Now that she owns two different boutiques, Katie Thompson has had to adjust to her new clientele. Some of the most notable changes have been dealing with customers who don’t regularly break into fits of tears, don’t wear tutus and don’t still have their baby teeth.
Thompson owns CupKates, a mini-cupcake boutique known for its little girl tea parties. She just opened Katie August, a women’s shoe store she hopes will become known for its big girl deals.
“Everything is affordable but without that Forever 21 look,” she says.
The big seller the day the store opened was a floral-embellished flip-flop modeled after luxury designer Valentino’s. It’s $19.95, a fraction of the cost of its inspiration, which might explain why 22 pairs sold in five days.
The idea for a shoe store arose when Thompson, working as a cheerleading coach at Faith Lutheran Middle School & High School, overheard mothers complaining about having to drive all the way to Fashion Show mall for a decent pair of shoes. Thompson looked around Tivoli Village and saw both a shortcut for those moms and one for her, too.
With CupKates also at Tivoli, she and her co-owner brother Will Thompson could easily run another store just steps away. Plus, she’s pretty fond of shoes.
“Not one woman I’ve ever known has said she has too many shoes,” she says.
Katie Thompson is a self-described girly girl. She loves Disney princesses, she gasped when Mr. Big proposed to Carrie with a Manolo Blahnik on “Sex and the City: The Movie” and she has a relationship with each pair of shoes in her closet.
She once bought a pair of shoes in Calistoga, Calif., that she’s never forgotten about, mainly because they left her closet far before their time. They were wooden platforms in leopard print with pink lace on the toes. Her dog turned the beloved shoes into chews, but she continued wearing them. Until her mom tossed them out.
Thompson talks about those shoes like the ones “that got away.”
She says women have this connection with their footwear because trying them on doesn’t require a fitting room. Shoes fit no matter what time of month it is or how much baby weight is left to drop.
Simply put, once you purchase them, the fashion relationship between shoe and woman is unconditional.
She’s counting on that sentiment to make Katie August, also her first and middle names, successful.
Other than budget finds, such as recycled jelly flats for $42 and sunglasses inspired by Oliver Peoples that sell for $18.95, there are ABS nude platform wedge gladiators in patent leather priced at about $140. Katie August has the Las Vegas-exclusive brand Vogue, too, which offers fall shoes such as a $110 velvet Mary Jane with gold ribbon.
The store is small, decorated in eggshell and black. A chevron print covers the floor and shoes are displayed in refurbished wooden furniture from Opportunity Village. Dramatic curtains are pulled back with stilettos and there are no shoe boxes on the floor.
Accessories are displayed throughout the store, such as an $88 Inzi black patent tote, ideal for a career woman, and the ubiquitous Alexander McQueen-inspired clutch with the finger holes easier for “clutching” that sells for $68.95. There’s also sparkly Oh Baby Couture shoes for little ones for $26.95 and floppy sunhats for $24.95.
Between this boutique and CupKates, Thompson’s brother Will is surrounded by estrogen.
“Yeah, it’s something people like to give me a hard time about,” he says. “But like my dad always says, ‘Chef Boyardee is the face of that brand but it’s not just him stirring up ravioli. No one knows that better than Katie and I.”
They plan to eventually expand both boutiques, perhaps downtown. For now, they have their hands full with the two.
Katie remembers when their first shoe shipment came through the mail. Like the Cinderella quote goes, she told Will, “This pair of shoes is going to change our lives.”
Contact Xazmin Garza at email@example.com or 702-383-0477. Follow her on Twitter @startswithanx.