J McLaughlin Men’s and Women’s store in the Village at Schniethorst is a place for very popular, fine type clothing for customers of all ages. Kristi Gillett is the store manager and Patch caught up to her for a one on one interview for the Business Buzz.
Ladue-Frontenac Patch: How long have you been open.
Kristi Gillett: We have been open in this location since December of 2004. We were here when the center opened.
Patch: What is the makeup of your store merchandise.
Gillett: That would be 80 percent women; 20 percent men.
Patch: So do women buy for their husbands and boyfriends because of guilt.
Gillett: Yes, guilt trips are great. Men definitely like to shop. And at this location, there are a lot of business meetings going on next door (at Star Bucks) and we get a lot of traffic because of that.
Patch: Is this a high traffic location overall.
Gillett: Yes it is. We love all of our neighbors; FroYo, Star Bucks, you can’t go wrong.
Patch: What would be the best description of your merchandise overall.
Gillett: Kevin McLaughlin, who is our creative director likes to say: ‘we are preppy without being addicted to it.’ And we have something for all ages and types of style. We are definitely a classic look that lasts all through the years.
Patch: Do traditional outfits like white skirts and white pants work well every summer.
Gillett: Definitely. White pants can be worn throughout the year. They are not limited just to summer any more.
Patch: How well do you know your clients.
Gillett: We know about 90 percent of everyone walking through the door. We know their families well, we know their families well, we know their vacation spots. We try and weave ourselves into their lives. They definitely come in for vacation clothing but they come in all throughout the year.
Patch: Are you a niche type store.
Gillett: No, we sell a wide variety of items here. We literally sell from 18 to 88.
Patch: We are standing in front of men’s ties. How are they doing these days.
Gillett: They are selling very well these days. Actually, we’ve seen a shift towards bow ties lately.
Patch: Let’s talk about your bermuda shorts for men.
Gillett: We like to do a lot of fun prints. We are definitely known for our embroidered shorts. They are always a big seller for us each year. We have belts, socks, boxers; we are adding to our men’s line this year.
Patch: When do you switch seasons.
Gillett: What’s nice with our company, we continue to get shipments throughout the year. We are constantly refreshing what we have.
We are carrying transition merchandise right now. We have great relationships with our clients, so when we get something in, we will call them right away and let them know what’s new and different.
Patch: Obviously, your women’s wear features lots of bright colors.
Gillett: J McLaughlin does colors very well; we have very strong colors.
Patch: Sweaters for women are a must.
Gillett: Yes, and we have great sweaters. Going into transition and into fall, we are known for our cottons in beautiful colors. The colors really hold. Some cottons look worn after washing and the colors will fade. Our items are machine washable and hold up really well.
I have a dress I got here seven years ago, and it looks just as good as the day I got it.
Patch: Where are your other stores.
Gillett: We started all along the east coast. We have stores throughout New England, on the Hampton’s, Cape Cod, lots in Florida. St. Louis is the furthest west we’ve gone.
About the store:
J McLaughlin: 1508 S. Lindbergh Blvd. in Schneithorst Village.
Hours: 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday
Saturday, 12-5 p.m.
Sunday: 12-4 p.m.
Phone: 314-872-1818, website.