Suzette Voyda was a stay-at-home mom, ready to get back into the workforce after raising three kids. Samantha was one of those kids, finished with college and anxious to start a career in fashion. Together the pair opened Zoe Boutique, an upscale women's clothing store in Springfield's Piper Glen Plaza.
Zoe Boutique's minimalist decor, with its hardwood floor and monochromatic palette, emphasizes the eclectic merchandise. Designer handbags hang on the wall, and glass cases lined with jewelry are positioned near the front of the store.
Tables stacked with denim are nestled among racks of shirts, skirts and dresses. At the back is a seating area with a zebra-print rug near the two fitting rooms, each of which is outfitted with a zebra-print chair - spots of panache amongst the understated elegance.
Since its opening in September, the boutique has been "pretty much what we expected - a lot of work and a lot of fun," said Samantha Voyda, who studied fashion merchandising and management at Columbia College in Chicago.
Samantha said opening a clothing store was something she always wanted to do, and her education prepared her for the venture. She described the result as "a warm, inviting environment with unique pieces."
Suzette shares her daughter's passion for style and was eager to bring to Springfield fashion she previously traveled to Chicago to purchase.
The store carries what the pair describes as contemporary women's fashion. They started with pieces they would wear themselves - Samantha at 24 and Suzette at 50 - and have evolved the inventory as needed.
"When we go to apparel trade shows, we buy for all ages," Samantha said. "I want items I would wear myself, but I also want things for my mom and her friends."
Once they established a loyal clientele, Suzette and Samantha watched what people were wearing, listened to what they were asking for and adapted their inventory accordingly.
This spring, expect fresh looks and bright colors.
"White is definitely going to be big this spring; also stripes and lots of color," Samantha said.
"We're already seeing some orange, a nice change after winter's black and gray, (and) playful dresses and fun prints."
As for the name? Zoe is Samantha's dog - what she calls a "mini-whoodle," a standard poodle/wheaten terrier mix - and a frequent visitor to the store.
Story published Friday, March 4, 2011 ( Volume 6, Number 2 )