By Whitney Christy
You can’t always guage a business’s success based on its social media clout, but there’s no denying Hey Penelope’s more than 24,000 Facebook likes and 11,000 Instagram followers. This label has aimed to bring a breath of fresh air to the local fashion scene, and since the shop opened its doors last fall, it’s clear Baton Rouge shoppers agree.
Hey Penelope offers a variety of trendy designs featuring Louisiana-inspired pieces created by owner and graphic designer Desiree Guidry. Upon earning a degree in graphic design from Southeastern Louisiana University, the Baton Rouge native embarked on her own personal creative journey with an online specialty apparel business in 2012. Guidry sold her work on Etsy as well as Hey Penelope’s independent website, quickly gaining a large following. Every graphic you can find on a piece of clothing in the shop, Guidry designed herself.
“I’ve spent hours or days working on design, but the best designs that I sell are the ones that I thought of and did in one day,” Guidry said.
Customers often make special requests for designs that they would like to see created by her, but Guidry remains strong on maintaining the current styles of her brand while still catering to the essence of southern Louisiana. Several of her designs include the state of Louisiana or famous southern phrases, such as “Yawl” and “Southern Belle” emblazoned across the fashionable tops.
Guidry’s first best selling item began as a design for an infant’s shirt and onesie with “Born in the Boot” on the front in an elegant script font. Though it was one of her first designs, even as Guidry has expanded her lines, she’s kept this classic.
“[Customers] began asking for the same design in adult sizes!” Guidry said.
With business flourishing and orders pouring in, Guidry decided to open up a brick and mortar storefront, located near Towne Center on Jefferson highway. The transition from selling merchandise strictly online to opening the store was a learning experience for Guidry, especially when it came to scouting for a location.
“It took me almost a year,” Guidry said. “You can easily look at 30 to 50 locations. Owners also have to understand that there’s going to be renovations.”
Those renovations transformed drab beginnings into the modern and youthful space that is Hey Penelope today with eye-catching light fixtures, colorful walls, and custom signage hanging throughout the store. Guidry gladly welcomes all to shop and enjoy the warm atmosphere that radiates from the inside out.
Shoppers can choose from apparel for men, infants, and pets, or pick up conveniences like sweater shavers, bra strap converters, fashion tape, emergency kits with over a dozen items inside. They can even complete their look with Hey Penelope brand merchandise and Louisiana-inspired accessories.
“I’ve tried to create a one-stop shop for everything you’d need,” Guidry said.
While maintaining the uniqueness of her brand, Guidry isn’t shy to popular Louisiana colors of purple and gold as well as black and gold that may make her items irresistible during sport seasons.
With the customer base growing, Hey Penelope shows no signs of slowing down. Guidry hopes to eventually expand the boutique to another location in Louisiana, and ultimately open in another state, such as New York.
All Hey Penelope items are sold exclusively at the store front location and online. For more information about Hey Penelope, visit HeyPenelopeDesign.com