Wearing it Proudly: Jolie Occasions Approaches Fifth Year as a Short North Boutique
Jolie Occasions embraces the Short North.
While some fashion retailers try to keep up with minute-to-minute trends and compete with the infinite options of online shopping, Stephanie Tersigni has found a successful niche in her Short North boutique. Jolie Occasions is thriving along with other boutiques in the neighborhood that have weathered turbulent times for brick-and-mortar retailers.
Jolie is personal for Tersigni. Later this summer, on Aug. 6, she will celebrate the store’s fifth anniversary and then in September she is planning her annual streetside style show. (Last year she designed her own collection to include in the show.) Overshadowing both events this year, perhaps, is the expected birth of her first child in July.
Tersigni has always wanted her clients to have a unique shopping experience. Even from High Street, the girly décor in Jolie is apparent. Wide windows reveal a cozy storefront full of colorful thrifted furniture, cutesy cursive signs and an impressive amount of pink. Tersigni designed the store with help from family and friends. She says the unapologetically feminine atmosphere reflects her deep personal investment in the store.
“I feel like it has been in the back of my mind forever,” she says. “Someone told me they think Jolie is what the inside of my brain looks like.” Unlike big-box stores, Tersigni says boutiques offer the opportunity to tell a unique story. And, she’s collaborated with other boutiques in the Short North to tell a bigger story, too. In the midst of the pandemic early last summer she organized the Short North Style Walk, a Friday evening parade of models wearing fashions from various stores.
How have you and Jolie helped shape and promote the Short North community? Since opening Jolie, one of our biggest goals has been to be remembered as more than a store. I’ve been actively involved with the Short North Alliance over the years to find new ways to promote the Short North and overall bring people and businesses together to make it a place where everyone feels welcome. The Short North would be nothing without all of the incredible small businesses that are here, and it’s because of them that we chose to open Jolie in this neighborhood. We love supporting the other businesses as much as we can, whether it’s coming up with fun events like the Short North Style Walk, collaborating for a giveaway, or even just physically stopping in to say hello and see how things are going. We truly feel that it’s so important to celebrate and lift each other.
How does a small boutique compete against bigger stores with broader selections? We compete with bigger stores by offering a better experience, more unique pieces and limited quantities of each item. When a style sells out we don’t reorder it because we want our inventory to be constantly refreshed so you find something new every time you come in.
How has running Jolie Occasions changed the way you track trends? We track trends by keeping up with what our employees and customers are wearing on a daily basis, and by simply asking them what they want to see in our store. When going to a buying show, we share styles we like through Instagram and gather as much feedback as we can before buying them!
What would you say to people who are self-conscious about showing off their feminine side? Everyone has their own sense of style so whatever you choose to wear, wear it proudly!
This story is from the May 2022 issue of Columbus Monthly.