Style on the Move
Local womenswear boutique Paperdolls hits the road and opens a third location in University City.
Keeping true to St. Louis' fashion momentum, locally owned boutique Paperdolls is now on the move—literally. The nearly 8-year-old shop that caters to women of all ages has not only expanded to a third, larger location in University City but has also opened the PD Fashion Truck to mobilize its designer offerings.
A staple on the St. Louis boutique scene, Paperdolls is no stranger to growth spurts. After opening the doors of its first shop Downtown, owners Carolyn Burghoff and Beth Morris decided that Kirkwood was the best home base for their concept and moved just a few years later to their current flagship location on Kirkwood’s Jefferson Avenue. In 2012, higher demand inspired a westward expansion to Ballwin, where the offerings were extended for clientele who wanted to shop Paperdolls closer to home.
But even after one expansion, the owners felt that they had some growing to do. “We have been looking at spaces for over a year now,” says Marketing Manager Alise Glenn. “We told ourselves that if we found the right spot, we would consider expanding.”
The right spot came by way of 7700 Delmar, a corner space that opened in September just outside the bustling Delmar Loop retail district and adjacent to Dewey’s Pizza. The PD Fashion Truck launched earlier in the summer, doing double duty as both a delivery van and pop-up boutique that has already made appearances at several area events.
The new locale fills a void in the central corridor of the city for avid Paperdolls clients who live, work or attend school further east. “We have a ton of customers from Illinois and the Washington University/Clayton area that said they would shop more often if we had a location that was easier to get to,” Glenn says. “University City seemed to be the perfect compromise.”
When dolling up the Delmar store’s decor, the team was eager to utilize the loft-like floorplan and the natural light that cascades into the space through large floor-to-ceiling windows. “It really makes the industrial-chic space feel extra tall and bright,” explains Glenn.
They paid particular attention to detail in the dressing room area. Vintage furniture lends a hip, laid-back vibe to the space, and finishes include shabby-chic iron hooks, decorative mirrors and signs that read “yes,” “no” and “maybe”—perfect for weighing serious shopping decisions.
At a sizable 3,200 square feet, the new space was also ripe for several new fashion lines and features that will allow the boutique to reach an even broader customer base. Beyond the staple brands for which Paperdolls is known, including customer favorites from Chaser, Tart and Tracy Negoshian, the U City destination has also stocked collections from TokyoMilk Dark and Library of Flowers, as well as a new PD gift and home collection. Plans are also moving forward to expand the boutique’s t-shirt bar, the shop’s selection of monogrammed gifts and the private label merchandise offerings.
Paring down the signature items for the fashion truck’s curated collection has also proven to be beneficial for the business. Although several of the new lines will make an appearance, the focus remains on easy pieces—dresses, handbags, jewelry and more—all at competitive price points.
Photos by Victoria Lafferty