Slated to open on Dec. 1, jewelry and accessories store Lou Lou Boutiques is hoping to carve its place among several other boutique shops on Chapel Street and the Broadway Shopping District.
Soon to set up shop at 23 Broadway between Barbour and the recently closed A-1 Pizza, Lou Lou will bring its wide-ranging accessories line to the Elm City. The Broadway store will be the company’s 21st store in the United States and its first in Connecticut. Lou Lou is also one of seven stores University Properties has selected to join The Shops at Yale this fall.
“Our niche is accessories, and so what we are able to provide really fits a wide range of ages, from teens to women in their 50s and 60s,” said Lou Lou communications manager Paige Healey.
Lou Lou, which has many existing shops close to universities such as the University of Virginia and Georgetown University, offers products including necklaces, earrings, bracelets, wallets and crossbody bags.
According to Healey, the stores near college towns tend to attract customers ages 20 to 35, who are more excited about shopping for themselves and buying themselves something extra.
“We’ve got our fashionista girls, and then we’ve got our business and professional women, and we want to make sure we can bridge that gap for accessories for our business women, who might be into the pearls and the black bags, [while] our fashionista customer might like some fur or spikes or color,” Healey said.
While the majority of Lou Lou’s customer base is women, Healey highlighted that there are gender-neutral accessories available and encouraged men to frequent the store.
Healey added that she thinks the fun atmosphere of college towns, such as New Haven, complements the shop’s vibe and helps drive customers to the store.
“Lou Lou, a family-owned business, is a terrific addition to the Broadway retail mix, offering quality fashion accessories at attractive price points,” Lauren Zucker, associate vice president for New Haven and state affairs, said in an email.
While only one student of 20 interviewed, including 17 females and three males, had heard of Lou Lou, many expressed interest in Lou Lou’s products and thought the price point was reasonable.
Thirteen students said they would visit the new store, three said they would only shop at Lou Lou on special occasions such as birthdays or holidays, and all three males were not interested in shopping at Lou Lou.
“It’s cute but I would be happier to hear of a cute second-hand store opening up than another expensive boutique. We have enough of those around here,” said Jacqueline Salzinger ’18.
Salzinger noted that for her, $60 for a scarf and $30 for a sale was a bit too expensive.
Healey is not worried about the potential competition, underscoring that the surrounding stores have different product lines. She said Alex and Ani, an accessories-only store on York Street, has a special niche selling bracelets with a specific meaning while Lou Lou sells a wider array of accessories. Also, Healey said that Alex and Ani’s price point is higher than Lou Lou’s. For bracelets, Alex and Ani’s starting price range is $28–30 while Lou Lou’s is $15–18.
Healey added that she believes Lou Lou and Alex and Ani will serve more as complements to one another, and that Lou Lou is in close proximity to Alex and Ani in many of its other locations.
The corporate office of Alex and Ani could not be reached for comment.
In addition to Alex and Ani, Chapel Street features four boutique stores offering jewelry and accessories in the two-block strip between College and York Streets.
Healey nonetheless believes that the store’s greatest challenge before opening is hiring staff and managers.
Lou Lou Boutiques opened its first location in 2004 in Middleburg, Virginia.