Winston opened the shoe boutique Uptown almost two years ago after noticing a disparate ratio in the number of clothing stores to fashion-forward shoe emporiums. "I do definitely love shoes," she says, "but from a business point of view, I felt there was a market for it. I just felt like there were a few shoe stores in the city and a million clothing stores."
Winston focuses on selecting great-looking shoes from small designers and those not available in other stores in the city. She also seeks out unusual designs, whether in Puma tennis shoes or dress footwear from small Los Angeles designers such as Adrianna Caras or Delores & Maxine. She also stocks less available national designers like Steven (Steve Madden's upscale line) and in the fall, Marc Jacobs.
"I buy stuff I truly like," she says. "That's worked better for me than trying to figure out what everyone wants to buy. [My store] is a little bit different, a little bit younger." She carries fancy and "cool" tennis shoes by Puma, Gola and New Balance, boots from Uggs and even Frey cowboy boots in adventurous colors including pink and turquoise, among numerous other brands and styles of shoes. Winston also caters to men, offering an expanding range of footwear options that include both casual and dress shoes.
"When I first started out I was predominantly women's shoes and ordered a few men's shoes because I had a few male friends who wanted some things and I could get them for them," Winston says. "I can't tell you how many men came in to shop, and I started running out of shoes. The last time I went to market, I focused more on men and have tons of casual shoes and lots of dress shoes now.
"It's nice to have a man and woman and their child come in to shop together for shoes. We have some kid's shoes and will have more for the fall. It's kind of getting back to the traditional shoe store."
Following her instincts both in what shoes to stock and for whom has served Winston well; she expects to have a second store open sometime next year, probably on Metairie Road. She believes customers across the parish line will appreciate her fresh take on foot fashions.
"I've always been a little different," Winston says. "My style has always been a little out of the mainstream and I think my store reflects that." So does the store's name. "The name is actually a play on words," she explains. "In some Arabic dialect 'shoofty' means 'look at this,' so we just substituted an 'e' for one of the 'o's and came up with Shoefty."
Shoppers looking for great deals on a variety of things -- all within walking distance of each other -- should make a point of visiting the 2000 block of Magazine Street this week to take advantage of sales on both sides of the street.
The Block Sale features 15 percent to 75 percent off selected items in every store, and the businesses will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through July 25. The special block sale started July 17.
Save and Preserve
Shop of the Two Sisters (1800 Magazine St., 525-2747) and Preservation Resource Center (PRC) are teaming up next month to raise money for PRC programs aimed at making the public more aware of and active in preserving the city's old buildings .
From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. every Wednesday in August, Shop of the Two Sisters will host a wine and hors d'oeuvres gathering at its store, which specializes in classic home decor such as furniture, lighting, rugs, upholstery and accessories. The shop's entire inventory will be discounted up to 40 percent during August, and 10 percent of the proceeds from sales made during the Wednesday happy hour events will be donated to PRC.
A Girl Thing
White House/Black Market (The Shops at Canal Place 333 Canal St., Suite 216, 299-8044; Lakeside Shopping Center,3301 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Suite 42, Metairie, 837-4540) is offering women a special Girl's Night Out Party with perks.
Customers can pre-arrange a shopping party for up to 10 people, with a store associate acting as a personal stylist. In addition, partygoers will receive 10 percent off any purchases they make during the party, or they can choose to have the 10 percent donated to a charity of their choice. The hostess of the party also receives a $25 gift certificate. For more information or to book a party, call a local store or (877) 948-2525.