Powell Peabody beams when a customer walks through the door of her boutique, Sole Sisters, in downtown Detroit. Helping her greet customers is Peabody's very large, bull mastiff mix, Moby--an unconventional mascot for such a decidedly feminine shop, but Moby is in touch with his feminine side and feels right at home.
Peabody's 1000-watt smile is returned by her customers, some new and many loyal regulars, as they visit the Grosse Pointe native's edgy women's apparel and shoe shop.
She opened the fashion-forward store five years ago this weekend, after several years of globe-trotting and the dream of working in fashion brought her back home to southeast Michigan.
Peabody, a born and raised Grosse Pointer and 1999 graduate of Grosse Pointe South High School, left for California directly after finishing her high school degree a semester early to pursue an education in fashion and business at Marymount College.
The "road less traveled" took Peabody from California to Colorado for more education at Regis University in Denver and then to a career in real estate in Rhode Island.
But she was restless and returned to Michigan to help her brother, a real estate developer, market and sell loft spaces in his downtown Detroit building development.
While real estate was paying the bills, Peabody's first love remained fashion and she began working in an edgy new shoe store in Royal Oaks called Sole Sisters.
Peabody suggested to her brother that some of the spaces in his development on East Canfield would be ideal for a boutique due to the building's proximity to the Detroit Medical Center, Wayne State University and numerous eclectic shops and restaurants within walking distance.
When an offer came in to buy the space Peabody had been eyeing, her brother gave her 48 hours to make a decision. She jumped in with both feet and opened a new location of Sole Sisters.
"I figured if not now, then when? And I just went for it," Peabody said.
Each store is an independently owned licensee and Peabody works closely with Nichole Sterling, the brand's founder, on buying trips and discovering new designers to feature in Sole Sisters that customers won't find in bigger department stores.
Since opening, Sole Sisters has been voted the top women's shoe store in Detroit by ClickonDetroit.com. The boutique offers unique services like shoe parties and special orders. Soon Peabody will offer her customers online shopping too. Peabody's fun shop carries women's apparel, shoes and accessories that range in price from $12 to $350, with most items between $60 - $150, Peabody said.
Having something for all ages and all price points is something Peabody strives for in her store. The top drawer, warm customer service that Peabody gives to each person walking through her door is certainly one reason for her success and Sole Sisters Detroit’s many repeat customers.
"My dream, ever since I was a little girl, was to open a boutique and take my dog to work with me," Peabody grins.
Sole Sisters Detroit will celebrate their fifth anniversary with a special sale and prize drawing on Dec. 7 as well as a party in the evening. More information can be found on the Sole Sisters Detroit website. Sole Sisters Detroit is located at 87 E. Canfield, Detroit MI 48201 Ph. 313-831-9013