Ten years ago, Raleigh was a pretty different place. The explosion of downtown development was just getting started, the current incarnation of North Hills was in its infancy and many beloved boutiques and local fashion brands didn’t exist.
Seeing a need in the local fashion scene, Ashley Harris decided to take a chance on the evolving North Hills area by opening her boutique, Vermillion, in The Lassiter at North Hills. This week, she’s celebrating a decade in business with a party on Saturday at the Merrimon-Wynne House and a trunk show of fall looks from Lela Rose on March 18-20.
After surviving the recession and making a name for herself as one of the area’s most stylish people (she was recently named one of Southern Living’s 50 Best Dressed Southerners), Harris is thankful to reach this point in her career.
“It’s a really good feeling,” she says. “The five-year mark was a big milestone for me and the 10-year mark is an even bigger milestone. Each year I’ve gained more knowledge, experience and confidence with my business.”
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Harris’ boutique – which carries high-end brands such as Chloe, Balenciaga and Derek Lam, as well as a number of up-and-coming designers – wouldn’t work in just any city. But the Raleigh area has been good to Harris, both due to its size and its appetite for fashion.
“The growth of this area definitely correlates to the growth of the store,” she says. “Along with the growth factor, Raleigh is a central, larger city that clients from smaller surrounding cities make a priority to visit for needs and wants.”
Harris’ stable of designers is more than just a group of impressive names. She has built strong friendships with folks like Lela Rose and Wes Gordon (who both will be at the 10-year celebration party), and those friendships have benefited her both personally and professionally.
“Business, to me, is all about relationships,” she says. “I am such a relational person and many of my designers have become friends, just like my clients have become friends. It lends itself to a great partnership for the store. My favorite designers are the ones that are approachable, open and obviously extremely talented and passionate about what they do. These are the types of relationships I like to cultivate not only in business, but in life.”
And just as she’s built relationships with designers over the years, she’s also developed a bond with many of the women who shop her store.
“I really love helping women truly feel beautiful and special,” says Harris. “I enjoy the whole buying and selling process. It is thrilling to me to order a season ahead and watch it come into the store and go out the door to ladies’ closets. I get a lot of satisfaction of bringing beautiful clothing and accessories to Raleigh and watching people enjoy and gravitate towards them.”
As she marks this occasion, Harris says she might grow beyond the current location one day, but until then, she’s content to just enjoy this achievement.
“I am very happy with how business is going at the moment,” she says. “In the back of my mind, I definitely entertain the idea of expanding or growing, but for now, I’ll continue doing what I truly love and being thankful Vermillion is celebrating 10 years in business.”
▪ Dress boutique in Raleigh will have hand-crafted pieces from Belliza Knight Jewelry for a trunk show Thursday and Friday. Hours for the show are 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday. For more info, call 919-699-6505.
▪ The spring trunk show series at Pittsboro’s Dovecote boutique rolls on this weekend with jackets by Greensboro-turned-NYC designer Blair Stanley. The show will be held Friday and Saturday. For details, call 919-542-1145.
The Brides Against Breast Cancer traveling trunk sale brings bargain-priced, donated dresses to brides while raising funds and awareness of breast cancer. The tour comes to Raleigh Friday and Saturday with bridal gowns priced from $75 to $1,800. Proceeds from the sale benefit the Health Support Network, which proves free programs and services to breast cancer patients, their families and caregivers. General admission is $5 and gets you in from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. A VIP preview will be held 6-9:30 p.m. Friday for $20 admission. For more info, visit bridesagainstbreastcancer.org.
A new Moon and Lola
Apex-based jewelry company Moon and Lola is expanding. The brand, which has three boutiques – in Apex, downtown Raleigh and Charleston, S.C. – opened a fourth location in Raleigh’s Cameron Village this week. The new space carries the brand’s monogrammed jewelry and accessories, as well as other jewelry and gifts. The new boutique is at 2014 Cameron St., in the former Jitty’s boutique location.
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