Park Lane Boutique owner Aileen Dauterive grew up in Hampstead, London, but you would never guess Acadiana isn’t her original home if you know the passion she has for her community. Aileen started her women’s clothing boutique out of a love for fashion, but also out of a desire to cater to the woman of Lafayette and the surrounding areas.
“I feel like Acadiana is my home. I think the women here are the most authentic women I’ve ever met in my life. They are so genuine and when they come in my store, our interactions are never superficial,” says Aileen.
Before opening Park Lane, Aileen was a chef in St. Bernard. However, fashion has been a big part of her life since she was a young girl living in London. After Hurricane Katrina hit, Aileen relocated to Baton Rouge and began working at a boutique part time. It wasn’t long before she decided to open up her own boutique there in Baton Rouge.
“When you go through a storm like Katrina, it takes you to a place where you sit and evaluate your life. You think about what’s real and what’s important. When I was working for another boutique, the selling clothes isn’t what excited me. It was the ability to affirm a woman’s beauty and make them see themselves in a different light. For me, it was that chance to be able to care for and make someone leave feeling better about themselves,” says Aileen.
Aileen went on to open a second Park Lane location in Lafayette, and she loved the community so much that she sold her original store and relocated permanently to Lafayette.
She reminisces on her time as a boutique owner, noting that there have been so many memorable experiences. While she can’t point to one specific moment as her favorite, an overall highlight is watching people come back year after year. “It’s lovely to watch a little girl change into a young woman over time. When customers return over and over, they began to feel more like family than clientele,” says Aileen.
Even those visiting Park Lane for the first time will find that they feel like family due to the emphasis Aileen puts on customer service. “I don’t care if a customer walks in and has $20 or $20 million, every customer gets treated the same and every single customer is treated with honesty and the best customer service,” says Aileen. She instills a sense of hospitality and what she calls “old school customer service” in her employees. “I have them offer our customers water, take care of them, and really spend time with them. Whether or not they buy something, they can say it was fun and that they had an experience with us,” says Aileen.
The amount of care Aileen gives her Park Lane customers and visitors is apparent in the love she receives from the locals. “It’s nice when I’m out in the community and someone recognizes me and tells me about how I was able to help them. That’s what makes my day and what it’s all about for me,” says Aileen.
Moving forward, Aileen plans to focus on consistency. “My dream is just to continue good customer service and take care of the people who come to us. I want us to maintain genuine customer service whether we’re talking with shoppers in the store, or out picking up deliveries, or choosing wardrobes outside of the store,” says Aileen.
Shopping for clothes is almost always fun, but it’s even more of a treat when the store you shop at shows kindness and hospitality. Thank goodness for local stores like Park Lane Boutique! One of the many benefits of shopping local is getting to know the people you’re buying from. Download our FREE app, Towny, to get to know Park Lane and other local businesses. (Don't miss the perks you'll get, the moment you download.