Take one look at Laurie Zoock and you know she has a thing for the 1980s.
Her big hair, leopard print top and fringe jacket give it away instantly.
“I’m an 80s girl,” Zoock said. “I’m wearing the same hair I’ve had since I was 12.”
Now, Zoock is bringing her 80s style—and fashion from virtually every other decade in the past 60 years—to the Temple Terrace masses via her new store: My Secret Boutique.
It’s a women’s fashion shop that opened in November where Zoock sells new, pre-owned and vintage clothing, as well as hand-made jewelry. There are designer items, name brands and lots of unique styles.
Temple Terrace Patch talked with Zoock to get a better idea about her and her business. Here’s what she had to say.
Temple Terrace Patch: How long have you been collecting vintage/second hand clothing? How did it start?
Laurie Zoock: I’ve been collecting vintage clothing for the last couple of years, primarily from the 80s, which was my favorite fashion decade. I wish I had kept my clothes from that time period. Eighties fashions are back, so I’m wearing a lot of those clothes. Growing up in the NY Metro area people love to dress up and look their best!
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Temple Terrace Patch: Why did you want to open a store?
Zoock: I started out buying and then selling clothes on eBay for fun (I have a “Cache” addiction) and became a Top Seller in a few months. My friends would come over to my house and ask me to help them put coordinating outfits together from head to toe. I worked in specialty retail clothing stores for several years when I was younger. When my other half told me that the racks of clothing were taking over the house and to “get a store,” I did. We set up shop within a couple of weeks, which was a tremendous amount of work, and my family and friends all helped!
Also, I like more artsy and unique clothing, accessories and jewelry so that’s how the store is set up. I also make a lot of the jewelry myself. First time customers think My Secret Boutique is a consignment store, but it’s not. I own the clothing and about 70 percent of it is new. About 15 percent is vintage (some is very unusual and I also have vintage hats) and about 15 percent is pre-loved. I carry designer women’s clothing at consignment store prices. I also offer free personal fashion consultations by appointment. Shopping for fashion should be fun, and I think every woman wants to look and feel special.
Temple Terrace Patch: Why did you choose Temple Terrace?
Zoock: I love Temple Terrace. I’ve lived here for a couple of years and everyone is very friendly and I was fortunate to find a great spot (and great property owners) in the Sherwood Forest Center. The other tenants here are terrific.
Temple Terrace Patch: What type of woman would want to shop at your store?
Zoock: The type of woman that seems to like my store is the one that wants to dress a little sharper and not be “one of the crowd.” A woman who wants to distinguish her individuality and uniqueness, whether it is classy with a little sparkle, or a bit more on the “blingy” side. Most of my customers are in the 30 to 60 age range, but the younger and older customers have fun shopping, too. The store is set up to be very informal and comfortable, and I offer a “spouse couch” for your significant other to relax on while you’re trying on clothes.
Temple Terrace Patch: Why should people check your business out?
Zoock: I think women in the area want something different, and that’s what my customers tell me. They don’t want to travel to the malls; they want a quick, fun, different kind of place to shop for affordable, quality clothing. I used to shop consignment to look for fun and different fashions, but there’s nothing like My Secret Boutique in the immediate area. We also have a Facebook page where we run “Secret Sales” every week, and we’re open to working with non-profits to raise funds for their organizations.
Temple Terrace Patch: How has the response from the community been since you opened?
Zoock: Pretty good. The customers that have come in are sometimes amazed at the clothing, especially the prices! But because the store is set back from the road (we’re next to Emma’s Cakes), the first reaction I get from women who are visiting other stores in Sherwood Forest is, “We didn’t know you were here.” In the last few weeks, business is starting to pick up.
Temple Terrace Patch: What else should readers know?
Zoock: I started a clothing drive for the homeless shortly after we opened in November. I was fortunate that The Tampa Tribune did an article and Fox TV also did a segment. We give all old or slightly damaged but wearable clothing to two local charities (one for adults and one for kids). Bring in 10 or more clean and unwanted clothing articles for donation and you will get a special discount on your clothing purchase at the store. I believe in giving back to the community, and I’m honored that the Greater Temple Terrace Chamber of Commerce selected My Secret Boutique to be given a membership for 2013.
My Secret Boutique will celebrate its opening with a Greater Temple Terrace Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting on Feb. 7, 5:30-7 p.m. The store is located at 10915 N. 56th St.