Taking Charming Charlie Online
Charming Charlie is a fashion-forward accessories boutique, offering absolutely everything a girl or woman might want to complement her outfit, from toe rings and necklaces, to purses and scarves, to watches and hair clips. “If fashion is fun, then accessories are the life of the party,” says LaFleur. “We want to make sure our shopper feels fabulous.”
If you’re wondering, there is a real Charming Charlie. That’s Charlie Chanaratsopon, founder and CEO of the company, whose family was in the silver jewelry business, and sold its wares to high-end retailers such as Nordstrom.
Observing the business up close, Chanaratsopon was inspired to make jewelry and other accessories affordable to the everyday woman, and, after graduating with his Master’s from Columbia University, set about to launch such a business around that concept. In 2005, he opened his first store in his hometown of Houston; to his surprise, he saw women spending hours upon hours browsing; in the mornings, they were queued up, waiting for the store to open. He realized he was on to something.
By the end of that year he had opened three more stores; by 2008 there were 14 stores; today there are 286, and this year the company expects to open a total of 50, which will bring the total to 336, says LaFleur, with flagship stores set to open soon in New York City and Las Vegas. Its first international location, in Canada, is also on the way.
Charming Charlie offers a “wonderful price point for every girl,” says LaFleur, with most merchandise ranging from $8-$40, and drawing women of all ages, young to old. “We allow her to stretch the apparel budget … to get [the accessories that will allow her to] get those new [trendy] looks inexpensively,” she says.