Pretty Please: From idea to storefront in 6 weeks

Sisters Sara Caluder, left, and Frances Jones have opened up their women's clothing shop on Seward Street.

For local sisters Frances Jones and Sara Clauder, entrepreneurship seems to come naturally. It took less than six weeks for their budding business to go from an idea to opening the doors.

 

“We met with Sarah of Mabel McKinley, who was a owner of a great clothing store, before she closed down,” Jones said. “After talking with her, my sister and I decided that night to dive in and start our own clothing store.”

The store, Pretty Please, opened on Seward Street less than a month ago. The store offers small children’s sizes through women’s 3X.

“Our family is a bit of a baby-making machine,” chuckled Jones. “Between my sister and I we have seven kids ranging from ages 4 months to 12 years old. So, our bodies are curvy, and we are proud of it. We want to be able to find clothing in Juneau that is new and fashionable. Our store is inviting so that other women can have that experience too.”

Jones and Clauder wanted their store to put family first. Both ladies work full-time for Bartlett Regional Hospital, so they didn’t want to take too much additional time away from their families. Fortunately the store is very family friendly.

“This has been a family bonding experience for all of us,” Clauder said. “We have a kids area in the back of our store, that is as large as the front of the store, and the kids are very much a part of it all. The older girls love to help us pick clothes and spend time working in the store. It’s been such a fun thing for us.”

The name of the store also came from family roots.

“We always say ‘pretty please’ in our family when we really want something. So the name made perfect sense to us,” Clauder said.

The sisters started out following the advice of Sarah from Mabel McKinley and searched through their closets, and their friends’ closets, to find clothing brands they enjoyed. They then contacted individual vendors.

Pretty Please currently stocks some past favorites from Mabel McKinley, like fleece-lined leggings with a compression waistband. But the sisters are really trying to focus on finding new brands to offer Juneau.

“We are looking for those off-brands that people haven’t heard of yet, but will fall in love with,” Jones said. “We have a good selection of new brands now. But it will only improve as we have more time to invest in finding different vendors to offer.”

The other main focus of the store is to offer clothing at affordable prices, ranging from $20-$40 per item, with some special event items priced slightly higher. Pretty Please plans on staying in that price range.

A constantly rotating stock will also keep customers on their toes. Pretty Please only orders items once. They keep a stock of basics like pencil skirts, leggings and camisoles consistent. But the rest of the stores’ clothing comes from a single order, available in a variety of sizes. This may seem unfortunate to women who fall in love with the clothing, but the owners have good reason to bring in new things.

“We don’t want to be another place like Fred Meyer’s where all the women in Juneau go and buy the same top,” Jones said. “We want to offer something unique for each woman. Something she can feel good in and know she isn’t going to run into her friend at a party in the exact same dress.”

The sizing of the clothes varies from person to person.

“I have bought size medium up to 1x for myself and everything fits me the way I want,” Clauder said.

Jones added: “At first, it was scary to let go of the small-large labeling and try things on without thinking about the tag. But once I did, I felt so much better about myself, like a pressure had lifted that I wasn’t aware of.”

The store is inviting. Soft hues bounce off the wall paint and wooden racks are spaced nicely throughout the store. People are greeted by soft smells of vanilla and smiling faces. To the owners, it’s all about their family and the public.

“Our families have all invested time into this business,” Jones said. “The reward is seeing people come in, shop, and see them leave happy with their purchases. It’s the best to see a customer sporting their finds out in public, confident and excited. We were teens in the 90s so we are all about girl power and feeling good.

“When we feel good about what we are wearing it makes us happy. We want to reflect that out into the community and hope that women can be happy in our clothing.”

For more information on the business visit www.facebook.com/prettypleasejuneau.

Seward Street shuffle

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