Mother-daughter duo Barbara Griesedieck and Corinn Brunson, owners of Julep women’s boutique, appreciate individuality. When they bought their store, then Warren on King, from the former owner in 2016, they had a vision: Cater to local women who don’t want to wear what everyone else is wearing or what influencers are telling them to wear.
While certain wardrobe staples serve a purpose in our climate, Griesedieck and Brunson are aware Charleston women need more than flowy cotton dresses; among other things, we work and travel and need wardrobes that can keep up. The duo gives their clients credit for being well-rounded and enables them to build wardrobes that express all facets of their lifestyles and personalities. “When we opened Julep, we wanted to create a women’s boutique that was more specialized and curated with fewer department store lines,” Griesedieck says. “Our customer is a well-traveled, sophisticated woman who doesn’t want mass-produced clothing.”
In 2020 Julep moved from King Street to a historic single house on Queen Street. The store oozes Charleston charm, especially with its courtyard garden that is quaint enough to make you wonder if you’ve stepped back in time. The move boosted their business. “Our customers love that we’re off the beaten path on this charming street,” Brunson says.
To keep their fashion oasis stocked, Griesedieck and Brunson travel to New York and Miami to visit shows and showrooms for small-batch European and South American brands. One of their favorite lines is Ottod’Ame, a casual-chic Italian brand known for bright colors and unique, contemporary patterns and silhouettes. “Ottod’Ame’s color schemes and combos hit it out of the ballpark,” Griesedieck says.
“Our customer is a well-traveled, sophisticated woman who doesn’t want mass-produced clothing.”
Another brand, Summum, is known for sophisticated, clean lines and tailored fits that are ideal for career women. Nimo With Love, a small German brand, offers fun, happy, hand-embroidered dresses, caftans and tops with incredible color combinations. Another favorite, Soeur, is a French ready-to-wear brand with a couture look without couture prices. Locals also love Suncoo, a whimsical Parisian streetwear brand that works just as well in Charleston as abroad.
Griesedieck and Brunson say they are drawn to pieces they like on themselves. In fact, instead of using stock photos on their website, they model every item of clothing themselves. “We’ve heard from customers that they like seeing the clothes on someone they know,” Brunson says. “They know what it really looks like; it’s not Photoshopped. It’s more relatable.”
The duo always encourages clients to be bold when building outfits from their collections. “Our motto is: Fashion is like a cocktail; mix it up,” Brunson says.
“And our customers are confident enough to do it,” Griesedieck adds. “They don’t have to have a designer label on their clothes; they don’t want to wear the ‘it’ thing from Instagram. They want something more unique, to wear what feels good, not what they’re told to wear.”
Since Julep opened, the owners have watched their clientele evolve. “Women are steering away from athleisure,” Griesedieck says. “Our clients want to get dressed; they want to wear real clothes and look pretty. Even if they’re just out walking with the buggy, they want to wear a darling dress and sneakers.”
The pair are excited about new fashion ideas for fall and winter in Charleston and for travel. “We are loving brightly colored sweater vests, alone or over a blouse,” Griesedieck says. “And cute jackets to wear with jeans and sneakers or dressed up with a heel and a great hat.”
“One of the outfits I’m looking forward to is a crepe pink jogger pant you can wear with our fabulous suede sneakers with a pink stripe. Pair them with a white blouse or T-shirt, a pink felt hat with feathers, and a beautiful matching pink crepe blazer, and there’s your travel outfit,” Brunson says.
The vibe in the store is decidedly friendly; experimentation is encouraged. “We try to make people feel comfortable,” Griesedieck says. “There’s no pressure. We have a mixed price point, we cater to multiple generations, and we want shopping here to be a fun experience.” *
Robin Howard is a freelance writer in Charleston.
See more of her work at robinhowardwrites.com.