The passion for fashion, that’s what drives Bobbi Lee to make Allure Boutique in downtown Camas the “cutest women’s clothing boutique you’ll see.”
Four years ago, Bobbi Lee was having coffee with Carrie Schulstad, of the Downtown Camas Association. “I was volunteering my time with DCA, and by the end of our coffee date, I walked away emotionally committed to opening up a boutique … and here I am four years later.”
Here she is with a successful clothing boutique that will always pick up a small taste of the trends, and for Camas, Bobbi Lee says that means a “classy, stylish, fun and flattering fashion. For example, high waist jeans are hot right now, so a lot of the tops are getting shorter.” And while that trend might not be for everyone, she stays on top of the fashion to make sure there’s a good balance.
That fashion sense goes back years, as Bobbi Lee never had a doubt she was going to be in the business. “I never had doubts about becoming a buyer for a department store, so I studied business marketing at the University of Washington and got into the buyer training program with Frederick & Nelson,” a flagship department store chain in the Northwest. From there, she moved to Meier & Frank as a fashion buyer.
She later went on to work for Hewlett Packard, in the tech industry, but the passion for fashion and decorating was always kindled, and ignited again that day walking downtown Camas. “You can say I’ve been in fashion and retail most of my life and I LOVE it!” she said.
In the very early days of Allure Boutique, Bobbi Lee said her biggest challenge was “worrying too much if the customers and the community will like what I bring to them. I know I’ve been trained to be a buyer, but you always have that feeling if you are selecting the right assortment for your customers. The way I overcame that was to learn … and to remind myself to ‘know your customers, who they are, and what is Allure’s value proposition that you set out to be.'” And, she added, “stick to the plan!”
She continues building a rapport with customers every day, “that’s what I like to do … help and outfit anyone who wants ideas.” And she makes fast friends with many of her customers.
“Customers are wonderful, friendly and supportive. They are like me, my mom, my sister, my daughter, and my girlfriends. I love it when they tell me they love everything in the store. That’s the best compliment I can receive. That’s what gets me going,” she said.
Bobbi Lee is enamored with the Camas community. “I love it just the way it is … small, kind, big hearts, fun places. So many people visit Camas because it’s such a great, cute town. And it’s great that a historical hotel is right here in the heart of downtown. I’ve gotten to know many folks, and they have beautiful stories to tell and it gives me perspective on life.”