July 2, 2014
Happy 10 Years, Audacious
Dublin’s Audacious Boutique, located at the Shoppes at River Ridge, is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this weekend. Owner Mary Curran, who first opened the store with the goal of providing on-trend and affordable accessories, said she’s having a weekend-long sale. Everything will be 40 percent off starting the Fourth of July (she’s open until 4 p.m.), with a few items marked down even more throughout the weekend.
We stopped by to chat with Curran about the store’s evolution, her biggest challenge and why you just might see her on the History Channel’s Big Rig Bounty Hunters.
—Taylor Starek, @taylorstarek
What made you want to open Audacious?
I saw a need for a handbag and jewelry store. Ten years ago, there weren't any specialty stores. There really wasn't a handbag store, except for the designer stores, so I saw a need. You could get designer looks without the prices—more affordable but fashionable and trendy. We had our little niche. It's a little different now, though.
Now, even a lot of the places have their own jewelry collection, like Loft and Ann Taylor. And a lot of them have their own handbag collections. When we opened 10 years ago, we were primarily all handbags and jewelry, maybe 90 percent, but with the economy and retail being down, it seemed like women were holding on to their handbags. They weren't buying three and four handbags and switching out as much. Several years ago we added a line of clothing, and last year, we moved from a 1,500-square-foot space to this, which is 3,500 square feet. Now we probably are 60 percent clothing. And it's doing really well. We're trying to do basics—washable, travelwear mostly, and figure-flattering, color-coordinated, lightweight staple pieces. That's how we got into clothing.
What's your most popular item?
Our biggest seller is the Alex and Ani [bracelet] collection. We've had it for over two years now. We like it because it's made in the U.S. It's just really catching on here. It's all recycled materials. It's handmade, actually. I'm going to the factory in August. And about 30 percent of the bracelets support a lot of charities, mostly in the U.S. And they're affordable. The base price is $28. It's a great company that gives back to the community. I have plenty.
What's been your biggest challenge over the past 10 years?
Advertising. We moved in [to the Shoppes at River Ridge] seven years ago, and then it died. This was going to be full, so that was a struggle because it was only 30 percent occupied. So advertising was important, but it was expensive. And finding the right merchandise. When we first did the clothing, we were catering more [to 20 year olds].
What's been the best thing about owning this store?
The customers. I don't mind getting up and coming to work because you never know what to expect. We have some really, really good customers that we've worked with through the years. We think of this as retail therapy. Most women at our age, it's not about need, but when you look good, you're going to feel good.
Any standout customers?
We have a guy who comes in who’s always in trouble with his wife. He gets two or three or four Alex and Ani [bracelets] depending on how much trouble he’s in.
Any other highlights at the store?
We're going to be on Big Rig Bounty Hunters. It's a reality show, but it's made up. They came in to film. So supposedly a truck driver went missing. We had to kind of play-act in here. The two guys from the trucking company came in. They were identical twins in their 40s. They looked like "Duck Dynasty" guys with the beards. They came in, and the cameras were rolling. I was just told two guys were coming in to ask me some questions. I probably had a really weird look on my face because one would talk and the other would finish. That was funny. It hasn't been on TV yet. It was a California film company, and they wanted an independent boutique. I keep taping them to see if it’s us, but it hasn’t been yet.
What’s next for Audacious?
More ecommerce. More Facebook. More clothing.