Located in the heart of Tulum, Mexico, Calas Boutique is a multifaceted women’s retailer. Founded by two friends from Argentina, Candela Vives and Laura Ruiz, the 98-sq.-foot. (9-sq.-meter) boutique houses an assortment of brands by local Mexican designers. Our Latin America contributor Rudy Gonzales recently sat down with Vives and Ruiz to discuss the business of owning a destination boutique in a tourist hotspot and the importance of finding quality made goods for the right price. Interview by Rudy Gonzales
What are some of your current bestsellers both brandwise and itemwise?
We prefer not to choose a favorite brand. We travel internationally searching for high quality, well-priced and modest designers. Those are our bestsellers.
Have you been surprised by the sales performance of any particular item or brand?
We recently brought in Suite 21, a new collection form Guadalajara designed by Karla Morales, an independent Mexican designer. The very moment the product arrived to our store, customers loved it!
Who is your “typical” customer?
We have women come in and shop from all over the world, of different ages and with different styles. Our customer is one looking for more then the typical beach attire, someone who is causal and stylish from a day on the beach to an evening out on the town.
How does the store compare to other shops in the area? What sets your shop apart?
Being in a tourist location in Mexico, quality is very important. There are several “gift shops” that offer more nostalgic attire and we propose a more current look. Offering something different is very risky so we have to be very particular about our merchandise. Our customers love that they can find a flirtatious outfit, something special, and at a good price.
What has been the biggest challenge of having the store thus far?
This has been a dream of ours for so long and the experience itself is a challenge. Our store is located off the main hotel strip inside the city’s main street. Attracting the tourist customer is always a challenge, however we feel lucky to be that diamond in the rough.
What has been your favorite memory of the store thus far?
Moving to Mexico, opening a boutique together is a dream we shared. Our opening day is by far the most memorable. Tulum is about music, food and drinks and the event was a very important evening here in Tulum. Everybody who came enjoyed and supported our new endeavor.
How do you find new brands and merchandise?
We research blogs, magazines and hope to introduce local and new designers. Most importantly, we listen to our customers.
Tell us about the store’s décor.
We love the traditional Tulum architecture, so we use regional woods and materials. It is a humble and chic environment.
What are two or three rules that every retailer always needs to follow?
Value for money, and listen to your clients.
What fashion trend, brand or specific piece are you excited to carry for the fall 2013 season?
The return of the maxi dress! You can wear it with or without anything, it can suit in everyone, for every age. You just have to be creative and stylish with your favorite accessories.
Calle Centauro, 77780 Tulum, Quintana Roo
+52 984 1817 556