Sisters and business partners Effie and Bessie Papazis will celebrate a year in business this month and say much of their success can be attributed to carrying quality, of-the-moment fashions for women of all ages in a range of styles from casual to formal.
"We have moms and daughters and grandmothers shopping together here," says Effie. "We try to have sizes for everybody. Our sizes run from size 0 to 16."
Although the store name and logo appear youthful, the boutique's attitude and showroom are designed to accommodate the fashion tastes and shopping preferences of teenagers as well as more mature women. Their fashions carry labels including James Jeans and Theory as well as Diane Von Furstenberg, Elie Tahari, Catherine Malandrino and others. The sisters select different cuts and types of clothing to suit a variety of body shapes and tastes. "We have everything from jeans to some long dresses for upcoming balls," Effie says. "We try to find out what kind of clothing will fit [our customers'] lifestyles, whether it's a mom running around (after her children) or a woman looking for something to wear to work. We have all different brands for that reason."
In addition to apparel, FeBe carries handbags and fashion accessories, including jewelry made by local artists as well as pieces they pick up when they shop fashion markets in Los Angeles, New York and elsewhere.
"We go to all the different markets to get the hottest new things out there," Effie says. "We try to get the new trends and the latest stuff to fit what they see in the magazines." They don't overbuy, however, even when they find items they know will be hits. "We try to only get a few pieces of each thing so you don't look like everybody else walking around," she says. "We just get a few sizes, and when it's gone, it's gone." That respect for individuality -- and great customer service -- has gained loyal customers from Lakeview, Old Metairie, Uptown, Destrehan, Mandeville and Baton Rouge, she says.
"Customer service is number one with us," Effie says. "Every customer gets greeted when they walk in the door. I always try to remember something about a customer, whether it's their first name or what they were looking for last time they came in. It makes them feel kind of special. We just want to make everyone feel comfortable and want to come back."
Everyday Works of Art Effective skin care and cosmetics are an inexpensive way for people to look their best and pamper themselves, especially when the products are of high quality and come with expert advice about how to make the most of them. These factors are what have made Makeup Art Cosmetic Studio and Day Spa (7736 Maple St., 862-0005) a hit with locals and visiting celebrities for almost two decades.
Artist Susan Spaid started the business about 19 years ago and over the years has expanded her product lines and added spa services that include deluxe manicures and pedicures, facials, waxing, and eyebrow and eyelash tinting. In the front of the store, customers can take advantage of eyebrow arching, makeup application and lessons, as well as choose from a wide range of brands and products. To make the studio a stop for universal beauty, Spaid also has added hair services by Trent Deleunne.
"We're doing better than ever," says Spaid, who translated her early career as a painter into applying makeup for friends' special occasions as well as on actors in movies and commercials. "We keep current with some of the best products, and we've gotten such a good customer base because they like what we do." Some of those customers, Spaid says, have been regulars since she opened the shop.
She attributes her shop's longevity to her philosophy of trying to make each person look and feel their best and selling them only products they will use consistently.
"We don't oversell them," Spaid says. "I give each person a personalized look something that's easy for them to work with."
Among the cosmetic and skin-care lines Makeup Art carries are Bliss, Fresh, Delux Beauty, Astara, Paula Dorf and Tinte. Customers also will find Votivo and Trapp candles as well as bath items and gifts.
The Makeup Art staff also plays makeup artist, skincare specialist and relaxation host to producers and actors who come to New Orleans to shoot movies. Most recently, Spaid and her staff worked with the crews for Christopher Reeve's The Brooke Elllison Story and director/producer Taylor Hackford's Ray, a biography of Ray Charles. The producers and actors sometimes are so pleased with the skin care and makeup applications that they come to Makeup Art to try out the spa facilities. "I think the people like the atmosphere [at the spa]," Spaid says. "It's not intimidating. It's not wall-to-wall with chatter like some places. It's very quiet; it's very relaxed."