Friendship, Love of Fashion Inspire New St. Cloud Boutique
ST. CLOUD -- It doesn't take long to see how passionate Tracy Bartkowicz and Stacy Jackson are about fashion.
Ask them about their new business venture, Theory Clothing Co., and they light up in tandem.
"We just have a natural love of clothes," Bartkowicz says. "And a passion for doing things that make us happy."
The long-time friends and former coworkers opened Theory, a women's clothing boutique, in October, after scheming about the idea for years while working together in the hair salon / product industry.
"We loved where we worked, and the people," says Jackson. "We both have families, and it was good for them. But it didn't speak to our hearts."
They began seriously pursuing the idea of a boutique in the spring of 2019.
"We knew we had to get back to being creative," says Jackson. "It was the right time."
Theory Clothing Co, located at 4180 Thielman Lane behind the Copper Court shopping center in St. Cloud, offers a fashion-forward collection of tops, sweaters, denim, vests and other items, carefully curated by the two women.
"We're very different," Bartkowicz explains. "We're each doing our own personal style."
"Yep, we pick what we like, we put it together, and so far, so good!" says Jackson.
"She'll pick something out and I'll say, 'umm?" Bartkowicz laughs. "Then I'll put it on and say, wait a minute - I love this!"
The women buy their clothing from a wholesaler. Jackson says they're buying pieces from brands they know and have personally worn. They're also ordering items in small quantities in order to keep the selection fresh and avoid selling too many of one thing.
"We don't want everyone you run into to have the same top," Jackson says. "We're going to mix it up."
Clothing sizes run from extra small through 3x. Stocking plus-sized clothes was important to the women, who say they want to 'keep it trendy and fun" for all body types. Prices range from $20-30 for tops through $70 for denim, and the two plan to keep it that way.
"We know what 'the experts' say you're supposed to do," Bartkowicz says. "But, we know what we would pay. So, we want to keep (pieces) affordable and fair."
Theory has only been open to the public for a few days, following a "soft open" for family and friends. Jackson describes business as "just insane."
"We practically sold out of everything," Jackson laughed.
Bartkowicz and Jackson hope their collection will inspire customers to venture out of their style comfort zones. One woman, Bartkowicz says, tried on and bought her first pair of 'skinny jeans' at the boutique last week.
"She wasn't sure, she'd never worn them," Bartkowicz says. "We just said, 'try it!' And she did. And she loved them!"
Theory Clothing Co. is open Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m.-6 p.m., and Monday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. For more, visit their Facebook page.