STUDIO Joy Li isn’t your typical retail store or boutique. The home of Joy Li’s clothing line streamlined to accommodate today’s woman, STUDIO Joy Li is filled with knowledgeable stylists, including Li herself, to help guide women toward their perfect outfit.
Co-owned by Li, the designer, and Jean Bartolomei, CFO of Joy Li Concepts and STUDIO Joy Li, this boutique has not only been able to stay afloat in the rocky economy and thrive locally, but it is also gaining national attention.
Both Bartolomei and Li say they credit the company’s success to their ability to cater to their clients, from their experience at Studio Joy Li and the timeless, comfortable fit of Li’s designs, to creating quality relationships with vendors and paying meticulous attention to detail.
“You don’t cut corners on anything and everything,” Li says. “All the way down from greeting a customer to walking them out the door and to their car, that whole experience has to be the best of the best. Same thing with the garments; from the button to the spread that you sew that button on has to be the best quality because otherwise you’re not going to build your brand.”
Bartolomei says many small businesses, especially in this industry, don’t even make it off the ground. She said she noticed a lot of wonderful lines out there, some with a lot of money behind them that were “kind of in business today and out of business tomorrow.”
Bartolomei says they genuinely care about their clients and work hard to be a trusted adviser instead of a sales person and who gets noticed.
“I think any costumer that walks into the studio that’s experienced Joy or any of our staff in the store will say, no matter their life’s circumstance coming in, that they have been treated with respect and the creative process that you know has made a profound difference in their lives,” Bartolomei says.
Bartolomei says to keep up this quality of service to their clients, they opted not to send the collections to many other boutiques except on a very selective basis. She says one of the reasons they gathered clients to begin with was because they tested the collections first in STUDIO Joy Li, which meant clients were essentially wearing next year’s fashions not yet available to other boutiques.
Li says this created loyal clients who helped them expand.
“We’re a destination,” Li says. “It’s worth it to them to drive from North Scottsdale to Old Town. They’ve had this experience, and they know they’ll walk out of there with something no one else has.”
Another aspect that led to their success are the collections themselves. Li says she wanted to create fashionable but simultaneously wearable clothes for today’s woman.
“I couldn’t find what I wanted to wear,” Li says. “I want my clothing to accommodate me; not me being a slave to my clothing. I want people to say, this is what I want to spend money on — things that have value and a life beyond a trendy season.”
Li adds that she and Bartolomei go the extra mile and sacrifice themselves everyday.
“Jean and I are not millionaires,” Li says. “It’s not you’re doing this because you want to be rich. You do this because you love what you’re doing. You care about the product, and you care about the experience of who you’re doing it for and that they’re happy with it.”
Bartolomei says they have developed a reputation and worked hard to do so.
“Just to be able to hold our heads up and know that everyone we do business with, on a retail side or where we’re the customer and they’re the vendor, knows that we will do what we say we are going to do, that we are going to do it when we say we are going to do it, and we can be relied on to do it well,” Bartolomei says.