Nestled in Wilmington, North Carolina and opened in 2002, Oliver boutique is a 2,000-sq.-foot (186-sq.-meter) canvas of today’s leading denim and contemporary collections.
With brand favorites such as J Brand, Citizens of Humanity and 7 for All Mankind for women along with Life After Denim, John Varvatos Star USA and Vicarious By Nature for men, Oliver’s well edited offerings spotlight contemporary labels. We recently spoke with owner Kelly Oliver to delve into her retail expertise and find out what she thinks of being known as a “recession survivor.” Interview by Rudy Gonzales

What are some of your current bestsellers brandwise and itemwise?
Denim is our strongest category and bestselling brands are Citizens of Humanity and Mother. Bestselling styles from those vendors are the Avedon from Citizens and the Looker from Mother.

Have you been surprised by the sales performance of any particular item or brand?
The Citizens of Humanity Rocket body–it is the first time we've seen a high-rise skinny retail so well. It is offered in both regular denim and a coated “leatherette” version.

Who is your “typical” customer?
After 10 years of offering both men’s and women’s premium denim, clothing and accessories, Oliver has established a core clientele of a varied demographic.

How does the store compare to other shops in the area? What sets Oliver apart?
Oliver offers Wilmington’s most extensive selection of denim brands, all of which are exclusive to the store in Wilmington. Oliver is also Wilmington’s only specialty boutique offering both men’s and women’s apparel under one roof.

What has been the biggest challenge of having the store thus far?
I’m just thankful to be a recession survivor!

What has been your favorite memory of the store thus far?
In 2006 we moved the store to our current location. We were able to design a more open, modern space and expand our men’s selection.

How do you find new brands and merchandise?
ALWAYS staying current... LOTS of watching the world!

Tell us about the store’s décor.
Wide open spaces and clean, modern decor with a lot of wood detail to keep things warm.

What special services does Oliver offer customers?
By appointment and personal shopping. And lots of fun parties, of course!

How important are sales at the store?
E-Commerce will not be launched until spring 2013 so they are VERY important.

What are two or three rules that every retailer always needs to follow?
1. Hire great people and treat them well. 2. Buy for your demographic and don't buy too much. 3. Take advantage of social media.

What fashion trend, brand or specific piece are you excited to carry for the spring 2013 season?
I am very excited for the launch of denim newcomer Koral’s men's line. While the women's line has only been on the market since July, the creative force behind Koral is nothing new in the world of denim. Peter Koral and fellow 7 for All Mankind alumnus Rick Crane teamed up with Koral's son, David.

1055 Military Cutoff Rd #103
Wilmington, NC 28405-4368 USA
+1 910 256 2233