@Work: Soft Touch Boutique

March 10, 2005 – "I'm looking for a white three-quarter length sleeve top. And next month I have a wedding in the States." A customer is standing in the elegant surroundings of Soft Touch Boutique. All around, designers such as August Silk, Gilar, Donna Morgan, JS Collection, Maggie London and more are represented. She's come to the right place for her fashion emergency.
Owner Karen Mo is scanning the racks before the customer is finished speaking. "Give me two seconds," she says. True to her word, Mo returns with exactly what the woman is looking for, down to the correct size. This "personal shopper" style of service has kept women coming back to the store for the last 20 years.
"It's rewarding because right now I'm seeing a third generation of customers," says Mo, who often shops for her customers at their request and sends them things when they're off island. "It's really nice that people call me to put a box together. Right now I'm putting together a collection of prom dresses for a girl in the states. Yesterday I sent something to St. Croix."
Point to anything in the store, and Mo will likely tell you about the fabric, how it will hang, and what to pair it with. For example, "That's a beautiful silk, bias cut, and would look great with a little sweater." Sold.
"I do call clientele when certain things come in that scream their name," Mo says. The list of VIP clientele is long and covers all those longstanding loyal customers for whom she is so appreciative. But walk into the store just once and Mo will remember you and your style.
"Once I get to know someone I can put together a wardrobe for them."
The price point ranges from $29 for a little tee, to elegant evening gowns for $700. But there are lots of styles for any occasion in between.
"I can help them with one thing or a wardrobe, or if they've lost a lot of weight and are looking for new styles," says Mo. "I show them how to interchange things to stretch out their wardrobe."
As for what's new for the spring, "embroidery work is so happening – fun, fun airy things," says Mo with infectious enthusiasm. "Prints, colors and fabrics all fresh and new. I'm now unboxing wonderful fun tops."
Even though Soft Touch Boutique's location is prime for the cruise-ship market, Mo estimates her clientele as "99 percent local." There is also a population of women from down island who shop at her store, either by making special trips or over the phone.
Currently Mo has a huge collection of things on sale, from sportswear to evening wear to suits, all at 50 percent off the original price, and new things are added every day. "It's a great way to build your wardrobe if you're on a budget," she says.
In addition to the clothes, there are handbags, jewelry and accessories. Alterations are also available.
Soft Touch Boutique is located at Port of Sale Mall in Havensight, open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and closed on federal holidays.

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