My boutique actually started in 1963 as I played with Barbie’s Fashion Shop. I spent hours placing tiny necklaces and bracelets in the showcase and selecting different hats for the corner window which was specifically for hats! In my memories I was as fascinated with the accessories as the clothes.
Barbie dresses sold for 80 cents to $1.49 back then, but instead of buying Barbie’s ready-to-wear, Mother had our neighbor, Paulene, make my Barbies a custom wardrobe. I will never forget the display of fabulous clothes they presented me on my seventh birthday. I have been hooked on clothes, shoes, hand bags and jewelry ever since.
Mother opened a florist when I was two. Thus began my exposure to retail. I spent most of my time in that shop which was on the same acreage as our home. When overcome with boredom, I would head out to my swing set and slide which were between the house and the shop, or to my Barbies.
My buying experience started as a little girl when Mother allowed me to join her at the Dallas Apparel Mart. I was around nine when she opened a Bridal Salon. After a few years, she sent me to do the buying. Looking back, I must have been the youngest buyer at market since I had to be driven, as I was too young for a driver’s license.
After graduating from SMU, I came back and worked for Mother. George and I married shortly before my 25th birthday, and I left the shop to be a stay-at-home wife. That was expected back then if you didn’t have to work. I wouldn’t trade a minute of not working outside the home as we raised Rex and Laura. After 24 years of being a stay-at-home mom, they were both at SMU and George asked me if I wanted to get a job.
I told him no. I had not exactly played tennis, driven car pool and lunched for 24 years. I had home schooled for 13, been very involved in politics, taught Sunday School, and served on countless boards. I was ready to rest!
He was wise in suggesting I do something. Boredom would have overcome me, or shopping would have overcome his financial situation!
One Friday afternoon in April of 2004, I was in Stanley Korshak buying Fresh Bath Gel and T.LeClerc powder and while checking out, I thought what a shame there was no place in McKinney to buy quality beauty products. At that moment a light bulb came on and I knew what I was going to do.
On Sunday morning I woke up and told George I had an idea for my job. I was going to open a cosmetic and bath boutique. He agreed it was a great idea. Initially George offered me free rent in the tiny corner space at the Ritz Building (that didn’t last very long) if he never again had to write a check to Neiman Marcus! He made out like a bandit.
My focus has always been to offer the finest skincare, hair products, cosmetics, bath products and fragrance possible. Sharla’s Skincare is the cornerstone of my store. The line is free of carcinogens, toxins and fillers. The molecular structure is tiny, so it penetrates deeply into the skin without harmful ingredients.
After seven years in that tiny three hundred square foot space, I realized I wanted to expand. We had purchased the building at 109 East Virginia Street and the current tenants were moving. It was the ugliest building on the Square. A major renovation began in the summer of 2010 and I moved to the new space in March of 2011.
I fell in love with the store front of Laduree in Paris and wanted to recreate that older French look. We filled the room with crystal chandeliers and beautiful custom built cabinets. Now I had space for accessories! Wanting my customers to have unique selections, I went to Paris and New York markets to buy.
Meeting artisans from all over the world and seeing their skilled creations has been a joy. Bringing back their exquisite scarves, fashion hats, statement jewelry, lingerie, umbrellas and all sorts of accessories gives my customers options from the norm.
The mission of my store is to help women become their best. Whether you are trying to find the right lipstick and earrings for an outfit, or need a foot cream for tired feet, we want you to come in and have fun and feel at home.
It was not until recently I saw a picture of the Barbie Fashion Shop from 1963, and much to my amazement, the outside closely resembles my boutique. Childhood dreams can come true.
Come in and share your stories and dreams with us. We can all use a little Barbie Fashion play time!