By Ashley Brazzel
A few years back when Nancy Lowe Turner said farewell to a 31-year career at IBM, she didn’t quite know what to expect. But what she did know was that retirement was not for her. So, with the support and encouragement of her husband, she decided to go another route and pursue her dream of owning her own clothing store.
In January 2006, Elements of Style, a high-end boutique specializing in eclectic, one-of-a-kind clothing and accessories, proudly opened its doors. Located in the Eclipse building in the heart of Buckhead, at 258 Pharr Rd. this 18-month old shop has quickly become the pride and joy of the Buckhead resident.
“It’s nice not having to answer to anyone in the corporate world,” she said. “Some days I’m very busy, other days it’s quiet.” However, she said there has been steady growth.
“I’m constantly getting out of town customers from Alabama, Tennessee, etc,” she said. “And I’m getting more and more stylists and personal shoppers. That has worked well for me.”
When it comes to marketing and advertising, Lowe Turner said the boutique isn’t one of those stores you can just tell people about. She said they have got to come in and experience it for themselves.
The avant-garde finds are far beyond the items you’d see at most other ritzy retailers; and rightfully so, as she admits she’s not interested in competing with other boutiques.
Confident she has carved out a niche for herself, Lowe Turner said you will not find the items sold in Elements of Style anywhere in Atlanta or even the entire state of Georgia.
A quick browsing through the store easily proves her point, revealing hand-made handbags from Thailand, hand-painted silk blouses, silk-screened fabrics, printed velvets and more. There is even python skin from Burma that has been constructed into sleek and sexy clutches especially for Lowe Turner.
And that’s not all. Old Indian spice boxes, sturdy armoires, oversized paintings and vintage Japanese kimono racks are just some of the many things displayed throughout the store that she has picked up over the years.
Being the owner, as well as the head buyer, the boutique is basically an extension of her travels, showcasing edgy items from across the globe. The majority of the artisan or art-to-wear collections are handmade by French, German, Canadian and American designers, such as Ray Harris, Lynn Mizono, Mary Jane and more.
In addition to the varied international designers stocking the shelves, Lowe Turner also sells her own unique jewelry pieces in the store. Trademarked by a sterling feather, the exotic pieces have become a fast favorite, as she has been making them for friends and family well before she ever opened up shop.
When considering the boutique’s appeal, she readily points out it may not suit everyone’s taste.
“The ideal customer is someone who loves art,” Lowe Turner said. “So they can appreciate the pieces. It’s someone who loves fine fabrics, fine details and workmanship and fine vintage. The store is for the person who really loves to be different.”