DPJ is proud to bring you the first Fashion section of Greater Downtown Phoenix: “Seamless,” edited by Corbin Chamberlin. Every week, visit DPJ for the latest fashion and retail news, interviews and all kinds of fashionable mischief.
Butter Toast Boutique, a store in the Roosevelt Row Arts District, offers fantastic vintage. They’re a brand that knows exactly who they are, and who their consumer is. You’re not going to find a floor-length Gucci gown or a perfectly worn Hermes Birkin – but you will find a store full of clothes that have been edited and selected for a young, modern vintage-enthusiast who appreciates a lower price point. I spoke with Jasmine Jarrett, co-owner of Butter Toast Boutique to gather her thoughts on what it’s like to own a retail store in Downtown Phoenix.
How has the local downtown community responded to your store?
From our very humble beginnings at the old Anti-space, Butter Toast has always been welcomed, from both the business community and the people who dwell here, with excitement and genuine hope for our success. When we moved to Grand Avenue for a short time, we jumped right into the community there as well and did our best to support Grand Avenue’s continued growth. Currently we are happy to be back in the Roosevelt Row Arts District and I am pretty sure RoRo is happy to see our return too. In our opinion we fit perfectly in this community and are here to see it grow and prosper. A year ago when we moved back to RoRo we considered abandoning our downtown home to find a more saturated retail district but we want to be a catalyst in Phoenix’s up and coming downtown.
How would you best describe your customer? Their likes and what they want to buy.
Our customers are paying attention to current trends without falling into the overtly trendy category. They appreciate a unique print or cut in a garment that may not be what they are making hundreds of at Forever 21… and for the most part I think our customers want to take the right kind of risks and stand apart from the crowd.
What aspects do you contribute to the success of your store?
Right from the beginning BTB was recognized in the press (unexpectedly) and that’s what probably catapulted us into taking our business seriously. I think our approach itself was not unique but definitely unique to Phoenix (at the time)… we created a reasonably affordable, urban-vintage boutique… something you can find in just about every major city, even Tucson had a stronger vintage presence three years ago. Phoenix has always had vintage and antique shops all over the valley but none of them really took the hip-current approach to vintage. There are a handful of them now and they have just popped up in the last year and a half! It’s amazing and great to hear. The more the merrier!
Word of mouth has also been a huge big part of our success too.
What makes your store unique?
Traci and I handpick just about every vintage piece that is in the store, which is not so unique in of itself, but what we choose is based on quality, current trends, the wearability and, of course, our own personal tastes. We also alter some of the clothing to further update the look and keep the styles fresh and current. Our clothes range from ultra feminine-kitschy to bohemian goddess to edgy chic and everything in between. MOST importantly, we price our vintage fairly. We feel strongly that unique vintage fashions can be and should be accessible to everyone.
What has been the biggest struggle you’ve had to overcome as a retail-business owner?
Traffic has been an ongoing struggle at all three of our locations. We have customers that travel from all over the city to visit us BUT we lack regular foot traffic in the downtown area. I am not going to lie, everything has been a challenge for Traci and me, signage, marketing, visibility, space… We started this business with basically the cash we had in our pockets and have slowly expanded and grown organically. It’s definitely been a slower process but our growth has real sustainability. We didn’t flare up and blow out just as fast.
What fall/spring trends do you anticipate will be popular among your Valley customers?
I love what’s coming this fall/spring. Ascots, ruffled blouses and classic tweed and plaid prints, but I predict ultra vibrant Jewel tones will be big this fall-spring and color blocking here in Phoenix. I think that’s an accessible trend for the typically conservative fashion tendencies of Phoenix, along with color blocking. Despite this not being a new trend I think sheer fabrics will be seen around town this fall. Unfortunately, fur is a big fall/winter trend coming up but it’s really just not practical for Phoenix weather. Although, as a compromise, we have collected a ton of small vintage fur collars that are super easy to add to a light coat, sweater or even layered with a simple dress!
If you go
Where: Butter Toast Boutique
Address: 908 N 6th St., Phoenix, AZ 85004 (map)