Editor’s note: This is the latest in a series of articles on where to “shop local, shop small” in and around Waynesboro.
WAYNESBORO—You might recall the days when clothes shopping offered variety and quality at a mix of department stores and boutique shops in Waynesboro, but you may not realize you can still find unique, quality fashion in a downtown boutique on Main Street.
Barb’s Graceful Beauty Boutique, 32 E. Main St., is the place.
“We’re a regular fashion boutique, I don’t sell used clothing,” explained Owner Barbara Venetta. “I try to stay on trend. All our items are from L.A. We offer top-quality items like you would see at any big boutique.”
But don’t let the notion of West Coast fashion intimidate you.
“When I say high fashion, I’m not talking runway fashion,” Venetta explained. “I’m talking about what is popular in our area—normal shirts, but they are different, unique, better quality than you will find in [big box stores].”
Step inside and you’ll find everything you need to put together a look that makes you look … well … put together.
“I’m picky about what I buy,” Venetta said. “I try to think about all sizes and shapes. We are all-inclusive size-wise, with small to 3x.”
The boutique offers shirts, sweaters, shoes, jewelry, pocketbooks and two unique lines of jeans. “We have Judy Blue jeans and Vervet by Flying Monkey—we’re one of only two boutiques in the tristate area that sells them. They are very stretchy and well-made and they’re pretty popular.”
Prices range from $10 for a necklace to $52 for a pair of Vervet jeans. “You may pay a little more than [a department store], but the quality is so worth it,” Venetta said. “I do run sales quite often.”
But it’s not only the goods that make the boutique experience unique.
“My aim is to go back to the older days with one-on-one service,” Venetta said. “When you walk in, you will be greeted. I ask what your style is and suggest a look. I try to get women to go out of their box of what they are used to wearing. We have a try-on session if they want to. I try to make it fun for the ladies. It’s all a learning experience, but I just love it.”
The boutique’s customers range in age from their 20s to their 70s and some are comfortable trying things on, while others aren’t—and that’s OK. But when they want advice, Venetta is there.
“All of us are built different and look different, but you can style yourself. When they walk out of here, they are usually so happy with the way they look. They’re adding color and styles they never thought they could wear. It’s a happy experience,” she said.
Venetta, who lives in Hagerstown, Maryland, was raised in Waynesboro. “Waynesboro is home to me,” she said.
After working and raising her family, she decided to focus on putting her passion to work.
“I’ve always had a passion for fashion and thought if I could do anything in life, I would have a boutique, but I was never able to do it,” she said. “I was looking for something once my kids were grown and my husband invested in me and believed in me. I went through an online boutique class and was planning to start my own Shopify boutique online.”
As luck would have it, Venetta was able to collaborate with the owners of Mason Dixon Creations to join their retail space which, in May when the business began, was a block or so down the street on West Main.
“I discovered I love the interaction with people and my business has grown so much I’m not even gonna do online sales,” Venetta said.
Barb’s Graceful Beauty Boutique is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Fridays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; closed Mondays.
Venetta is usually in the shop daily, with the exception of Sundays. She said she posts her hours on Facebook so those who want a personal consultation with her can do so.
“I love my customers and am trying to make them happy,” she said. “When someone leaves with a smile on their face, that’s what it’s about.”