July 2018

Too Belles: Absolutely!

Author: Kitty Bartell | Photographer: M.Kat Photography

Jackie Wells-Lindstrom and her “too belles” Madelyne & Chloe Wells enjoy a picnic at the Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn

Livingston Dress by Lauren James – $134,
Floral Knot Dress by Draper James – $98,
Seersucker Ruffle Dress by Draper James – $150.
All accessories and shoes available at Too Belles

I am a belle, absolutely,” said Jackie Wells-Lindstrom, the effervescent proprietor of her family-owned boutique, Too Belles on Hilton Head Island, where her vision of fashion, friends, fun, and family have come to life. Born and raised in Columbia, South Carolina, her mother ran a prom and pageant store, where the seeds of style and a passion for fashion took root. “The store was her hobby and was open by appointment only. My mother let me go to market and buy some different products. I did trunk shows—mostly gift stuff, a lot of baby things, jewelry, and purses. I had so much fun doing it.”

Wells-Lindstrom learned she also had a passion for, and was particularly good at, talking. “Talking to people is my favorite thing,” she said. “I feel like as I get to know my customers they become part of the family.” All that personality and belle-minded business sense first took her to Clemson University, then to a successful career in corporate sales. “I was legitimately at the height of my career [in advertising sales] when I decided it just didn’t mean enough anymore.

“I wanted to do something to make a difference, but I wanted to do something that I loved. I am a huge history buff. I took my transcript to the state and asked, ‘Can I go share my passion for history with young kids?’ They said, yes, please.” After teaching in Columbia, Wells-Lindstrom moved to the Lowcountry, where she taught history to sixth and seventh graders in Beaufort County, until she became that boutique owner who becomes your best fashion friend.

Emily Dress by Lauren James – $44,
Brielle Dress by All For Color – $64,
Printed Poplin Short by Lauren James – $52,
Reagan Ruffle Top by Lauren James – $56,
Weekender Duffel Bag – $68.
All accessories available at Too Belles

“Too Belles is a family business where there is something for all the girls,” Wells-Lindstrom said. “Mothers and daughters shop together. Grandmothers shop here. My mom shops here, I shop here, and my twins [16-year-old Chloe and Madelyne] shop here. Granted, we don’t all pick out the same things, but there is something for everyone.”

Opened in August 2016 after a stint as an online-only shop, Too Belles is a family project. “During construction, I came in and the subcontractor had Tucker (the family’s youngest member) with a nail gun, helping to put this together.” Filling out the family roster are Wells-Lindstrom’s husband, Todd Lindstrom, assistant general manager at Hilton Head Plantation and the New Jersey boy who met and married his Scarlet O’Hara; Trevor, 19, a student at Clemson; and Gavin, 23, who is studying at USCB.

A self-professed clothes horse and shoe fanatic … “I have over a hundred pairs of shoes, right Chloe?” “Right Mom.” … Wells-Lindstrom doesn’t want to be remembered as that woman who sold you a shirt. “I want to be the person that you remember when you’re going to dinner and somebody says, you look so nice, I love that shirt, and it makes you feel good. I’m the person who helped you get to that point.”

Like your very best girlfriend, Wells-Lindstrom will tell it like it is. “If I tell you that I like something on you, it’s genuine because I like it. If it’s not quite right, I may not be as blunt as I am with my children, but I will say why don’t we try a different size, or I might suggest a different color. Sometimes they know, and I just have to agree.” For some customers, she’ll push a little because she knows the juice will be worth the squeeze. “I am obviously a risk-taker, otherwise I would not have opened my own business. That helps with encouraging customers to take some risks that they don’t know they’re prepared for.” Whether browsing just for fun, or looking for an outfit for that particular occasion, customers are very likely to come away feeling like they’ve made a friend. A friend who has a well-honed sense of style, and an appreciation for matching the piece with the person.

When not at the store or shuttling Madelyne & Chloe to various dance competitions, you can find Jackie enjoying tacos & coffee from Java Burrito in the Village at Wexford.

Bell Sleeve Shift Dress by Draper James – $115,
Pretty Pineapple Dress by Draper James – $88,
Corbin Dress by Draper James – $125.
All accessories available at Too Belles

“I grew up in a very rural area that was not very fashion-forward,” she said. “I was, however, very fashion-forward, at a time when fashion-forward was not cool. Now, I’m on-trend. Don’t get me wrong, I love following the styles, but what I have learned and have come to appreciate is classic style. That’s the key to good fashion: balancing trend and classic fashion.” When asked if any of those early-days trends hung in there to become classics for Wells-Lindstrom, she said, “Riding boots. You cannot go wrong with riding boots. I don’t care how old you are or what year it is.”

Opening the store for women like herself, Wells-Lindstrom’s relaxing and playful vibe of Wells-Lindstrom is aligned with her shop, where the selection of clothing, shoes (yes, there is definite whimsy in this department), accessories, and gifts are affordably priced and brimming with style. Emerging from the fitting room in a pretty, new dress and twirling in front of the mirror, glimpsing everything from totes, wallets, clutches, hats, and flip-flops, to necklaces, bracelets, bikinis, dresses, shorts, and tees, is highly likely. The affordability mission translates to fashion and shoe lines like Lauren James, Sloan Ranger, Chinese Laundry, Mud Pie, and so many more. “You can’t get more Southern than Mud Pie,” Wells-Lindstrom said. With an unassuming “Sale” rack at the back of the shop, customers have learned that there is no need to look-out for annual sales or big markdowns; the prices are always within reach every day.

Wells-Lindstrom is looking forward to sharing her selections from Draper James, the clothing and accessories line from the quintessential queen of Southern belles, Reese Witherspoon. Too Belles will be carrying a colorful, sweet selection of the line throughout the summer, and in the fall, their affordably-priced holiday line will arrive … too much fun!

Wells-Lindstrom has created a place where her family life is woven into the fabric of her business, where her family of customers become her friends, and where her vibrant style and personality thrive. Too Belles … absolutely.

Too Belles is in the Fresh Market Shoppes at 890 William Hilton Parkway, Suite 82, Hilton Head Island. For more information, please call (843) 715-3276 or visit shoptoobelles.com.

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