Loretta’s Boutique Hosts the Annual Red Carpet Extravaganza at Marshall Today | New
Back by popular demand, Loretta’s Boutique will kick off its annual outdoor Christmas pageant with a sizzling red carpet-style show, starting at noon on Saturday November 5th.
“This is our third annual Red Carpet Extravaganza, and I’m very excited about it,” said boutique owner and operator Loretta Bennett.
“Every year it gets bigger and bigger,” she said.
The first year saw about 75 participants. Last year’s crowd grew to 200. This year, the store is anticipating even more.
“We’re expecting just over 200 this year,” Bennett said.
The boutique is a hidden gem nestled snugly in a cozy corner at 375 Private Road 4035.
Not only will attendees get a free fashion show and lunch, but they’ll also have the chance to shop in the boutique and check out various vendors. About 10 vendors will be on hand, selling everything from jewelry to candles to treats and more. All items are affectionately referred to as “Loretta’s Favorite Things”.
“I have vendors because I love introducing and showing new people doing new things,” Bennett said, noting how many have discovered their new giveaways during the pandemic.
“When the pandemic hit, it brought out the gifts that a lot of people had, because it’s about survival — survival mode — and they’re doing their thing,” Bennett said. “They use their gifts with their hands, whether it’s crafts or jewelry making. Every vendor that will be here will be called Loretta’s favorite things.
Bennett presents the annual red carpet style show as a chance to not only showcase her latest fashions, but also provide her clients and guests with a day of fun.
“I just want to treat my ladies in a special way,” she said, sharing that she loves giving soul. “With so many things going on, there’s so much negativity (in the world)…I like to treat my ladies in a special way at the fashion show when they come here.
“My #1 priority with the fashion show, for the ladies, is to have fun,” she said. “I literally love to hear the laughs, the chatter and the conversations.”
Customers also enjoy dancing to the tunes of the live DJ and indulging in the ambience.
“What it is, it’s a show – like in New York, honey,” Bennett described. “This is what we do.”
The event is a must-see as all eyes are on the models, who strut the runway in the latest fashions.
“My husband and I are getting ready to go on stage, then our models,” Bennett said. “Of course we have our prayer and it’s very publicized; and when we reach this stage, it is a performance. It’s a show.
“You attract everyone,” she said.
The fashion show immediately ignites a feeling of joy and happiness.
“Everybody at that point, they forget about their problems,” Bennett said. “If they have problems at home, they forget about them. If they have problems at work, they forget about it. If there’s a problem with the kids — any kind of problem — that’s not the case anymore.
“Women without problems, that’s it,” she smiles. “And they don’t want to leave. And I never rush them.
Bennett said it was a pleasure for her to be able to offer the free fashion show and lunch, which also expresses her appreciation for her customers.
“I’m rolling out the red carpet for you all. You’re all key because if it wasn’t for God sending me beautiful ladies who think so much of me, I wouldn’t be here,” she said. A lot of people didn’t survive the pandemic, but Loretta survived because I had people who believed in me, and we never stopped.”
how it started
Reflecting on the growth of the business, Bennett recalled how her boutique began in an intimate setting in the living room of her home.
“I started at home 15 years ago. I started in my living room, and I remember when it was time…because God’s timing is everything…and he pushed me there to a place we had never been before…not just a place where I had never been before, in a place where no one in our family had ever been before, as an entrepreneur,” she said.
Acting in faith and with the support of her husband Clyde Bennett, she prayed that God would allow her to continue earning a fair income from her last job. He not only blessed her with a loyal clientele she gained through her previous job, but led her to Beall’s former manager, Linda Roach, who gifted her hangers and racks.
“The Spirit of the Lord just sent me to Beall, and this sweet lady, Mrs. Linda Roach, when I took a step of faith, I told her what was going on and God began to guide me every step of the way. step of the way,” Bennett recalled. . “He said to get hangers and shelves. He said go ahead. So I got my hangers and racks from Linda at Beall.
Bennett then put away all the furniture in his living room and opened a shop inside his house.
“I had a living room with four shelves and hangers on the shelves. And then the Lord spoke and He said now you sell suits,” she recalled, noting that church suits and hats were popular at that time. “That was my forte. I could sell (costumes) all day.
“So I started buying three or four suits, but when I bought them, I bought them for specific people in mind,” she recalls.
Then business grew in his carport. She operated out of the carport for 11 years until the current store opened next door.
“This, this shop here is my baby,” Bennett said of the beautifully ornate shop.
So “the first year was the house and the next 11 years my carport, and then we were able to build on it,” she said, noting that they had been in the existing shop for two years.
“And I love it,” she said.
The two-level boutique exudes a glamorous and inviting atmosphere and features a variety of fashion boutiques ranging from stylish, cozy dresses to sophisticated looks, jazzy jeans, stunning hats, stylish accessories and more.
“I love fancy stuff,” Bennett said.
Bennett said she also enjoys shopping for her latest trends at the market, always thinking of her customers.
“All the customers I have when I’m at the market, they’re here,” she said. “When I buy, I don’t buy for myself, I buy for customers. It’s just registered in my mind. I never get tired. I really like that.”
The fashion show is also a labor of love for her. She is grateful to the visionary, Shelia Johnson, who posed the idea three years ago.
“I have a special lady who does my decorating here. Her name is Shelia Johnson. She is a visionary. And one day she had a vision. She said you had to have a fashion show,” Bennett recalled. “She just laid it there, flat. And then I caught it.
Bennett said she thanked Johnson for his unwavering support.
“What I love about Shelia Johnson is that she loves me because she wants to see me fly away; she wants to see me grow,” Bennett said. “A lot of women, and we have to be honest, can see value or vision in you and they’ll never tell you for fear that you’ll outgrow them. So I am eternally grateful to Shelia Johnson. And she decorates for me, the whole thing – outside and inside. For this whole fashion show, she’s running the whole boutique.
Bennett noted that door prizes as well as a special gift for the first 30 people to arrive will be offered at the fashion show.
She said it felt good to be able to arrange such a deal for clients and also to follow up her clientele and build relationships with new clients after the show.
“I send personal thank you cards to each of them. And I will call,” she shared.
She also likes to keep her customers up to date with the latest sales.
“I make a lot of phone calls,” Bennett said. “It makes you feel special when you get a phone call from Loretta’s shop. It makes you feel special when someone takes the time to call you, and I will never stop doing that.
“I’m a customer service freak. In today’s society these days, that’s hard to come by,” she said.
labor of love
Bennett became intrigued by the fashion industry as a little girl, playing with her paper dolls.
“When I was little, we lived in Los Angeles and my mother had four daughters; and for Christmas one day, I remember it like it was yesterday, I got paper dolls that need to be cut out, and I was so fascinated by paper dolls. And my mom never had to worry about me because I was always in my room creating. I would put on this hat today, and all day I would simply change my paper doll. And that was it. I knew.”
With a fascination with fashion and a unique gift with guessing games, Bennett knew his destiny would involve money and clothes.
“And that’s all I did,” she shared. “I worked in the bank; I worked at Weisman. I worked at Deborah’s Boutique.
“I started in downtown Weisman,” she shared, noting that she was in the ready-to-wear and kids department.
“Mr. Weinberg, he gave me a chance. I had no experience, but I could talk and I knew how to look good,” she recalled. “And I remember when I had an interview at Weisman, I remember putting on my mother’s clothes because I knew, even at that age, that I had to look professional. And he hired me.
“So when I look back on my life, I saw the path,” Bennett said. “So this is where I am.”
She invites the public to step out on Saturday and join in at the right time during the extravagant red carpet fashion show and luncheon.
“We will have door prizes. We’re going to eat mimosas. We’re going to have a live DJ. I’m going to have a living room,” Bennett said. “It’s all the way live.”
The free event starts at noon. Participants are invited to come at 11:30 a.m.