Business

Frills, thrills at La De Da

La De Da lets customers know where they are before they step through the doorway.

Located at the east corner of Winslow Green, the small but succulent 700-square-foot store has its name emblazoned in a “faux doormat,” a tasseled rug painted in curlicues.

That magic is worked within the confines of the silk and satin-draped, pink-bow-tied, lace-bestrewn interior is announced straightaway by the shop’s resident genius, a papier-mâché witch crafted by artist Marilyn Phillips and permanently ensconced on the counter.

“Yes, we do work magic here,” said store owner Teri Cole.

Part of the magic is the integration of items for sale with the general decor, to make the store as much an experience as a shopping trip. As customers enter the front room, they are dazzled by a profusion of visual treats, from such features as a small flock of papier-mâché hot air balloons to one-of-a-kind lingerie – like the spiral brassiere with appliqué “kisses” – to cosmetics, jewelry, clothing and sparkles of every sort.

But it’s the smaller, “fluffy mojo room” – also known as the Marie Antoinette Room, for the costume that is its centerpiece – where the accumulation of detailed decor marks the store as a special place.

Cole’s collection of vintage lace serves as wall hangings; white-painted ironwork arbors arch over tables laden with such items as tinted plastic pocketbooks with pressed flowers, to watered silk-and-satin curtains in pink and green, hand-sewn by a 100-year-old costume designer.

“It looks very European,” she said. “That’s what people tell us.”

Whimsy need not be expensive, however; prices on the inventory Cole acquires in Los Angeles, Atlanta and Dallas range from modest to moderate,

“We have dog and cat accessories, clothes in comfortable fabrics in easy styles, feathers,” she said. “These are the things I like to surround myself with.”

Men feel comfortable coming into the store, Cole says, and seem to find the non-coercive direction just the right guidance for finding the right gift.

Her new enterprise is also something of a homecoming for the entrepreneur.

A native islander, Cole graduated from Bainbridge High School in 1970. After 12 years split between Santa Cruz, Calif., and Bali, Cole returned to the area and opened stores in Bainbridge and Poulsbo that sold a variety of items. Her doors stayed open for eight years, until, when an interested buyer came forward, Cole decided to take a break from retail and travel.

What drew Cole to reopen was the prime Winslow Green location; an old friend contributed the name.

“It’s like a reunion, that’s what everyone says,” Cole said.

Previously the site of a deli, the space was renovated top to bottom. The custom decor took five months to complete, but details that include satin-striped fitting room curtains, each tied back with oversize pink satin bows, make every corner of the place a visual treat.

“Once retail is in your blood, it’s pretty hard not to have a store again down the road,” Cole said. “I like everything about it – designing the store, buying for it.

“I love meeting new people and seeing all my old customers and friends.”

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La De Da is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday 11- 5 p.m. at Winslow Green. Phone is 780-3449.

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