. “We’re always building something,” she said. “It’s constantly evolving.” 

Louette is located at 1000 William Hilton Parkway, J7F, in the Village at Wexford, Hilton Head Island. For more information, please visit louetteboutique.com, call (843) 686-4141 or check out their blog at louettelifestyle.com. You will also find Louette on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram.

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