CapFABB: When did you open Zoe Boutique?
Susan: I opened Zoe Boutique in April 2011 following a year of research and planning.
CapFABB: Have you always been interested in fashion?
Susan: Although my career path had not been in fashion, I have loved beautiful clothing and boutique shopping for as long as I can remember! Growing up, I lived in a small town and the only places to shop for clothing were small, independently owned boutiques. And I started reading Vogue at the age of nine!
CapFABB: Are you interested in designing your own line?
Susan: Sigh — there is such a difference between interest and talent! I wish I had the creative gifts and skills of a designer. I have so much admiration for what they do and it is like meeting a rock star when I do meet them at the apparel markets.
CapFABB: What is your process for selecting the items for the boutique?
Susan: I have always said that the buying process is the most fun and most frightening thing I do. I really listen to my customers — that they want bra-friendly items, that they like clothing made in the US, that they want some dresses with sleeves! I typically go to New York for the apparel markets and then do a follow-up trip to see additional lines in the “large” buying seasons of Spring and Fall.
CapFABB: Do you have a style icon?
Susan: My ultimate style icon is my mother. She worked in a professional setting back when many women did not and she was always dressed impeccably! As far as a more modern day style icon, I would have to say Kate Hudson. I love how she combines a feminine, bohemian vibe to her outfits and just always looks so supremely comfortable in what she wears.
CapFABB: What is the most important piece of clothing a woman should own?
Susan: That’s a tough one. And my answer might surprise you. I think a perfect fitting, comfortable pair of denim is the most important piece of clothing a woman should own. Because it can be worn almost anywhere and can make you feel fantastic!
CapFABB: What do you think about style in DC?
Susan: I think that style has come a long way in DC since I moved here in 1988. We are still a relatively conservative town in terms of our dress but I’m seeing more and more people break away from the “uniform” or need to sport a logo to really dressing for themselves and their personal sense of style. It is definitely something we encourage at Zoe!