Our next featured business is Jupe Wardrobe Artisans, a women’s boutique clothing store, where they want to help create the perfect Your wardrobe. Located at 327 Dundas Street East in downtown Waterdown, Jupe opened on April 26th of this year. One of the co-owners of Jupe, Sherine Mansour answered our questions.
1. What made you want to start Jupe?
As co-owner of Jupe with my sister Sandy, I can honestly say she and I have spent many years talking about going into business together. We grew up in a family where our mother often sewed our clothes and dance costumes for years. She even made my wedding dress! We love clothes, we love fashion. And maybe it’s in the family genes, I’m not sure, but my niece Taylor has drawn fashion designs since she was a little girl! We think she might have a bit of her grandma in her! We hope Jupe will eventually be a full-on family business when Taylor grows up. And when we lost our father suddenly last fall, Sandy and I knew it was time to stop dreaming and to start doing, so here we are!
2. If you had to pick one thing out of your day, what’s the most exciting / favorite?
I love watching people’s faces when they put something on that looks great and makes them feel great. I realize there are so many important issues in the world that we need to pay attention to – that we need to try and improve upon. But just that tiny single moment when someone can forget whatever is weighing on them and feel good just for a second has to be my favourite part of the day.
3. Who is your ideal customer?
You’re probably expecting me to say “someone who shops in my store frequently.” But right now, my ideal customer is the one who stops in to say hello and says “thank you for opening your store.” That means a lot to me and my sister because we’re so new at this. We’d rather have a store full of people dropping in to chat and have a laugh and not buy a single thing than have any empty store all day long. So, my ideal customer is someone who drops in to say hello and share a word of encouragement that we’re on the right track.
4. What do you consider your biggest weakness?
We keep falling into the trap of trying to be everything to everyone. But unfortunately, that’s not possible There are so many terrific people in this town and so many fantastic out-of-towners who drop in as well – they come in all ages, shapes and personal styles. We’re confident that most of the time we will have something for everyone, but not always. And each time we don’t have what a customer is looking for, it feels just horrible. At first we would panic, and start searching for a way to bring in whatever it was the person was looking for – but realistically, the store is small and we can’t afford to run it that way. That’s been our biggest weakness, I think.
5. How are you improving on that weakness?
Becoming aware that it’s not possible to be “all things to all people” is the only way to improve this weakness. And, to provide a solution for
that customer by sending them to Lareina’s or Second Time Around or any of the other fantastic local businesses that we have in Waterdown. Because that’s what’s important – providing excellent customer service, even if that means you have to send them somewhere else AND, most importantly, to work diligently to keep all the merchants in town vibrant and successful as well. That’s how we can all help each other.
6. What is your biggest strength?
I think we have some great products in our store! Sure, I’m biased – but we’ve been insatiable in our search to find really gorgeous, unique,
well-made and fashion forward items to offer our customers! We work hard to keep things fresh.
7. How do you like running Jupe?
It feels like Christmas every day! We’re shopping for great items – we’re receiving new deliveries every other week, and we’re providing some happy moments for some incredible women who shop in our store! It’s a great time every single day!
8. If you could change one thing about your businesses day-to-day routine, what would it be?
Charging HST. I think that’s made a real impact moving from just PST to a harmonized tax with the GST. I know it’s important that we pay taxes to keep the wheels in motion. But that was just an all out hit on the consumer, you know? It’s hurt people’s budgets. I wish I could charge people less tax. That’s what I would change.
9. Any new specials you can tell your customers about?
Yes! Our summer stock is on sale – 40% off right now and each week there will be new items placed on sale until they sell so we can make room for our fall stock that’s ready to come in by the end of July! Can you believe it? So customers who drop in each week will be able to see new sale items – and we’ll start the sale week every Saturday until the end of August!
10. If you had a chance to say one thing to a brand new customer, before they call, what would it be?
Try just one thing on that you would never normally take a second look at. If you’re unsure, ask one of the sales associates at Jupe to help you find that one item. We all get into fashion ruts – I’m guilty of it myself! Too much black, too many boxy, over sized clothes. Why not start with a great new colour you never usually wear? Step out of the box.. live a little. Your wardrobe should be a work of art.. YOUR work of art. Let it be an expression of who you really are – not who you think you’re supposed to be. Life’s too short, as they say. Too short not to wear red pants.