Studio Luxe Boutique
A warm welcome greets shoppers at the quaint Studio Luxe Boutique in Warrenton, Virginia. In 2019, Brandi Norrell opened the boutique featuring stylish womens’ apparel and accessories and even home décor merchandise. The focus from start to finish is on a customer’s experience — friendly staff and trendy, colorful clothing.
Norrell explained that she didn’t have any retail experience prior to opening the boutique. Instead she has a great deal of passion and an MBA. “I always enjoyed clothing and styling. I always enjoyed getting dressed every day! It is what motivated me and it was something I was passionate about,” she said. “The store looks like the inside of me. It’s all about a feeling, not research. It is all about what feels good and right.”
“We cater to women. Period,” Norrell described. “Our goal is to have people feel better when they walk out of the store than when they came in.” This philosophy has been successful and Norrell shared that the emphasis is on the people — they are the priority, not the sale.
Studio Luxe offers a wide range of sizes from XS through 3X. “Our best-sellers are our boho style (outfits) — they sell through the quickest,” she said. The boutique features clothing that provides flexibility in terms of how it can be worn. For instance an outfit can be worn to work and be suitable for an evening outing. She described that all the apparel is selected on the basis of making customers feel good about themselves.
Norrell’s overall goal is to connect with the customers both inside the physical store as well as on social media. She relies on her instincts and passion when managing the business, and that approach is paying off — Norrell launched a second store called Little Luxe, which offers apparel for little girls and has been as successful as Studio Luxe Boutique and well-received by locals and visitors alike.
When asked if she had advice for other retailers, Norrell shared: “Your gut is usually right. Stay flexible in your approach and listen to your audience. And make sure you are in business for the right reasons.”
When merchandising, she creates for both the in-store customers, and the followers on social media. She creatively combines apparel and accessories and even some inspirational wall art to highlight what is available for purchase. Norrell said that using a color story for displays works best for her. Additionally, she utilizes flat lays and mannequins to create displays with a full luxe look from “top to bottom.”
Norrell utilizes her social media acumen to spread the word about the boutique and to drive its sales. She photographs various outfits and posts frequently on social media. “Generally, whatever we post on social media sells out by the end of the day. We do all short-runs, so once it is gone…it’s gone,” Norrell detailed. “It is a lot of fun!”
“Today, I grouped three mannequins together to give people a different perspective on what works well together,” she said. By grouping outfits, it provides a way for customers to visualize how a variety of color palettes work well together, she emphasized.
All of the merchandise is primarily sourced through in-person markets, such as Atlanta Market, NY NOW and Dallas Market. Norrell said she enjoys going to market so she can see the merchandise and have that tactile experience. Also, she noted that attending markets is important for her to connect and build relationships with suppliers.
Since Studio Luxe Boutique opened only months prior to the start of the pandemic, she wasn’t familiar with what “normal” retail operations were like. “I don’t see (the pandemic) as a challenge — it is more of an opportunity,” she emphasized. Her positivity, the store’s focus on an amazing retail experience and the beautiful luxe offerings has resonated with customers and keeps them coming back for more.