Shopping in a College Town 101
By Georgia Carter
Starting a new school, in a new town, calls for a new look. Students need clothes for casual affairs, but also need to be able to look well put-together if the occasion calls for it. Students might go to the mall and shop at all the stores they had in their hometown, or one could branch out and discover all of the unique shopping establishments Fayetteville has to offer.
One of the most popular Fayetteville shops is Riffraff, which deems itself a “Lifestyle Boutique” and is located in the historic Fayetteville square. Riffraff has items ranging from glamorous party dresses to oversize tanks emblazoned with Arkansas themed graphics.
Walking into the newly expanded store, one sees every color imaginable on the racks, tables and walls. The store sells furniture pieces, shoes, bath products, jewelry, art, gifts and infant clothing, along with women’s clothing. From their highly stylized window decorations to their displays of local art, Riffraff is an incredibly distinctive Fayetteville boutique.
The Mustache is also located on the Fayetteville square. Like Riffraff, The Mustache has a variety of tanks and t-shirts promoting Fayetteville and Arkansas. They also sell women’s and men’s clothing, along with T-shirts and tanks, much of which is vintage inspired, evoking the 1950’s and 1960’s.
“Our most popular items continue to be our mustache themed t-shirts, tank tops and novelty gifts. Many people are surprised when they come in for the first time with how many items we have including clothes and shirts for both men and women,” said Mustache owner Brian Bailey.
Many of the novelty gifts include Band-Aids that look like bacon, cool coffee table books, mugs with witty sayings on them and of course, fake mustaches. The Mustache also has a children’s section with clothing, toys, and books for Fayetteville’s hippest babies. Colorful sunglasses, distinctive shoes and funky bags make up much of the accessory stock. Home décor, like shower curtains, wall art, and cardboard cut outs that look like mounted animal heads, is another section of the Mustache’s inventory.
The Mustache runs specials very frequently. Specials have ranged from “Best Friend Day” to “Woo Pig Sooie Day”, offering shoppers 10 percent off their purchase if they mention the day’s theme at checkout. With great sales, unique merchandise for the home, and clothes for babies, men, and women, the Mustache is the place to get original items in Fayetteville. Many students use the Mustache for gifts and everyday clothing.
Located at 704 N. College Ave., Maude Boutique is another store that caters to Fayetteville women wanting to stay on trend. Party dresses line the racks at Maude, in various styles, colors, and fabrics.
“A lot of our customers are girls in sororities looking to buy dresses for formals and functions,” said Meredith Massey, the Maude inventory manager.
Maude also stocks clothes for more casual affairs. Brightly colored denim, tunics, dressy shorts and other fun, trendy clothing also populate the shop. Maude stocks only a few of each item so that their shoppers do not run into the problem of buying a new look, only to find out that many other people also own the same clothes. They also suit every budget, with a big price range on their clothing and accessories.
Being located on the square, both the Mustache and Riffraff have many opportunities to take part in community events. Both stores are open during the Farmer’s Market Saturday mornings. They also took part in last year’s Block Street Block Party, with face painting and tutu making at Riffraff and fun photo shoots at the Mustache. Riffraff has had many in-store events, like the recent birthday party celebrating its third year.
Along with Riffraff, Maude has also taken part in northwest Arkansas Fashion Week, a week long event held by local stores and designers. Fashion Week gives these stores an opportunity to raise money for charity, show off their new merchandise on the runway, publicize their businesses and also have a lot of fun. Maude has also put on fashion shows benefitting the Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock. These events help reach new customers that may have not discovered the boutiques on the square. They also help these shops cultivate their roles in the Fayetteville community.
All of these stores maintain Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts, keeping their customers up to date. These accounts put up pictures of new merchandise, allow for people to reserve items they like, provide a way for out of Fayetteville shoppers to order pieces, and inform followers about new sales and specials. Keeping an active presence on social networks helps the stores connect with students and Fayetteville-ians.
Shopping is a necessity in life, but where you choose to shop is all up to you. The next time you need a new t-shirt, a party-ready outfit or a gift for a friend, stop by the Mustache, Maude, Riffraff or one of the other locally owned boutiques. The items you buy at these stores are far more unique than the clothes you would purchase at a mall or big-time franchise. The success of these stores also guarantees that Fayetteville will remain “funky”, or at least a little more distinctive than every other small town.