The angelic face that guards the doorway to Jane Doe is only the first clue that you’ve stumbled across a little slice of retail heaven.
Inside, the boutique’s soft lighting and carefully curated fashion palette create a serene, welcoming environment that echoes the calm, warm nature of its service-minded owner, AnnMarie Luque. When she opened the Five Points store in June 2011, Ms. Luque wanted her boutique to be “a peaceful, relaxing sanctuary” with “a different type of energy that allows for creativity and a certain level of comfort for our customers….I think you have to get to know people to help them buy clothes and that environment needs to be like a cocoon.” At Jane Doe, Ms. Luque feels privileged to be able to serve and to work as a “retail matchmaker” offering her customers “wearable solutions” that fuse their personal style with the demands of their daily life at a moderate, reasonable price.
Although new to Jacksonville, Ms. Luque ran a successful boutique in the heart of St. Augustine for several years before outgrowing that location. Her Jacksonville retail haven more than doubled her floor space and allowed her to operate her business in a friendly, close-knit community of independent merchants. This boutique owner believes in the importance and power of building a sense of community by patronizing your neighborhood businesses as proposed in the 3/50 Project, a national version of our local GOLo campaign. With her accent on service and community, Ms. Luque has already become actively involved in local and national charities, regularly donating new clothing to the local Salvation Army, offering supplies and books to area school groups and supporting the Lottie Moon Offering, which aids missionaries serving others internationally.
A former jewelry designer, she often personally works with U.S. clothing designers to create patterns that blend together a mix of classic cuts and styling with a contemporary artistic twist. “Jackie O. meets Andy Warhol,” she quips. These unique fashions are typically limited to six copies of a particular design. Ms. Luque also enjoys finding clothing and other goods that you do not see in the malls or catalogs and prefers to avoid fads while helping customers “to feel new about themselves.” She would love to see some of the styles of the 1940s make a comeback, including beautiful leg wear and hosiery. Whenever possible, she also tries to buy clothing, jewelry, scents, candles and home fashions made in the United States to help the domestic economy thrive.
Though less than a year old, Jane Doe customers clearly agree with the store’s brand of quality products and personal service, voting the store as the Best New Boutique of 2012 in Jacksonville Magazine. The humble owner only found out about the honor when fellow merchants and customers began to congratulate her on the award. She suggests that new entrepreneurs wanting to be successful should “learn by doing,” working their way up through their chosen field and always remembering the reasons why you chose to serve in that field.
So take a break from your frenetic schedule and stop by Jane Doe at 1027 Park Street, Tues.-Sat., 10:00 to 5:00/6:00, call them at 904-356-0027 or friend Jane Doe on Facebook to learn more about their special retail events and plans for their upcoming first anniversary.
–Bridges DelPonte, http://www.bridgesdelponte.com