By Shawndra Russell
So you’re planning a shopping trip, but you want to get the most bang for your buck and you want to hit all the best shops with the most unique items. Maybe you hit up Tripadvisor or Foursquare and see what the top-ranked shops are—which might end up being more large chains than you’d like. Maybe you ask friends, but they might be really into one style and not give you the full picture of what the city offers.
The better solution?
Try a shopping tour. In Savannah, ‘Tiques Boutique Shopping Tour was designed to give visitors the best possible shopping experience by highlighting the best handful of locally owned (and often locally designed) boutiques, led by a Style Host with fashion school experience, and stocked with exclusive discounts that aren’t available to the general public. Top this VIP experience off with two foodie treats and you’ve got the best way to spend an afternoon in Savannah.
Reviews of the just-launched tour have been glowing, with guests stating on Tripadvisor, “This is a “Best of Savannah” tour—the money paid for the tour was definitely recouped with the in-store discounts offered” and “You must try this tour if you have a love for shopping and supporting local businesses!”
One of the shopping stops has never before been open to the public: the design studio of Emily Bergeron, CEO of Mamie Ruth. Bergeron says, “I’m so excited to give customers the ability to see the inner workings of Mamie Ruth. There is always something new going on each week and for customers to get to experience the excitement behind a collection launch or new design will give them a new perspective into the fashion business.”
The Mamie Ruth studio has scraps for new designs strewn about, lots of Bohemian chic style, and Emily herself is often on-hand to make alterations on-the-spot for ‘Tiques tourgoers. The name comes from Emily’s grandmother, who inspired her to go into fashion design after years of playing dress up. Mamie Ruth designs are featured in 50+ boutiques around the USA, and Bergeron is ramping up for their upcoming visit to Bonnaroo music festival, the biggest music festival on the East Coast. “We will be set up in the Centeroo selling our wares to the 89,000+ music festival attendees. The collection is inspired by music, so taking it to the root is pretty cool. We make clothes that make you want to dance. What better place is there to sell dancing clothes than Bonnaroo?!” Bergeron says.
Another studio stop shows the inner workings of a leather goods shop. Satchel has pre-made designs including clutches, weekender bags, and even leather koozies. Customers can even order custom-designed items in their choice of colors and styles. Owner Elizabeth Seeger shares Bergeron’s excitement to be a partner of the brand-new and one-of-a-kind shopping tour in Savannah: “It’s great to be part of the ‘Tiques shopping tour because I think they’ll be sure to show their guests the truly unique shops of Savannah that might otherwise get overlooked. Savannah has a lot of great gems tucked away or right off the beaten path that are part of what gives this beautiful city its charm!”
Seeger hits on exactly why brothers and co-owners Stu and Donald Card launched the shopping tour. “After seeing the reaction to our food tours that highlight some of the out of the ordinary eateries, we wanted to create a similar concept that shows off the amazing fashion talent in Savannah,” Stu says.
Another retailer that shares the enthusiasm of Bergeron and Seeger is the owner of Trunk 13, Lindsay LeMaster, who combs the globe for a unique mix of fashions and accessories from well-known lines, like Central Park West as well as niche designers. “We are really excited to partner with ‘Tiques tour on what will be a truly unique shopping experience for visitors. It is a win/win for all parties involved,” LeMaster says.
The ‘Tiques tours start at Chocolat by Adam Turoni for a presentation and sample of some of his latest chocolate lover’s creations and includes a stop midway for high tea. In addition to boutique stops at Satchel and Mamie Ruth, four locally-curated and/or designed fashion and jewelry shops complete the shopping tour of Savannah.
“Our #1 goal is that everyone has a blast,” Stu says. “And the opportunity to support a whole other industry of creative entrepreneurs besides restaurateurs and chefs is fantastic!”
Shawndra Russell is a writer and social media educator for businesses, professionals and college students with the intent of stopping outdated me! me! me! marketing. Her latest works are 51 Ways to Help Your Social Media Manager Crush It! And How to Become a Freelance Writer in 30 Days. Read about her services and projects at shawndrarussell.com and connect with her on Twitter and Google+.