Wednesday, June 22, 2011

cupcakeMAG shops: Declaration Boutique and Events!

Recently, I’ve the true delight of chatting with Lara Kocerka, owner of Declaration Boutique and Events in St. Augustine, Florida. Whether you are a native of the North Florida area or a visiting snowbird migrating temporarily for a warm and sunny summer, you must make a detour to historic St. Augustine to visit. You’ll find various pretty things to pick out for yourself, but what I love most about Declaration Boutique and Events is its gift-giving potential.

My absolute favorite thing to do in the world is give gifts, and on top of that I’m known for giving the very best ones! With these high standards to uphold (a please, I know I’m not the only one like this!) picking our the perfect gift is made easy AND fun when shopping at Declaration. There is so much to choose from and it’s all lovely. Luckily, if you can’t make it in person, they have a fabulously kept website you can visit anytime...even past store hours!! But enough about what I have to say, let’s get the inside scoop on this new whimsical and delightful shop in the nation’s oldest city.

Lauren Gonzalez: When did you first open the store? And when did you start the online website?

Lara Kocerka: Declaration Boutique and Events opened on August 13, 2010. The shop is on a cobblestone street in historic St. Augustine, Florida. Our website launched around the same time as the doors opened. It started out very simply and has really developed over the past few months. We now have an online boutique and are always updating the portfolio section of the site as well!

LG: How do you pick the products to sell in the store?

LK: This is my favorite part! It really is a fun process searching for the next great product! I look through magazines, devour blogs, jot down inspiration from other fabulous boutiques and spend countless hours googling. Ideas can pop into my head at any time, and I get creative spirts throughout the day. Everything inspires me... so I try to come up with fresh new ideas and products all of the time!

{how cute is this shop?}

LG: How do you want the store to feel to customers who come in? What kind of experience are you hoping to create for them?

LK: I want the boutique to feel cozy, whimsical, fun and charming, all at the same time. I hope that everyone who walks in the door has to circle the shop a few times just to see everything. I love to create a cute and surprising shop, full of clever and unique items!

LG: What are some of the things you purchase for the shop and can't live without?

LK: When I buy for the store, I don't purchase anything I'm not in love with. Between my Mom and I, we normally "die" over everything in the shop! When a new shipment arrives, it's like Christmas! The store is 100% a reflection of my passion, style and favorite things! I always end up with a few new things from the shop every month :-)

LG: Do you have an local artists/designers who create things for you to sell? Tell me about them!!

LK: We carry items from all over the world!! I'm very proud of that fact and love all of the brands we sell.

LG: What do you love most about your job? What makes it feel like less of a job and more of a passion?

LK: I am passionate about all aspects of my job. I love designing, merchandising, customer service, packaging... and even the tough parts, long hours and accounting. I get to work with the most wonderful people and am truly living my dream.

LG: If you could only wear one color for the rest of your life, what would it be?

LK: All neutrals are my favorite...white, cream, grey, navy and black! I like to accessorize with color :-)

{Cotton Candy Zippy Pouch}

LG: How would you describe your personal style?

LK: I'm a girly girl at heart, but when I am dressing, I believe that less is more! I love basics, soft fabrics and great accessories.

{something for your Littles too!}

LG: There is a lot of attention to detail on the website, the store and in the products you carry. I feel like that makes you unique to other stores. What else makes the store unique? And how do you find these detailed things to sell?

LK: Not only do we have the boutique, but I am also an event and paper goods designer. I work with clients to create invitations, favors and other wedding and event details. I think having a boutique that doubles as a design studio, makes us stand out from others!

The window displays are my absolute favorite aspect of DBE. I have dreamt about having my own window for as long as I can remember and love to design fun, creative displays. I also love to to add detail to the merchandise we receive. Whether it be a bow or packaging it slightly different, I love to really make everything special!!!

{LOVE these Golden Bangles}

LG: What are your most popular items?

LK: The popular items really rotate in the shop. Our Emergency Kits, especially our new baby and wedding day, are one of our best sellers! They are a staple at DBE and I'm always coming up with new Kit ideas.

{Wedding Day Emergency Kit}

LG: What do you foresee for the future of Declaration Boutique?

LK: I've had many people ask if we have multiple locations. That is a true dream and I would love to open a few more doors ;-)

I hope to continue to grow and become a destination location for events and specialty gifts!

LG: Is there anything about Declaration Boutique that you want people to know about that hasn’t been covered?

LK: DBE is truly a family affair. I never could have imagined owning my dream business... and was able to start because of my family. I work side by side with Mom all day and the rest of my family helps out quite a bit!

{LOVE conquers ALL}

Check out more in person at their storefront on 210 St. George Street in St. Augustine, Florida or online now!

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