New apparel boutique opens in Minden
Mannequin has its beginnings at Sassy Digs, where a selection of apparel had a place in the home decor shop. After a year of showcasing clothing, owner Shawn Smandych and Mannequin manager Betty James knew that there was an interest for unique apparel and accessories.
“The reception was really good,” said James, who helped prepare for the shop’s opening on May 16. “Especially in the summer with tourism, but even locals are finding they’re able to come in and find those unique pieces without having to leave the area, which is great.”
The store features curated items from multiple different brands and designers all over the world. Today, customers can see vegan leather bags from Australia, jewelry from Holland, apparel from Denmark, and some locally-made jewelry pieces. Brands like Pink Martini and Desigual are names that James said are sought after.
The boutique showcases complementary items that fit with their brands, such as perfume diffusers and select footwear.
Mannequin focuses on getting specific styles in their inventory, and has limited stock and sizing on all items they carry.
“We’re not carrying a hundred of the same small shirt,” said James. “That way everyone in town, we can all dress a little different and be unique. It’s really the pieces that strike us is what ends up coming in.”
Mannequin, while having a smaller inventory, makes sure to include a diverse range of sizes.
“We carry quite a good range of sizes between XS to 3X,” said James. “We’re bringing in some plus sizes for girls like myself in town where there’s not a lot of places around here to shop for our sizes.”
The store carries lines that feature bold pieces while also providing basic layering apparel to appeal to different styles. “We’re looking for styles that will complement everyone, for the unique person, styles that are a little out there.” said James.
The prices vary with each piece, prompting staff to ask customers to call in for exact quotes. New items are introduced every couple of weeks to keep inventory fresh, received directly through distributors, selected from showrooms, or picked up in the city by Smandych and James.
Sales associate and customer Christine Hewitt says she’s noticed a difference in her personal style just two weeks after the store’s opening.
“The boutique feel, which I’m not always used to, has really inspired [me] on how I can look and feel better without changing a lot,” said Hewitt. “Just one key piece, a jacket or a different purse, makes you feel and look totally different. That to me has been a standout moment for me as a shopper, not just working here.”
James says they’re looking to see if there’s a demand from the community for men’s wear.
“Right now it’s only women’s apparel, but at some point we may bring in some men’s if we feel there’s [a demand] for it,” said James.
“We’re really just continuing to bring in unique pieces and to be kind of a cornerstone in town, not just for the tourism but for the locals too. Because we know that when we want to shop, everything is at least an hour away from us. To be able to come here and pick up something that’s really different that you’re not going to find everywhere is really what we’re aiming to do,” said James.
Mannequin, located on 8 Milne Street, is open from Tuesday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, go to mqnminden.ca or search @mqnminden on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.