Echo Chic is an eye-popping boutique home to top designers like L.A.M.B., T Bag and Mimi Turner. Set on a side street in Center City, Eco Chic’s couture is as breathtaking as its customer service. You’re immediately offered tea after your first steps into the store. Owner and fashion stylist Jennifer Ramsay gave me an inside look into the boutique and how it came to life.
The Temple News: Ii’ve heard from people that your store sells organic clothing. Iis this a myth, and if not, what sort of materials are considered ‘organic’ when it comes to clothing?
Jennifer Ramsay: We do in fact sell some labels that have organic material such as organic bamboo and cotton. I actually have been trying to contact Catherine Hammett, who is a London-based designer who has organic clothing, but not a lot of labels are making their clothes organic so we try to source out the select few that do. They mostly make T-shirts and hippie skirts. People actually confuse the name of our store with “eco” instead of “echo” and my life and what I believe in is very eco-friendly but the store is pronounced as “echo” chic.
TTN: Is there an Echo Chic clothing line that is featured in your store?
J.R.: We are actually starting an Echo Chic line as of right now and we are going to try to use some organic materials in the clothing. It’s sometimes difficult because the organic material
can be either very soft or almost on the prickly side. ttn: What are some of the most popular fashion names that you sell?
J.R.: We are selling a lot of L.A.M.B., T Bags, Mimi Turner, Sam Edelman, Sass & Bide, Gustto Baca and Mike & Chris.
TTN: How did the name of the store arise?
J.R.: My father was in the vintage clothing business in the 70s and the store was called Retro Chic. I took over the business 12 years ago and I wanted to name the store “Echo” because
my mother was going to name me Echo. She had a little conflict with my dad about this name and I always said I wanted to name my daughter Echo. But, when I opened the store it was like having my own baby so I figured I would name it “Echo” and I added the “Chic” because I couldn’t have just Echo alone.
TTN: How do you come about having particular brands within your store?
J.R.: I’m contacted a million times a day by vendors who want to show me their lines. I used to carry Marc by Marc Jacobs and they actually contacted me. I’m asked to come to showrooms or look at pictures of lines because
designers have heard of my store and am interested in having their clothes within the store. You never know what you are getting into when you check out collections but sometimes they hook your interest. I also sell a lot of underground labels of young designers I seek out when I’m in New York.
TTN: Aare you selling any local pieces right now in your store?
J.R.: We have this one guy, Khalid Mass Masser,
and he does graffiti and drawing on vintage bags and boots. We also have a couple jewelry lines from local designers as well. There aren’t any local clothing designers that have clothes in our store.
TTN: How are your prices compared to wholesale?
J.R.: We do pricing that is a little less. There is a rule of thumb and you usually never go over the suggested retail, but you can go below. We have shirts that can go from $20 to $300 so we like to cater to everyone’s pockets. Obviously if you are paying more for an item you will know that it is because it is a top designer and of top quality.
TTN: are you planning to expand your business or are there more Echo Chic boutiques around?
J.R.: I was on South Street for seven years and then we moved here. I am considering opening a store on the Main Line and I’ve been doing some research on it, but I love spending time with my family so that has been holding me back. I have been approached about franchising
and [I] am very interested in doing that. It wouldn’t be across the country, but it would be a couple Echo Chic stores in a couple big cities.
TTN: i read about how your store has events which you sponsor. What sort of events are they and how is one invited to them?
J.R.: We just started last spring having an event every other month in the store where we do different things, like for the spring festival where we will have a party with a DJ with cocktails and sweets which offers a better day of shopping for our customers. We also try to feature a designer as well, like a designer spotlight or launch party, where we feature a collection that is like a trunk show. More people come out when we have these things so it adds more fun to a regular shopping day.
TTN: Do your customers need to schedule appointments to come in the store or is it strictly walk-in customers?
J.R.: I have been known to do private appointments
with celebrities. But since I am a stylist, if someone needed help where my assistance is needed, I would definitely be there to do it.
TTN: How would you describe your everyday shopper?
J.R.: We get a lot of girls from the neighborhood
that are going for a walk and pop in, and then we have customers that come in religiously every week. A lot of University of Pennsylvania girls come into the store as well. Celebrities come in here who are staying at the hotel across the street because they will see our store from the lobby and pop on over. Also, we get women who are business casual type who come into the store as well as guys whenever there is a red dress in the window, funny enough.
Giavanna Ippolito can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.