By Cathriona Murphy
This month our Style Spotlight is on La Boheme. Nestled in the heart of Dingle in the visually stunning Green Lane gallery, La Boheme has gained a firm following amongst the fashionistas of Kerry and further afield. To find out more, I sat with owner Elaine Sheehy to find out more!
Elaine, it’s a pleasure to have you and La Boheme as this months Style Spotlight! Can you tell our readers a bit about the background of yourself and La Boheme?
Certainly! I opened the doors of La Boheme in Dingle in 1998 after spending many year’s working in fashion in London and Dublin in Selfridges and House of Frasier along with Brown Thomas in Dublin. I had studied Business in college so this helped me when starting my own business! La Boheme was originally located on Main St in Dingle for the first 5 years and then when I heard the Green Lane Gallery was available, I knew it was the right move for me. It is a beautiful building, with a very authentic look and feel with the wrought iron spiral stair case leading to a lovely loft upstairs. It also has a very quirky look and feel to it which makes it perfect for a boutique. I will actually be open 24 years this summer can you believe?. When I opened up I didn’t try to hit a particular niche because in Dingle you have to be viable for 12 months of the year so I stocked occasion wear as well as every day wear. I tried to provide every price point to suit all budgets and I think all of those factors are really what has kept me ticking over. I haven’t really made myself a destination for weddings or anything like that either, so you can come into La Boheme and pick up any style of clothing for any age range of adult women.
What labels can we expect to see instore?
Some of the labels I currently stock are Kate & Pippa, Inwear, Sandwich, Zilch, Whitestuff, Deck, No2moro and Streetone. Kate & Pippa is a beautiful Irish label that is doing particularly well in the shop, all of their dresses have pockets and are button through, very easy to wash requiring no ironing. Deck by Decalage is a beautiful smart leisure wear label which is also Irish. I stock beautiful, affordable occasion dresses starting at €45 up to around €69.95 which I post regularly on social media, they sometimes don’t even make my website because they sell so fast! I do particularly like to stock dresses that can be dressed down with a pair of white trainers and a denim jacket or glammed up with heel’s and a clutch bag for an evening out or a special occasion. We also have a beautiful, affordable range of jewellery from a brand called Envy ranging from €12-€29. In addition to that, we have some beautiful clutch bags priced at €19.95 and cross body bags at €40.
After the pandemic there was a huge shift towards smart casual wear with many boutiques rethinking the type of clothing they stocked, what changed for your business in that time?
Coming out of Covid, smart casual is definitely the way things went. Prior to the pandemic I had just started on my new website so during the lockdown in October 2020, the website went live. It proved to be a huge success, it kept us very busy from then until we reopened. I did some features with Maura and Daithí on the Today Show from which the online sales really expanded. I think as well as that, it was a great way to stay in touch with the customers. I’ve had a lot of customers holidaying in Killarney and Kenmare for instance, who had seen my video’s on Instagram or maybe some of my clothing on The Today Show, so they then drove over to shop instore for themselves. They felt an instant rapport with us, a familiarity from having seen us on social media and TV. Some people would ring the store direct to order over the phone when they see a particular piece of ours online, we are always quite happy to take orders like that too. With phone orders, we can talk the customer through sizes as different labels size differently. All in all, the pandemic was an opportunity to reinvent how we did business, reconnect with our customers and like everyone else, we just did the best that we could.
What size range do you cater for instore?
We carry sizes from XS-XL, that would be up to around size 16 and in some cases a size 18. A lot of our bestselling dresses are one size, they fit a size 10-14
Finally Elaine, can you tell our readers what atmosphere best describes your shop?
We are a very family friendly shop! We are always happy see families on holiday, a chance for Mom to shop and try on clothes. We encourage people to come in and browse, never feeling the pressure or expectation to purchase anything. We often get groups of girls who may be staying local in the likes of Benner’s or Skellig’s, they come and visit the store to browse and shop, we have a lot of fun with those types of groups so we would always welcome and encourage it. The girls that work with me have great personalities, they, like myself, enjoy engaging with our customers, it just really makes our day. So what I would like to finish off by saying is, if you are in the area, do pop in for a browse and a chat, no obligation to buy. We will do our very best to guide you along in any way that we can and make selecting an outfit a fun, feel good experience!
For more information you can find La Boheme on Instagram @labohomedingle or on their website www.labohemedingle.com phone number 066 9152444