Dot Reeder: A New Kind of Boutique.
As a mother, moving from New York City to the suburbs can be a difficult adjustment, especially when it comes to shopping. That darling around-the corner boutique you’re used to strolling to with your children is a train ride a way now, but you’re in luck. Owner of Dot Reeder, Laura Barker planned her store to fit exactly what you’re missing.
Dot Reeder, describing itself as a “new kind of boutique”, located in Watchung Plaza in Montclair, NJ opened up in 2007. It sells primarily contemporary collections including clothes, shoes, accessories, jewelry, perfume, and organic makeup. Owner, Laura Barker said that she wanted to have a store that could “appeal to a women that has sensibility, a sense of style, a classic esthetic, but offer her something that was accessible in a certain respect. Something she can relate and identify with but can’t find easily, something that she could incorporate into her wardrobe.”
Prior to opening up Dot Reeder, Barker had dipped her toes in countless fashion based jobs with twenty some-odd years of experience. She described her career by saying, “it’s not your kind of crazy ambitious story, I just put one foot in front of the other. I always knew that I wanted to be in fashion, things just kind of happened organically from the people I’ve met and from the experiences I’ve had.”
Growing up in South Jersey, Barker worked in a retail store at the mall as a teenager. Her career began to spiral when she moved to Manhattan to pursue her dreams. She then worked as a costume designer, wardrobe stylist, did wholesale, production, designed, consulted in terms of creative directions for brands, was a merchandiser, and has had a store in the past. She has also spoken to the fashion students at Montclair State University for the past four years.
Barker changed careers and started from square one many times. It was around the time that she was let go of her previous job in wholesale, when she started thinking in terms of opening up her store in Montclair.
Being that Barker was in the industry, she knew that she could buy for fall 2007 at DNA in LA, so that February she got on a plane and bought for the store that she didn’t yet have. She struggled when looking for spots in Brooklyn and Montclair. It took 9 months for her to find the space for Dot Reeder, which she opened that November. Ever since the store opened Barker said, “It’s basically sustained itself.” Knowing that most of the residents in Montclair have transported and moved from either Manhattan or Brooklyn, she said her initial idea about opening up a boutique there and appealing to the women in Montclair was, “I guess I wanted to offer her an esthetic of more of a city gal, not to get lost in the suburbs and still have collections that are readily available in New York City, which are not available in New Jersey.” It was very well thought out, and it wasn’t by chance that she became successful at almost 40.
Barker describes her target clientele as “the women that lives in Montclair, basically a mom that is 35 and up.” Her store shares a lot of the same clothes with department stores, but the way that she buys them are different. Barker stressed that she doesn’t necessarily buy according to trend; she buys things that she knows her clients will love and that will sell. Some of the tried-and-true brands she carries are Steven Alan, Maison Scotch, Archerie, Ulla Johnson, and Layla. A lot of the brands she carries are made in the states. Dot Reeder is the only New Jersey store that carries these specific collections.
When choosing clothes for her clientele, Barker asks herself, “where can she go, how can she wear it, when can she wear it.” She wants her clothing and accessories to be worn on women who have places to go, whether it is meetings, events with their husbands, parties, dinner with their girlfriends, etc. Dot Reeder also has its annual event coming up on December 2nd, to celebrate its 8-year anniversary party. Barker has had spa directors come in in the past and give caviar masks and facials. She plans to have tarot card reads, performers, and musicians. Her anniversary party is a big way for her to celebrate and to say thank you. She wants girls to come out and have a drink and just celebrate the fact that they’re all still together. To find more about Dot Reeder, you can go to their site, www.DotReeder.com, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Instagram at @DotReeder.