Named after a magical Parisian bike tour, Saint Cloud Boutique, offers an escape from the mundane shopping experience and welcomes new customers into a vibrant room filled with unique finds. In big cities ‘independent fashion’ is the mindset. The best of the best London, New York, Paris. And hopefully now, Houston.
Our city keeps growing, and along with that growth, we’d like to think fashion will follow… And so does Cecilia Marquez; talking fashion with her re-kindles that spark in our hearts, and makes us feel hopeful for Houston’s future in fashion and the arts. Thank goodness for Saint Cloud Boutique. Cecilia’s passion for what we all agreed to call “independent fashion” is at the core of her, and business partner, Jessica’s, vision.
Q&A with Cecilia
The more independent retail there is the more people will understand that you don’t need to go to a mall or chainstore.
1. How did Saint Cloud Boutique begin?
I had worked in retail for 10 years, all aspects, menswear and women and jewelry buyer, traveled a lot for work. Saving my own purchases to shop while traveling, to shop unique brands and items. Jessica and I had a mutual friend that introduced us, and from our shared passion for this city and fashion the idea for opening our own boutique was born.
2. What was your vision for the boutique?
We specifically wanted to represent people who had never been represented in Houston, brands and designers that have huge followings, but aren’t sold here. A lot of these brands, we were the first to carry; Clare Vivier and Lem Lem, huge elsewhere but not represented in Houston at all. Pamela Love, Gabriela Artigas, Miansai, etc… We focus on being the first. As well as supporting the local community—Manoosh is a great example of a local designer we carry.
3. Why Houston?
I love Houston. I’m from Houston. There is so much opportunity here. We have a strong and unique cultural scene, food scene, etc… and I felt like fashion didn’t match, we needed a stronger retail scene. I do think there’s more of a rise for it now. With the rise of Downtown. New York is a great example of evolving aesthetics, people like the sartorialist and man repeller really helped that movement. Now, everyone knows who they are. It takes longer to get here but it is happening. My hope is that people continue to understand the value that these independent retailers offer, we’re all stronger as a group, I want us all to grow. The more independent retail there is the more people will understand that you don’t need to go to a mall or chainstore.
4. What are some of the challenges you face?
People here have a hard time understanding a different aesthetic. It’s different here, vs new york, the cool thing would be to show up to a party wearing something nobody has ever heard of like that’s the sought after look. In Houston people are hesitant to spend money on a label they haven’t heard of, like Parabellum is a great example of that we are the only ones who carry them. They won the CFDA award for best bag designer, worked with Anna Wintour, very high quality—with a $2800 price tag. Once you understand the craftsmanship and heritage of these bags you’d understand, but people might still prefer to spend money on a big label, like Celine. In Houston it still takes courage to wear something unknown, and try to be different. That’s been a hard thing to overcome.
5. Tell us about your buying process
When I see brands, I see the people behind them. Having personal relationships with almost all of the designers we carry is very important to us. Having the opportunity to work with designers who are still accessible, where the designers still work closely with their lines. Nothing here is mass produced. We’re attracted to brands who share that value. It’s all about relationships, we are the intermediary between the vendors and the clients. We can actually convey their stories directly to our clients.
6. What is in the future for Saint Cloud?
To stay unique and different, and continue to evolve. In our industry, we can’t sit back, relax, and say we’re done, it’s a constant challenge. We have to continually educate ourselves, on what is new and exciting that we can bring into the city. I love change. With enough coffee, yoga and sleep.
Saint Cloud Boutique Styled