Statement Apparel opened May 1, 2015, with two goals: create a women’s clothing store complementing all ages and donate to charity. The Barkley Village shop has done just that.
Owner Deirdre (DeeDee) Bell took over the shop when Susan Sandell retired, creating a new name and widening the target market. “From 20 years old to 90, we really have something for everyone,” Bell said. “And that makes me feel good.”
And you can feel good about where your money goes—one percent of Statement’s sales are donated to the Whatcom Hospice Foundation. In fewer than three years, they’ve donated more than $10,000.
When you stroll into Statement Apparel, you’re always greeted by Bell or an employee. The space is open and organized, with soft music in the background by artists like Adele or Jack Johnson. Pops of color scatter the room without feeling cluttered. “If someone’s not having a good day, our goal is to make it one,” Bell said.
Bell runs the shop with four women, three of which have been there nine years, before Statement Apparel. Bell herself worked in retail since high school, graduated from the Art Institute of Colorado in fashion merchandise, had training at JCPenney, and became a JCPenney buyer. She took up a modeling career in her 30s, then bought and ran a shop in Denver, Colorado, before moving to Bellingham, where she raised a family.
When the opportunity came to return to retail, Bell credits her employees. Employee turnover in retail is rampant, but at Statement, the coworkers are solid. One employees is 82 years old and acts like “the Energizer Bunny,” Bell said.
WHAT YOU’LL FIND
With pieces from 50 handpicked clothing lines, options at Statement are numerous. Bell looks to establish relationships with vendors, but if an item doesn’t work, she may drop that line for a season or two. “You can’t force something to fit the store,” Bell said. “I have to love it.”
On some of the hangers you’ll see entire outfits with jewelry. From Spanish silver necklaces to leather earrings, it’s inspirational to see an outfit come to life without piecing the items together yourself.
But if you can’t find the right item, don’t fret! Each employee has a clientele book for custom ordering. Plus, on your birthday, you receive a postcard delivered by mail, offering $10 to spend that month.
Bell said the best part about this experience is the people: coworkers, returning customers, brand representatives, vendors, and their landlord. “These people are remarkable,” Bell said. “We’re going to keep this up as long as we can.”
2945 Newmarket St.,