In November 2019, Thistle Be Perfect first opened its doors in the heart of West Chester, PA. Immediately upon opening its doors, Thistle Be Perfect became a town favorite. Owners Katie and Jane Jennings describe their business as an artisan boutique, offering eclectic, one-of-a-kind items. We recently spoke with Katie Jennings, and here is what she had to share.
Thistle Be Perfect – A Picture Perfect Artisan Boutique
All Images Provided by Thistle Be Perfect
Thistle Be Perfect only feature handmade goods made in the US. What made you decide to stand by this service?
It’s really about the quality. And I feel like, with US artisans, it’s easier for us to know who they are and be in contact with them; really learn about who they are and their product(s). Whereas with overseas that might be a little bit more difficult. And when we go to trade shows, most of the artists are there and are local within the US. We have rolled with that, and it’s ended up being a great fit.
It’s clear you stand by the quality of the goods you carry and have a money-back guarantee on your products. What made you decide on this feature of your store?
We stand by the quality of our products that we sell and we want everybody to be happy, whether it’s a gift for someone or for yourself. You know, if you find that after a month [of your purchase], maybe something broke or possible damage to your piece, we want you to be able to bring that back and get a new piece. We want to stand by that always, and that’s what really separates us from other stores as well. We want to make sure that people are happy with their purchase, whether it’s today or a month from now. We really value our customer service and want everyone to be happy with their purchase and make right any return if needed.
What are your most popular products in the store that keep your clients coming back?
Fresh and new jewelry is our number one seller. Especially rings and earrings. Another piece that I personally love and is another big seller of ours is our candles. I’m pretty picky about our candles and scents that we carry in the store and again with the quality. I always test out the candles and make sure that I love them. And others tend to really enjoy them too. So candles are a big seller along with our self-care section that we also carry essential oils. I would say those are our two biggies.
What are some of your personal favorite items that you carry?
I love buying cards. That’s definitely one of my favorite things to pick out. We have a really pretty good variety of cards. I get really excited about finding new vendors in cards and seeing all the different styles. I have a lot of fun with that. And again, candles. That’s one of my favorite things. And jewelry of course!
Who is your typical client or regulars that come in?
Our clientele is people of all ages. I can’t really pinpoint who our clients really are? We have college students who come in and really enjoy the store and buy gifts for their friends, parents, or families. And then of course, we have women in their 30s and 40s in town who always come back and bring their friends when they are out on a lunch date. And then we even have seniors looking for gifts for their grandchildren or themselves. We don’t have a specific clientele, because my goal is to have a little something for everybody as far as styles, jewelry, scarves, or handbags. I really want to cater to everybody. We even have a men’s section with flasks, wooden watches, and beard oils. I really do want to cater to everybody and every age. We have gifts for every little event [in someone’s life].
I see some of your items are featured for purchase on your website and Facebook. How often do you update your online inventory?
We just launched our website, so we only have a few products up there right now. But we will continue to upload more items. I try to do that 2-3 times a month with about 10 new products.
What are some ways you were able to ensure the safety of your customers as they shopped with you during this season?
We have three different hand sanitizer sections. We have one right when you walk in, one at the counter, and one for the employees. After each transaction, we wipe down screens since customers have their own terminal. We accept Apple Pay and pay-less payments. We have a plexiglass window at the counter, and we are frequently wiping down handles. And of course, we require masks in store until further notice. There is a sign in our window that says, “Wearing is Caring”!
What excites you about the future of West Chester in the next 5 to 10 years?
These years have built resilience and the knowledge of others about shopping small. I really feel like this will continue on for the next few years, and people will really want to shop small and eat small. I’ve already seen an uptick with people becoming aware and vocalizing how important it is. I feel like this has really opened people’s eyes in a way. Granted people are still shopping online, but I often hear of customers asking, for example, a butterfly ring. They will inquire if we have any in stock, and check with us first. They would rather check with a local business than going online. So I know people are making the extra effort to do so. So, I feel confident in the next few years to come that we’ll be supported by the people in town.
Any closing thoughts you’d like to share?
We are just really appreciative of our West Chester community. We have felt at home here. We really appreciate everyone’s support. Our motto is greeting everybody with a smile as they walk in, and the same as they leave. It’s all about showing our appreciation. We love setting the vibe of kindness and making sure we spread that here.
I have really loved getting to know everybody in other businesses. It’s just a great town! We love it here.
We were originally deciding between a few other towns [on where to open]. At first, we looked at Wayne and Malvern. And then we saw that this space was here, and it has worked out great. And we are so happy that we landed here! It’s exactly where we were meant to be.