Courtland Tison and her mother Anne Weed epitomize the definition of family business.
For many years, Weed ran Old World Marketplace on Shades Crest Road in Bluff Park. But after considering a change in focus, the pair transformed the antique shop into Turquoise, a clothing and accessories boutique.
The shop is still in the same location, 593 Shades Crest Road in the historic shopping center overlooking Lover’s Leap.
“We started Turquoise almost 10 years ago as I was graduating from the University of Alabama,” Tison says. “I was able to convince my mom to give running a boutique a chance.”
With a degree in fashion retailing and marketing and accounting, Tison spent the first seven to eight years working on weekends, during vacation times and, at night, scouring brands and new products for the shop.
But after the birth of her son in 2014, Tison decided to run Turquoise full time. “I bring my son with me to the store everyday so he will grow up in a store environment like I did,” she says. “I love working with my mom and seeing my idea and vision come to life.”
At Turquoise, one thing the ladies strive to do is constantly change out the brands they carry and not get locked down with any certain style.
“Our only requirement is that it is trendy, affordable and has appeal,” Tison says.
Currently, the shop features brands and lines from Umgee, Cherish, Yahada, Entro, Angry Rabbit and Peach Love California. A great outfit needs that perfect accessory, and shoppers can complete an ensemble with, purses, wallets and small leather goods from makers like Hobo the Original.
One aspect that makes the trendy shop so unique, according to Tison and Weed, is their customer base.
“We truly don’t have a typical customer, per se,” Tison explains. “We sell the same pieces to girls in middle school, high school or college as we do young professionals, working moms, grandmothers — you name it. We believe if you love an item, then it doesn’t matter how old you are or who you think is supposed to wear it: We will show you how to make it work for you.”
To make a garment work across many age ranges, for example a tunic, they might suggest a young girl wear the tunic as a dress with some stylish sandals.
A young mom might throw leggings on under that same tunic with a belt. An older woman might wear the same tunic over a pair of skinny jeans or pants with a scarf or a kimono to provide more coverage and comfort.
“I love helping customers of all ages find an outfit that they feel fabulous wearing,” Tison says.
Turquoise stocks the staples of any wardrobe as well as trends. You can find skinny jeans in a variety of colors, simple easy tops, fun jewelry and dresses that can be dressed up or down with a swap of shoes, bags and jewelry.
Spring and summer trends like florals and tie-dye match with the staples offered. “Floral prints are on everything,” Tison says.
Tie-dye and dip dye are especially popular in dresses and palazzo pants. “These are always a hit in blacks and grays, but this year blues and pinks are also everywhere,” Tison says. “I just love playing dress up every time a new shipment comes into the shop and seeing the new styles each season.”
Both Tison and her mom work to keep prices reasonable. Most items average around $35 to 40. Special items for events average closer to $60, and jeans average around $68.
“We promise that you will never come in our store and see a top for $150 or a dress for $200: That’s just not our style,” Tison says. “We have learned that our customers are like us. They want nice, quality merchandise, but they don’t want to spend an arm and a leg to get it because, like most women, we always want a little something new.”
Dedication to their passion and love of fashion has turned customers of Turquoise into friends of the shop owners.
“I love that even on vacation, I’m calling the store to check on a customer that I knew was coming in to get an outfit for an upcoming wedding and feeling excited that we were able to find her the perfect piece,” Tison says. “I love that so many of our customers have become our friends.”