The next time you wander into the new Wanderlust by Abby storefront in the Southdowns Shopping Center on Perkins Road, keep in mind that the 788 square feet of fashion and locally sourced accessories started out as a pop-up shop motivated by Abby Tuminello Bullock’s dreams of one day running her business in a permanent location. After a long stint in retail merchandising, and with her eye on her current location for quite some time, Bullock finally opened her doors this February, selling fashion-forward clothing like fun sundresses, dainty accessories and an upcoming line of paper goods. She will host a grand opening celebration this Saturday, April 1, complete with swag bags, games and prizes, and a Kismet Cosmetics lip bar. Hoping to get a taste of what’s to come, we sat down with Bullock to find out more:
1. What is a typical day like for you and your team? Flick the lights on, turn up the jams and make every customer not only look amazing, but also feel confident in every article or accessory they purchase.
2. What is your background? How did you get into the retail field? I graduated from Wade Fashion College and obtained a fashion merchandising degree from UNT in Dallas. Except for a brief period when I moved from Dallas back to my hometown of Shreveport, I have always worked in the fashion retail business. I began working at small stores in college, and after graduation I worked for Nordstrom and Dallas Market. While I was in school at Louisiana Tech, I worked for a small department store in Ruston. I began accompanying the owner to Dallas Market to buy for the store and fell in love with the process of not only following current trends, but the opportunity to shape new ones.
3. What are the first things customers see when they walk through the doors? I think the first things people will notice are the unique layout and decorative woodwork that adorns the entire store. The size and shape of the space is very unique, so I used that as an opportunity to make the look and feel of the store something you would not find anywhere else.
4. What sets your store apart? I try hard to make the store’s merchandise follow my own fashion personality, which I use to always set myself apart in subtle (and sometimes not so subtle!) ways. What this means for the lines I carry is that while they are on trend, you will always find something different. In addition, all of my accessories are handmade by artists from around the South, and in the coming months we will be adding more clothing lines from locally sourced makers.
5. What is one thing you think customers should know about your store that they may not be aware of? Wanderlust started four years ago doing pop-up shops and operating a fashion truck, both of which continue in addition to this new storefront location. Those years as a pop-up shop allowed me to meet all the artisans whose jewelry and accessories I now sell.
6. How do you keep your store’s inventory fresh and up to date? I still travel around the South doing pop-up shops every month. This part of the business allows me to meet many different people and artists who inspire me with fresh ideas.
7. Can you share a hint about what shoppers will see in your store next season? I am very excited about this summer. I will begin carrying two different handmade clothing lines out of Shreveport and Nashville. I will also start selling my first paper goods line, Lion Heart Prints, out of New Orleans. I am obsessed with her cards!
8. What was your reason for opening the store? When did it open, and how has it grown or changed since then? Per my business plan, a storefront was not planned until year five, and Wanderlust celebrated it’s third birthday this March. I live in this neighborhood and have eyed the space I now occupy for quite a while. I felt the location was great and the size was perfect for the next phase of my business, so when it became available, I jumped at it. I signed the lease in November, and after a lot of blood, sweat and tears I opened Monday, February 13. Starting this business three years ago doing pop-up shops out of my 4runner, upgrading to a fashion truck, and finally having 788 square feet all to myself has given me a special opportunity to refine my buying style and carry more locally made jewelry and accessories.
9. What are a few must-have items this season? A great throw-on-and-go sundress, some super amazing shades, and a great hat to block that sun! I am also currently obsessed with layering dainty necklaces.
10. What are some of your best-selling products? My Fri-YAY Maxi Dresses, Quay Sunglasses, Mimosa Handcrafted Jewelry and Emily Grace Creations Jewelry.