This week, we head to Ladue as part of our weekly series profiling haunts in the Central Corridor.
Melanie’s in Ladue is famous for its jewelry and accessories. It offers a variety of items including jewelry, personalized note cards, monogrammed totes and bags, custom belts, reading glasses and holiday items. Owner Melanie Bascom values each customer who walks through her door, which is one of the reasons why her store has been successful for more than 26 years.
How did your business get started?
Prior to opening Melanie’s, I was a teacher at Martha Rounds Academy for 10 years. I wanted to do something that would work for my family, and I have a degree in history from Duke. Unfortunately, no one was hiring history teachers. I walked into a flower shop that someone asked me to visit, and I knew that having a shop was what I wanted to do. I spent the next five years including taking a retail program at Meramec and then found jobs in retail to prepare me for opening my own business. I opened Melanie’s in 1985.
How would you describe your business to potential customers?
We initially started with jewelry, but we have expanded into accessories. We now specialize in personalized gifts and accessories.
What do you offer that is different or unique from other stores?
In this day and age, the Internet makes everything accessible, and we have to set ourselves apart. I feel that our prices are reasonable, we offer excellent customer service and we are honest with our customers. If we have made a mistake, we fix it. Our customers have kept us going for over 26 years, and they are a priority.
What do you like the most about running a small business? What do you like least?
I would have to say the variety of things you are able to do. I love being able to find ways to make things work as the times change. At times, it may be overwhelming, but the quality of the people that work here make it all run so efficiently. The endless paperwork is my least favorite thing about running a business.
How has the economy affected your business?
Absolutely. All that you can do is adapt to changing circumstances. You cannot hang onto the past, must keep going and find new ways to solve your problems. You try, and it may take several times. Luckily, our sales have stayed even throughout the economy changes, and I hope that it improves for everyone.
Who is your target market?
Anyone who walks in the door is our target market. You cannot judge a customer by what they wear, how they look, and I strive to cater to all people regardless of their financial situation. My staff is very warm and welcoming to everyone. I would not want anyone turned away due to a snooty sales person.
What are your most popular services?
Jewelry will always be No. 1. For the past seven years around Christmas, our scarves have been our primary top sales item. I also believe in catering to all sizes for my items, whether shirts or robes.
WHAT WHERE 10277 Clayton Rd., Ladue, MO 63124
HOURS 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. Sunday MORE INFO Go to the Melanie's website or call 314-993-0664