When looking to take your shopping game to the next level, who better to turn to than the boutique experts themselves?! Naturally, they love their own thoughtfully curated collections, but where do they turn when their own inventory doesn’t fit the bill? So, we asked some of our favorite local shop owners to tell us their go-to shopping destinations. They are not only passionate about the subject, but are armed with the buying knowledge and taste-making style that you can count on. So, without further ado, here is where Birmingham’s boutique owners love to shop for their friends, families and, of course, themselves!
Paige Albright, Owner of Paige Albright Orientals
“I am a creature of habit. I live and work in Mountain Brook Village. I absolutely ADORE shopping with all of my friends and neighbors. Mountain Brook Village has some of the most unique and well-curated shops in the region. I can find anything I need and want all within a few steps away from my home and work. Why would I ever leave? A few favorites:
Village Sportswear outfits me for every occasion. Lafayette 148 is my favorite ‘press dress’ to go from luncheon to lecture and cocktail. Beverly Ruff carries my absolute favorite leisure wear, Barefoot Dreams. I have their wrap, pants, cardigan and robe and have given it to everyone on my Christmas list. It is the ultimate luxury, and I can’t wait to put it on after a day at the shop. It’s also spiffy enough to wear if I need to run to Western (our local grocery). And Marguerite’s Conceits has my favorite PJs, charcoal bath bombs (oh, yes!) and Peepers reading glasses. Admittedly, I would not be able to quote pricing or write this article without them.”
“Spiro Salt Room is a must for me. I have allergies — years of rug dust — and a session in the salt room makes me feel renewed. It also helps my skin stay young looking. And Speed Spa is located next door to my shop. They keep me pampered and polished and make sure I am well put together.
Carl and I walk to dinner at Daniel George, a.k.a. DG, almost every Friday. The food is delicious, always consistent, and the atmosphere is perfect for catching up on our busy schedules — especially children. It never disappoints.
When I do leave the Village: I love Gus Mayer Shoes. I wear a 5½, so I buy shoes when I find my size. They always have the perfect shoe for every occasion, and they always fit!
As a member of the Antiques at The Gardens Steering Committee, I look forward to Antiques at The Gardens, an annual antiques show held at Birmingham Botanical Gardens. They have wonderful lectures, tastemakers and dealers. It is always held in October near my birthday, which is a perfect excuse to shop ’til you drop and support the Botanical Gardens at the same time.”
Betsy Bayer, Owner of B. Bayer & Co. Monogramming & Gifts
“While spending most of my time in Homewood at my own store or in the car chauffeuring my girls to and from their activities, I like to try to shop local or close to home. It’s important to me to support other local, small businesses.
Sephora is my go-to for cosmetics and perfumes.
And, of course, I can’t forget my most-loved one-stop shop … Target! They have everything I need and everything I never knew I needed, but suddenly can’t live without!
Steve Thomas, Owner of Soho Retro
“There’s no better customer service than the good ol’ friendliness and helpfulness you get from locally owned retail businesses. And downtown Homewood has many wonderful independently owned shops. I have had several great customer service experiences at JJ Eyes, owned by JJ. They helped me choose great styles of eyewear with just the right fit. The personal attention from JJ and her staff is outstanding.”
Leila Orcutt, Buyer of Wild Things Flowers & Curiosities
“My absolute most favorite store in Homewood (besides Wild Things, of course) is Argent. Most people remember it as an antique store, but in the past few years, it has evolved to be an on-trend, but classic and inviting, home decor and accessory store. They have the most gorgeous down-filled pillows, paintings from local artists (like Emmy Grier) and the cutest and best-priced jewelry if I ever need a new pair of earrings under $20! After you stop by, be sure to go across the street to Savage’s Bakery & Deli for a smiley-face cookie — it’s just part of the experience!
Outside of Homewood, I am a huge fan of Leaf & Petal. They have multiple locations in town, all with beautiful plants and gifts for anyone. My favorite clothing stores in town are Theadora, which is right around the corner from Wild Things, and the Pants Store in Crestline, which, hands down, has the best shoes in Birmingham. If you love to celebrate birthdays and events as much as I do, you have to go by the Summit to stop by both the Paper Source and Swoozie’s!”
Avani Patel, Jewelry Designer and Co-Owner of Avani Rupa Fine Jewelers
“I love shopping and supporting local around Birmingham; it just provides such a personal and warm experience. Running is one of my favorite hobbies, so I love stepping into Trak Shak for all my running gear from shoes to clothing to accessories. They are always so friendly and attentive to make sure I have the perfect fitting tennis shoes every time. When I need some pampering for myself after those runs or for my friends, I love stopping in at Marguerite’s Conceits! The shop girls go above and beyond to take care of me, always help me choose the perfect gifts and wrap them beautifully. I love leaving with the luxurious lotions, bath soaps, bubbles, scarves, handbags and so much more!”
Gina Saab, Owner of Second Hand Rose
“I love The Blue Willow. It’s my go-to for gifts! They have a great selection for all my needs. Whether it’s a baby gift or birthday or graduation, I always seem to find it there. The girls who work there are all so nice and helpful too! It’s very convenient for me since I pass it every day on my way to work. Bromberg’s is another favorite. I love looking at all their goodies! The jewelry, of course, is beautiful and all the giftware is great too — I could stay there for hours! The salespeople are all so nice as well. At Home in Homewood is hard to beat for true retail therapy — so much fun to browse around there. With so many cool and unique items in the store, I have to have lots of free time when I head there — love everything in there!”
Theresa Bruno, Designer and Owner of Jordan Alexander Jewelry at JA Collections
“Outpost’s aesthetic alone feels like I’m shopping the bohemian streets of Tulum! It’s perfect for gifts, candles, interesting coffee table books and easy dresses. Shaia’s has done a beautiful job curating menswear and accessories. It’s always my first stop in town when shopping for my husband or sons. Etc. has done such a wonderful job bringing high-design street labels to Mountain Brook! How can you resist picking up a Missoni blanket or a pair of coveted Golden Goose sneakers? Design Supply is so rich in design, art, home furnishings and accessories, it makes it nearly impossible to walk in and not want to redesign my entire home. It’s the perfect place to shop everything from Moroccan rugs to the perfect pendant light — Laura Vogtle has an impeccable eye for all things fabulous!”
Terry Shea, Cofounder of Wrapsody
“Now that I have ‘retired,’ I actually have had the time to start on my longtime list of home projects, so my shopping patterns have completely changed to focus on home decor.
One of my favorite stores I have found is Arceneaux Art Gallery in Homewood. Tim, the owner, has helped me freshen up some of my favorite pieces of art. He has a great eye and suggests frames and mats that draw your eye to the art. He brought one of my favorite circa ‘80s paintings back to life, and it looks like an important piece of art again. He also does archival framing. One piece he is framing for me is a study of encrusting sequins my daughter stitched while interning for Diane Von Furstenberg. Tim is so knowledgeable and affordable. I am always pleased with the results. Another caveat — the gallery has wonderful art for purchase.
My last favorite creative stimulant is not a place but a person – Design Consultant Bridget McCart of Happy Home | Bridget McCart Interiors. I hired her when I got stuck on what to do next in my home to ‘make it mine.’ One of my favorite suggestions she made was to have my foyer make a statement. She suggested wallpaper. When I couldn’t find what I wanted she said, ‘Well I could paint something for you.’ She asked for pictures of what I loved, and she took it from there. The whole collaborative process was amazing. I am wowed by how the house looks. It looks and feels like me. She is super talented and so easy and fun to work with.”
Lynn Ritchie, Owner of A’Mano
“When I need retail therapy, I just run next door and find the greatest clothes in all of Birmingham. With lines from France, Japan and Italy that are like no other, B. Prince is the best! For the best shirts by Xirena and The Great, I shop at Etc. You also can’t beat their selection of Golden Goose sneakers. For home furnishings and special gifts, I also love B. Bayer & Co. Monogramming & Gifts in Homewood for all things monogrammed. They have some of the most creative, beautiful monograms that I have seen! I love to go to the Paper Source at the Summit for the most beautiful gift wrap and art supplies. I also am obsessed with Warby Parker sunglasses at the Pizitz Food Hall. They are so great and well priced, and the store has some really cool gift books also.”
Brenda Meadows, Owner of The Lingerie Shoppe
“As for my go-to shops: I have two favorite clothing shops, Canterbury of Crestline and Village Sportswear. Both shops carry traditional and up-to-date pants, jackets and tops that I love. I am especially fond of blouses. Village Sportswear has a certain line that I love and wear almost every day. Alterations are offered at both shops. I can never buy any pants that don’t need hemming. Marguerite’s Conceits is my go-to for the soap, lotion and bubble bath that my husband and I both love. She also carries fun wraps great for cool days. Christine’s on Canterbury always has fun gift items for holiday and just for general gift-giving — the icing on the cake is their fabulous gift wrap. The Cook Store is another favorite for gifts ranging from practical everyday kitchen tools to beautiful pottery and cookware. I am fortunate to have such wonderful shops right here, as I don’t get out of the shop too often. And I could not forget Gilchrist. Wonderful people work there, and you can always see lots of friends. All homemade salad and sandwich fillings add to the joy of meeting there for lunch or just a cup of coffee.”
Happy shopping, Birmingham!
For even more of our favorite retail haunts, check out StyleBlueprint Birmingham’s store highlights.