In the frantic search for a dress or top for the next big event, most people are inclined to look online. C. Jane, however, has survived the online shopping craze for the past 12 years.
When Julie Copp opened C. Jane in 2006, it replaced high-end fashion boutique ByGeorge, which was moving its stores to South Congress and Lamar. Copp worked to rebrand the store, providing students and Austinites with trendy, convenient apparel.
Copp said she was approached by the owner of ByGeorge to take over the space and provide retail for a younger clientele.
“(The owner) knew that I’d just do a great job because I’ve been a buyer before,” Copp said. “I just know what the customer wants. Especially having a young daughter that was just that age, she could totally tell me exactly what girls wanted and what they were going to wear.”
Copp said there have always been clothing stores on Guadalupe Street, but she recognizes the difficulty small businesses face on the Drag.
“The rent has gotten so expensive for so many of the spaces that people just can’t make it,” Copp said. “Luckily our landlords have been reasonable with our rent and have not increased the price significantly.”
Special education sophomore Mary Claire Bracken frequently shops at C. Jane and said she will stop by the store on her way home from class, especially if she is looking for something specific.
“I feel like I usually always find (what I need),” Bracken said. “Even if I’m not looking for something specific, I find other cute stuff that I might not need, but still get.”
With nearly 6,000 followers on Instagram, Copp said social media has a huge impact on her business. She said she understands the importance of social media, especially when catering to a younger clientele that is constantly changing its mind.
“I want (Instagram) to be very professional-looking and enticing,” Copp said. “I try to (post) something about every day. Keep you wanting more.”
Copp said she hires college and high school students who advise her on what will sell in the store. She gets their opinions on what sellers are sending to see if she wants to invest in the merchandise for the store.
“I will get three of my girls back here at different times and say, ‘Would you wear this?’” Copp said.
Copp said boutique owners can’t get lazy in the business and she works hard to ensure she stocks what customers are looking for.
“I know (students) have graduation coming up so I’m loading the store up with white dresses,” Copp said. “During the summer, it slows down because y’all leave, but I fill the store up with burnt orange because of all the kids coming in for orientation, they need something for first game day.”
Textiles and apparel sophomore Ellie Dunn works as a sales associate at C. Jane. She said C. Jane is successful because of its proximity to campus and accessibility compared to other retail stores in Austin.
“It’s hard to buy everything online because you’re not sure how it’s going to fit,” Dunn said. “I think they do a really good job of getting dresses and cute clothes for students to look at in person.”