Two weeks ago I was driving past one of my favourite clothing stores and decided to make a quick shopping trip. This particular clothing store isn’t in Guelph or surrounding cities, so I was excited to have the chance to get something new. Since having my third baby I haven’t lost much weight, and I’ve been slowly buying the next size up because nothing fits me.
The store was having a big sale, so I excitedly grabbed about 20 different articles of clothing and skipped over to the change room. The salesperson laughed as I awkwardly carried my massive haul into the change room. One by one, I tried each item on, and by the end I couldn’t hold the tears in anymore. Nothing fit. Every single item was unflattering, despite going up a size. I left empty handed with a heavy and defeated spirit.
Earlier this week I shared my defeating story with Yolanda Vanleeuwen, Guelph-based entrepreneur and owner of Yolanda’s Fashion Boutique. My previous shopping experience was fresh in my mind, and the words came tumbling out as I shared how crushed I was that this brand no longer fit my body type.
Yolanda understood my experience and shared that it’s not that uncommon for women to find that their favourite brands don’t fit them as their bodies change. It’s one of the reasons she loves working as a fashion stylist and helping women find clothes that fit their body type.
She admits that even for herself, shopping has been a struggle – a quick in and out experience, where she’d avoid eye contact with the salesperson because she didn’t want to feel guilted into buying something.
Yolanda said that her boutique is a safe space for women to come, take their time, and enjoy the experience of finding something that is the perfect fit for them.
“We provide our customers with one-on-one attention. We want to help accentuate their bodies and get them excited about their new outfits,” she said.
Yolanda offers honest and genuine advice on what will suit her clients, and helps them to find the perfect outfits for them.
The Fashion Boutique carries sizes XS to XXXXXL, and typically only carries one piece in each size. Clients are also able to schedule appointments for one-on-one fashion consultations with Yolanda, and items can be special ordered for the client. She even offers girls night out evenings for groups of friends.
“I used to be that woman that walked into stores that wouldn’t want any help. I wouldn’t let people in, it’s like a coping mechanism because we don’t want to be sold to,” she shared.
Yolanda doesn’t want her clients to feel pressured or sold to. Instead, she hopes to build relationships and help women to find clothes that make them feel confident and proud of their bodies. She believes that when we feel good on the outside, it often reflects to a kinder and gentler version of ourselves on the inside as well.
“If you try 10 pieces on and you don’t buy something, that’s okay. I want people to come home and wear their clothes, I want them to shop effectively not emotionally, and feel good in their clothes,” said Yolanda.
She offers many different fashion-related services and also loves connecting with other entrepreneurs within Guelph; she also supports many local charities.
The Boutique has many cherished clients, and is growing as word of mouth spreads. On Facebook the Yolanda Fashion Boutique has 39 reviews, all of them five stars, which stands as a testament to the services and relationships that Yolanda is building with women.
Yolanda shared that most of her clients are between the ages of 35 and 50, but her shop is highly accessible to elderly women and she has so elderly clients who enjoy the wide spaces and easy parking. There are also customers who drive as far as Owen Sound, Chatham, and Hamilton to visit her shop.
Yolanda’s Fashion Boutique is located at 5471 ON-6 just north of Guelph.