Shopping one-on-one

Carr’s home boutique features clothing and accessories,

– An upscale boutique selling a luxurious line of women’s
clothing is open for business in San Martin – if you know where to
SAN MARTIN – An upscale boutique selling a luxurious line of women’s clothing is open for business in San Martin – if you know where to look.

Carol Spence Carr has turned the bottom floor of her spacious hilltop home into a charming “shop” where she sells the Doncaster Designer Collection of women’s clothing. The clothing line, which isn’t sold in stores or on the Internet, ranges from casual and career wear to evening and formal wear. It’s sold through direct sales four times a year by wardrobe consultants throughout the country.

Carr, who moved to San Martin three years ago, sets up one-on-one appointments with her growing clientele to view and try on the clothing in the privacy of her home.

“It’s a really convenient way to shop,” Carr said. “Obviously, it’s a very private setting – just me and my clients.”

Carr, who has 22 years of interior design experience under her belt, heard about the Doncaster Collection through a fellow designer a year ago and has been selling the exclusive line ever since.

“This was just a natural extension of my career,” said Carr, who is a professional member of the American Society of Interior Designers and a retired flight attendant. “As a designer, you have an eye for color and proportion, which is very important in fit.”

Carr said the overall quality of the line, including the fabrics used, and the workmanship and design of the pieces, appealed to her.

“The fabrics are so luscious,” she said. “When you feel the fabrics, they just feel so good. That’s the first thing that women say.”

Her clients, whom total about 35, live in Morgan Hill, Gilroy and San Martin. They span all ages.

The boutique space features tables and racks displaying coats, tweed suits, silk blouses, wool jackets, sweaters, shimmering evening wear, scarves, purses, jewelry and other accessories. Carr said the line features seasonal classic clothing. The average price is $200 per piece.

Carr receives shipments of clothing four times a year: February, April, July and October. When a new shipment arrives, she sends postcards to clients and sets up personal appointments. Each seasonal line of clothing contains about 250 to more than 300 items. Carr said when helping customers choose clothing and assess their personal style, she talks to them about their lifestyle and any special upcoming events that may necessitate a new outfit.

“I talk to them about what they’re comfortable wearing and what feels good to them,” she said.

Carr said she suggests styles and colors, but keeps the atmosphere very low-pressure so her clients can make the decisions. She said she also keeps a record of her clients’ purchases to help them choose new pieces each season and assist them in building a wardrobe.

Clothing sizes range from 2 to 18 in regular and 2 to 16 in petite. In addition, clients have the flexibility to purchase a top in one size and the bottom in another. Tailoring services are also available.

Gilroyan Sheila Still, who has been a customer of Carr’s for about a year, said was “hooked” after viewing one of Carr’s clothing shows. Still said she specifically enjoys the convenience and personal attention of shopping with Carr.

“She’s super, very professional,” Still said. “She has a great sense of design and color, and sense and taste. She can put things together. She’s quick to tell you if something doesn’t work for you. She’s not pushing things on you. It’s always been a pleasant experience shopping with her.”

Carr said her favorite part about selling the Doncaster Collection is interacting with her clients.

“I really enjoy making them look great. It’s fun, and it’s nice to meet people all the time,” she said. “I love it. Who would want to shop at a department store?”

Contact Carol Spence Carr at 779-4189 or by e-mail at [email protected] For more information about Carr or the Doncaster Designer Collection, visit Carr said she is also seeking an associate to assist her in selling the Doncaster Collection.