Oct. 19—PLATTSBURGH — Sometimes you just have to do things yourself, April Bates says.
Noticing cute clothes for all bodies was lacking in larger department stores, the mom of two opened a boutique clothing store in Champlain Centre and promises to stock women's clothing in sizes from small to 5X.
"Different size bodies still want to be feminine and cute and dressy," Bates said. "They don't want to just put on a hoodie. So I chose pieces that were that — feminine and dainty.
"Now this friend and that friend, who are any size, can shop together."
BY WOMEN, FOR WOMEN
Peace by Piece sells head-to-toe accessories, clothing and other goods, like handmade soaps and wax melts, all inspired by the owner's personal style.
Bates, 33, started working in retail in her teen years and is used to being the voice of fashion in her own circle.
"Not to toot my horn, but that's part of what led me to do this is because everyone always says, 'You're dressed so cute,' or 'You always look so cute,' or 'You're a mom and you still manage to dress so cute,'" she said.
"I have been dressing my friends for years, so I thought, 'I'm just going to do a store.'"
The boutique's product lines are all from women-owned business across the states, and Bates hopes to get some local ladies' products in there soon, too.
"That's something I'm definitely working on right now."
The 1,900-plus square foot storefront sits near Old Navy, on the Kohl's end of the mall.
It celebrated its grand opening Friday and sold out of some items over the weekend.
"Flying off the shelves is my 1X to 5X, definitely the plus sizes," Bates said. "That just goes to show how bad this was needed for the area."
Bates noticed plus-size options were dwindling locally with the losses of both Dressbarn and Christopher & Banks in Plattsburgh, and even Peables in Malone.
"These larger retailers are missing the demographic for what we're looking for around here. I felt like if I had those thoughts and felt that way then other women did too. That's what led me to want to do this."
AWAY FROM AMAZON
And Bates thought shopping online was more of a hassle than anything.
"It's a great convenience, but if you get it in and don't like it you have to send it back. It's nice to have the option to come into a place, see it, try it on, and also have it be affordable and available."
The shop owner did not want to compete with billionaire Amazon-founder Jeff Bezos.
"So I looked for things that aren't on amazon," she said. "I can go to Amazon now and get a cardigan, but that's not helping anybody. If I can do similar price points and bring it local, that was huge for me."
Bates, from Beekmantown, noted encouragement from her partner of eight years, Clay White, and their two kids: Nolan, 7, and Vaeda, 2.
Her mom, Renay, and nana, Sally, were there for her grand opening, as well.
"I always think, I don't even know how lucky I am."
Email McKenzie Delisle: