Oh so fashionable…

By Suzanne Stern

Circles boutique is ready for fall. Coats and jackets are on display, the footwear has transitioned from sandals to boots and there are racks of scarves and legwarmers.
Circles’ owner Danelle Jameson makes sure the merchandise appeals to a variety of customers, ranging from Champaign and Urbana locals to women visiting from Chicago and even to customers in California and New York.
Jameson took over the boutique in 1998 and changed the store, which has been open since 1984.
“When you have a new buyer, there is
a new perspective and vision of what you want the store to display,” Jameson says. “The store goes in a different direction, and I’ve expanded and broadened horizons.”
Circles, located at 107 N. Walnut St., Champaign, carries a variety of brands, including Free People, Paige Premium Denim, Eileen Fisher and Betsey Johnson. Jameson also seeks out unique designers, some which
a shopper can’t even find in Chicago.
Jameson goes to different markets and gets recommendations from other boutique owners, as well as designer friends.
The boutique carries the brand Skif, whose knit sweaters are made in St. Louis and were featured in The Matrix. Jameson also speaks highly of Nara Camicie, an Italian company.
“The shirts fit very well, are made from great fabrics … are very finely tailored,” she explains.
The widespread customer base usually begins with a customer seeking out a certain designer. The designer tells the customer to which retailers their product was sold, and then they end up contacting the boutique. Despite the process, Jameson wants to stay close to central Illinois.
She began designing her own line five years ago, and though she took this year off, she would like to work on her own products in the future.
“Ideally, I’d like to do my own thing: open a store, work on wholesale. I would definitely stay in Champaign though,” she says, adding that she has designed
a range of clothes, shoes, and some jewelry.
A relationship with the customer is very important at Circles. Jameson and her staff work very hard at establishing and maintaining the boutique atmosphere of one-on-one customer service, which allows them to tend to every customer who walks in the store.
“We really try to do stuff no one else does to keep the store special,” Jameson says. “We want to sell our customers clothes they feel comfortable in; trends don’t work on every body frame, but that doesn’t mean you can’t look good.”