By: Sara Bastian
Photos by: Charlotte Jones
I’m here to fill you in on recent M Street developments that occurred this summer that might interest you, but warning&caution to your wallets – this post might lead to excessive spending. Read at own risk.
I stopped by to get the scoop on two new storefronts now open and selling trendy women’s apparel: Free People and Francesca’s Collections.
A three-story, 4,770 square foot storefront on M, located on 3009 M St. NW, between Sprinkles Cupcakes and Hu’s Shoes, Free People has joined the playing field that is M, stepped up to bat, and is prepared to compete with other boho-chic favorites among collegiates such as Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie.
I had the chance to chat with a sales associate, Lucy, who had previously worked at the Free People in Bethesda’s Montgomery Mall, about the success of the store since its opening on August 21st. “We saw a wave of business right as we opened, which was a convenient time as college students began to return to DC. Mostly, the students who we have been interacting with are from Georgetown, but we have also seen a fair amount of George Washington, American University, and George Mason students as well,” Lucy says. Clearly, this boutique is already an attraction spot for shoppers – not only those in the direct vicinity of M.
She adds, “It’s so different than the Free People in Montgomery Mall. The entire store was as big as this room we’re standing in now. People just have so much fun when they come.” The experience was exactly as described – enjoyable and even exhilarating. Not only does this storefront radiate its easygoing lifestyle through its bohemian clothing, but also through its stunning interior décor. Successfully achieving the brick-and-mortar indoor aesthetic trend, Free People sets a serene mood, connecting to its demographic. It is safe to say that Free People has gone above and beyond to distinguish itself among other boutiques on M and Wisconsin.
Unfortunately, Free People’s policy does not account for student discounts, and is not likely to do so in the future. However, the sale section on the lower level boasts stable inventory, and prospective sales look promising.
Price range: $$$
This past July 3rd, Francesca’s Collections arrived at the scene, Francesca’s markets affordable, modern mixed with classic clothing, shoes, and spunky accessories – ideal for the college budget. Francesca’s, located at 3128 M Street, is fun and charming, perfectly tailored to ambitious, hardworking, chic students. Its prices are especially forgiving with the multiple discounts they frequently have. The customer service and the dedication to the individual shopper added to the endearing experience. When I talked with a sales associate, she said her favorite part of working at this new store was meeting and getting to know the diverse clientele. The moment that was especially refreshing and genuinely telling was witnessing the warm greeting the sales associates gave a returning shopper they remembered, exemplifying the cordial values of Francesca’s and its sales team on M.
One of the best parts of Francesca’s, in my opinion, is the slightly offbeat, cute trinkets found in the core of the store. Among my favorites included a coffee tumbler that read in embellished script, “there’s a chance this is wine,” or a bedazzled pill box that reads, “medicated and motivated”. If you’re on the lazier side like me and still have to finish decorating your room, look no further than Francesca’s. They have all the cute and reasonably priced dorm décor needed to spice up your walls.
If you haven’t been sold yet, beware, because there is a 10% student discount on any purchase.
Price range: $$
Both stores are setting precedent and are undoubtedly pressuring existing stores on M Street to step up their game. Both of these Free People and Francesca’s boutiques made impressive strides for their companies, and could potentially be their new flagship stores.