I'm a little bit of a sucker for retail perks. A shopping junkie, I appreciate everything from a little customer service to things such as giveaways or even a nicely wrapped purchase.
This probably comes from my experiences of working in clothing retail throughout my college years. Having been on the other side of things, I know that mustering a half-hearted greeting is sometimes the best you can offer a shopper after a truly annoying customer or an overly busy day. So, it's a real treat when you don't see that when shopping. Instead, you're treated well and a few extras are thrown into the mix, too. Kate918, a new boutique in South Tulsa, promises not only comfortable clothing but also those extra little touches.
Open for only a little more than a month, Kate918 is the creation of Mary Kathryn "Kate" Fox. Located at Shops of Seville (10021 S. Yale St.), Fox has assembled a collection of brands for women and children. Kate918 manager Shawna Rocco said the brands and designers were selected to maintain casualness, while still remaining chic and classy. Rocco said an example of a Kate918 shopper is a mom that's busy but still wants to look cute. More than just moms, she thinks the store offers looks that daughters would like, too, including tweens and teens. The collection they've assembled is not only filled with pieces that are wearable, but the boutique has also placed its focus on a price point that "anyone can afford."
Kate918 is building its brand base. Fox and Rocco just returned from market where they found their strong contenders for fall. Rocco said besides discovering major colors for the season -- plum, deep fuchsia and burnt orange -- they found a whole assortment of new brands. Upcoming Kate918 brands will include Betsey Johnson sunglasses, Mek Denim and Big Buddha handbags. Like many boutiques, the goal is always to provide an initial size run only (the store carries sizes small to large), so that shoppers are purchasing unique items and everyone in Tulsa isn't wearing the same thing.
The looks at Kate918 are a wide offering of their goal of comfortable chic-ness. The most obvious comfy wear -- the t-shirt -- is in full force. The short and long-sleeve tees from brands like DIF and Witness feature a little bit of everything. The materials are soft, the cuts are flattering, and the colors and graphics aren't over-the-top. But there are also graphics Okies will definitely be familiar with. Kate918 carries Glitter Gear, the brand that takes college sports team logos and adds Swarovski crystals.
The store carries a few options for OSU and OU fans. And, if you head to the kid section, you'll find a few things for the young sports enthusiast, too.
If you want to take those short-sleeved tees into fall and/or the stadiums, Kate918 has rounded up a great line of layering undergarments. The Lounge Wish Collection features seamless long-sleeved tops, camis and tube top bra tops that will always be carried in the store. Rocco said the store will also feature leggings.
On the more dressed up but still easy to throw on end, tops from Wish are Kate918 tops. These halter-like tops are in silk and in the bright, bold colors of Kelley green and pink. The neckline features a vertical panel of large ruffles. Many of the pieces in the store could easily transition from day to night.
The dresses at Kate918 hit the boutique's target market. I see a mom throwing on one of the dresses in the morning. Made of fabrics that wear well and won't require dry cleaning, the looks are no muss and no fuss--but still flattering. The maxi dress appears in bold circular patterns and subtle tie-dye patterns. Many of the dresses, both short and long, are one-shouldered, which was a popular shape throughout the fall runways. In solid colors like black, pink and purple, the dresses also feature touches of a ruffled Victorian-like neckline, ruche neckline or soft, long flowing ruffles.
Not only are the staples of a wardrobe available at Kate918 but also the accessories. Rocco said that Kate918 accessories are affordable "add ons, not investments." The array of jewelry includes big cocktail rings, necklaces with large, funky stones, cuff bracelets and large prominent earrings. There are also belts, hats, handbags, and scarves and the line of accessories is growing.
While they find new brands to feature in the store, Kate918 has already established some brands it will carry continuously. One such brand is the Big Star denim line. Rocco said that choosing the denim brand for Kate918 took a lot of labor and talk. Because denim is an important part of any wardrobe and a key feature in a store that promises good quality casual clothes, they wanted a line that Tulsans would be familiar with and -- most importantly -- a line that fit a wide range of body types.
Big Star fits those criteria. Kate918 has the exclusive rights to sell Big Star in South Tulsa -- and at a few dollars cheaper than that same brand in the mall. The cuts are the standard and reliable straight leg and boot cut, but Kate918 also has other looks from other lines.
There is also a wide-legged trouser jean from the Karlie brand. For more glam to the day-to-day denim, the looks they have coming from Mek and Glamajama will, Rocco said, feature more bling.
Glamajama will also be a new line in children's clothing as well. Children sizes range from newborn to 6X. The newborn clothing at Kate918 isn't overly precious looking. There are long-sleeved baby dresses in black with bright green stitching and a heart-shaped peace sign. One bright pink onesie features a tulle tutu and embellishments of zebra print ribbon. There are little boy camo onesies with the red OU emblem on it, or onesies that are decidedly rock and roll, even one that looks like a Rolling Stones concert tee. And just like for moms, there are a few little accessories for the kids like hair bows.
Escape to Kate918
But more than focusing on selected brands and looks that really reflect their audience (and as I mentioned at the start of this), Kate918 focuses on its customer service. There are the little touches, like being offered a beverage when you walk in the door, but for the mom shoppers, the store offers some peace.
The back features a playroom where kids can color and write away on a chalkboard while mom shops. And, if you want to leave the kids home entirely and have an experience all on your own, Kate918 features a Ladies' Night once a month. Held after regular store hours, these events provide wine and snacks as you shop. In addition, Kate918 brings in area artists and/or local crafters, who might create pieces exclusive to that Kate918 Ladies' Night. The event features other opportunities as well, such as August's Ladies' Night, which had a makeup specialist. Rocco said future events will likely include a charity night where donations could be provided and percentages of that night's sales are donated.
Rocco said these Ladies' Nights provide shoppers a great opportunity to go out with your girlfriends and get great feedback on clothing choices. But, if you find yourself unavailable to make it to one of the scheduled Ladies' Nights, Kate918 can book your own ladies' night. These private shopping parties give participants a chance to see what new items are coming out or just to have some fun, uninterrupted shopping with friends.
To experience Kate918 for yourself, you can visit Mondays through Saturdays, 10am to 5:30pm; hours are extended during events like the Ladies' Night and when the Shops of Seville feature Mid-Life Crisis concerts (upcoming events are being held Thursdays September 10 and October 8). Kate918 will also have a booth at the Junior League of Tulsa, being held October 8-11.
You can also find out more information about upcoming Kate918 events (including the monthly Ladies' Night) or to peruse/buy the boutique's clothing, by visiting www.kate918.com. It's just as inviting as the store itself.
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