A PERSONAL TOUCH

BY M.S. LAWRENCE | PHOTOGRAPHY BY HOLGER OBENAUS

When Lois Daughtridge was one of a handful of employees working at The Boutique—a home furnishings, accessories, gift and bridal registry store that has been in downtown Charleston for 60 years—she became known as “the bedding expert.”

Daughtridge launched The Boutique’s “home service division” with the goal of coordinating the embroidery on bedding and towels with her clients’ existing décor—their drapes, upholstery, wallpaper or paint. To do this, she personally visited their homes, bringing along fabric swatches, trim options and thread samples. Today, she’s just as involved.

“It’s not just the color of embroidery, the patterns can also be customized,” she explains, noting that some clients are in need of a particular pattern, such as linear or paisley. Why customize your bedding? “It makes all the difference to take that extra step, so your bedding coordinates with everything in the room. Beautiful, tailored bed linens really pull a room together,” says Daughtridge. “I get on fire when I’m helping clients create a luxurious, beautiful, put-together bedroom or bathroom. I love it!”

When she bought The Boutique from its previous owner several years ago, Daughtridge expanded its home services, a seamless effort given her relationships with an already established clientele. She also moved the store into a bigger space, just four blocks down Broad Street, doubling the square footage and adding more bespoke product lines, tabletop displays and even free parking. It’s a convenient location, as well. “We are on the way to and from everywhere,” Daughtridge says.

She also brought in her daughter, Lois Ann, to help with the growing business. Lois Ann helps with every aspect of the shop but enjoys working with brides the most. “She really has a knack for relating to our brides,” Daughtridge says of her daughter. “They appreciate her perspective and thorough knowledge of all the lines we carry.”

Passed down through family and friends since the mid-1950s, The Boutique carries high-end, luxury lines you won’t find elsewhere, says Daughtridge, including customizable linens by Matouk and Hamburg House. Exclusive tabletop lines include Moser handmade crystal glass and Anna Weatherley Designs, a collection of Hungarian hand-painted porcelain dinnerware.

With a loyal following among local residents, the shop is a favorite of Charleston brides, who love the extensive lines of dinnerware, crystal and fine china, including Herend luxury porcelain, among others. The shop also carries everyday china.

“We offer an old-school, classic bridal registry service, and we do it well,” says Daughtridge, an avid Instagram user, who documents the shop’s latest offerings and posts a snapshot of each bride holding Ivy, the shop’s resident Westie. “We help clients select the perfect wedding or shower gift, then wrap it beautifully. And we run it out to your car!” She emails photos to help advise out-of-town customers on the best selection and encourages out-of-town brides to register for a real taste of Old Charleston.

“We will put together and deliver welcome guest bags to most locations on the peninsula,” she adds. Special Charleston items she likes to tuck into gift bags include cheese biscuits made by a small vendor on nearby Trade Street; My City, a beautiful local photography book by Jack Alterman; botanical lithograph stationery by Jane Pelland; and customized handkerchiefs.

“We also have beautiful robes for a bridal party,” says Daughtridge. Because, while The Boutique has that perfect something for a hostess, a birthday, baby, or anniversary, lingerie remains one of its best sellers. “We specialize in high-quality lines, like Natori, Veréna and p.jamas, and carry really pretty, feminine robes, pajamas and nightgowns,” says Daughtridge. “People come to us when they need something special for a trip, if company is coming or they need a lovely gift.”

At The Boutique you’ll also find the classic, handmade “Charleston bonnet,” a signature of Charleston babies for generations.

In a world-renowned, fast-growing city where shopping can feel like a whirlwind of an experience, The Boutique is a rare gem—a locally owned, carefully curated shop that invites you to slow down and enjoy its one-on-one, personalized service.

M.S. Lawrence, a writer and journalist, lives in Charleston.