I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Danielle Gelinas and her son Dominique about Boutique 5e Avenue and learn more about the beautiful style destination and witness Danielle’s magic passionate, friendly and inspiring energy!
1. How would you describe the boutique’s style?
Boutique 5e Avenue is the reflection of Danielle’s buying talent and queen eye for cuts and clothes. Another strength of the boutique is the amalgam of the brand diversity which allows us to combine the best of each and create unique looks while offering a good variety in terms of pieces and styles going from chic to casual. In terms of colors, it depends on seasonality, for next season, we’ll have lots of vibrant colors such as yellow, baby blue and pink, there wasn’t a lot of black to choose from in spring/summer 2019 collections during the buying process. And we already have a preview this winter with colors like yellow.
One of our strengths resides in our service. We offer personalized styling included in the clothing prices. The client experience happens mainly in-store where they can shop quality ready-to-wear.
2. Is the boutique affiliated to Boutiques 5e Avenue stores?
No, we are an independent boutique with no affiliation to these stores. Even our registered name and type of merchandise are different.
3. What made you choose Laurier as a location for your shop?
Danielle has always loved fashion and she kind of got into the industry through an unconventional path. She started working in the boutique in 1989, she then became its buyer and manager. Her role grew into the owner of the boutique in 1995. So the location of the boutique was already set, but she made the choice to stay as it makes her closer to her original Outremont clientele. However, the boutique moved across the street for a 3 times bigger space, we were in the space occupied by the Eres boutique before. Today, our clientele comes from Montreal, Quebec and we even have a customer that visits twice a year from London to redo her wardrobe. In parallel, we are currently putting together an online catalog to show our inventory online, so people can order by phone or by email. This will allow us to estimate the online potential and adjust our buying accordingly ahead of time.
4. What brands are available in-store?
We have German brands like Marc Cain, Luisa Cerano, Repeat and Brax. We also have American names such as Eileen Fisher for oversize women fashion, Italian chic like Cinzia Rocca, Amsterdam cream stone coats, Raffaello Rossi and Brice pants, some Hollywood candid retro with Princess Goes Hollywood, Rene Leblanc jewelry, Canadian scarves from Suzi Roher. And we recently started working with Judith & Charles.
People can find a complete wardrobe including waterproof coats, socks, hats and belts.
5. How would you describe the Boutique 5e Avenue Woman?
She’s a strong woman that makes her shopping debut at the boutique in her thirties and falls in love with it forever. We have a client that has been with us since 1989, we have new clients this year that we’re looking forward to build a long term relationship with. We work a lot with professional women such as doctors, lawyers, engineers which see themselves in Danielle and how she chooses clothes. Our philosophy is that every client deserves all of our attention which means being respectful and honest in our recommendations to build trust time after time. We would rather not sell than sell pieces that don’t render the person’s figure justice.
6. What are the price ranges?
Jeans range between $250 and $375 and may go up to $495 for higher end brands, our luxury Cinzia Rocca coats sell for $1,000 on average, jackets retail between $495 and $800, faux fur coats go at about $480. I should mention that the comfort, details and quality of our pieces make them last longer.
7. Do you offer other services?
In addition to our styling services integrated in clothing prices, we offer gift cards as well as tailoring services with a seamstress that picks up the clothes every day and returns them altered and adjusted within a week for a reasonable fee. All of which contribute to improve the shopping experience. We don’t have sales representatives at the boutique, we only have stylists that help find our clientele the best outfits for them.
8. Can you tell us more about the events you organize?
We typically organize 2-3 events per season. Per example, we celebrated in April our 30th anniversary to present the Saint-James brand and all of our fall collections as a trunk show to take client pre-orders for fall with our north american reps. We had a DJ, small bites by Chez Levesque, models wearing fall pieces and bubbles. All of our clients were invited and around 50 of them enjoyed the evening with us.
9. You have been part of Montreal’s shopping scene for 30 years, is there a moment related to Montreal’s fashion history that you would like to share with us?
I met Jean-Claude Poitras as a customer first buying his collections and we became friends. We collaborated with him in 2014 and he produced a scarf using some art pieces he had produced for me, a silhouette that spoke to me and which became the symbol of Boutique 5e Avenue and the scarf’s pattern with the text Une Avenue, Notre Histoire. That was very symbolic of my story and a decisive moment of my path as an entrepreneur that I experienced with Jean-Claude. We produced a limited edition of approximately 100 scarves all numbered and presented in gift boxes.
10. Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
We recently added some Saint-James menswear pieces such as sweaters, jackets and coats. And for next season, we’re adding pants, shorts, shirts and knitwear. Being one of the very few boutiques that carry the Saint-James brand, we had some men visiting the boutique asking us to add some menswear to the boutique. Prices average $100 for sweaters and $400 for coats.
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Founder Editor & Personal shopper.