Accessories designers turned store owners Michele Henry and Wesley Uthus are determined to solve the modern-day fashion dilemma created by photo tagging on Facebook.
Now that party snapshots get circulated and archived on the social networking site for friends around the world to see, a girl can’t be caught wearing the same outfit to two events. “I think women would rather spend less and get something new,” Uthus says.
Enter Primp—the duo’s “cheap chic” women’s boutique at Selby and Dale in St. Paul—where smart-looking peacoats sell for $48 and a sequined party dress is $56. You won’t recognize the brand names, but at those prices, who cares? It takes a keen sense of style—and guts—to go up against fast-fashion empires such as H&M and Forever 21, but Henry and Uthus wisely noted a hole in the market, particularly on the east side of town, for trend-right, affordable apparel presented in an intimate setting and aimed at graduates of the teen shopping scene. They offer students a daily 10 percent discount with a school ID, but their core customer tends to be in her 30s or older—women like Henry and Uthus, who describe themselves as “fashion obsessed and broke.” Primp is outfitting these women with fashion essentials, dresses for work or play, and accessories to complete the look.
The clothes might not stand the test of time, but pictures of the women wearing them certainly will. 618 Selby Ave., St. Paul, 651-414-0091