Q&A: Third Ward Boutique Marks 15 Fashionable Years

By Andrea Rumbaugh
Houston Chronicle

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Houston boutique owner Jackie Adams celebrates 15 years in business IN STYLE! Adams will host an anniversary celebration at a local theater with performances, a fashion show and an awards ceremony to recognize community leaders who have supported her over the years.

Houston Chronicle

Melodrama Boutique, a mainstay among Houston fashionistas, is celebrating 15 years of style.

Jackie Adams opened the store in December 2002, and it has blossomed into a hub for showcasing local designers, supporting fellow entrepreneurs and empowering women. Adams recently spoke to the Chronicle about her business and its Third Ward location.
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Q: How does it feel being in business for 15 years?

A: Sometimes I have to pinch myself, because when I first set out I didn’t know how long it was going to last or what the future held. But it’s been good. A great opportunity to be connected with people. Some clients I’ve had for 15 years, and I’ve seen their kids grow up or be born.

Q: Are you doing anything to celebrate?

A: We have our 15-year anniversary coming up at the Ensemble Theater on Dec. 13 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. I’m basically re-creating different things I’ve done in my boutique and in the community over the 15 years. So we’re having performances, a fashion show, 15 awards we’re giving to community leaders who have been influential to the business. We have a 15-year documentary that we’re going to also show at the event, as well as food from an array of different restaurants and caterers and chefs that have done things in my store. Definitely red carpet, everything you can think of for a nice little evening celebration for the 15 years.

Q: What has been the most rewarding experience, and what has been the biggest challenge?

A: The most rewarding experience would be the opportunity to work with the different universities and students that people bring by the store. I get an opportunity to share my story and encourage them on their journey to fashion or owning their own business or becoming a designer. I think the hardest part about having my location is being over in this area of town. It’s a destination boutique. Women, we have so many options to shop. And there have been communities built based upon us needing those options all over the city. Over here quite isn’t as commercial. It’s more residential. That’s been the hardest part about being over here. Because I’m kind of away from everything, although I’m only 2.5 miles from everything.

Q: Why did you initially choose the Third Ward?

A: I was looking for a progressive area and some diversity, and I wanted to be a part of what I consider the change in Houston. And when I did research for my business plan, what was happening in this area is probably the big thread to the entire city. It was going to impact the things they’re doing in River Oaks, the things they’re doing in Rice Village, a lot of the construction on Texas 288. There was so much that was happening. I was like, OK, this would be the great time to get in because ultimately it’s going to get probably so expensive you can get priced out. I figured if I got in while it was going through its changes, then I would have a better opportunity for me being able to be here, like I still am, versus a lot of the other well-developed communities in the city. They’re already priced so high. So it was actually affordable with me coming in during the time I did come in.

Q: How do you feel about some of the recent developments that are happening here?

A: The expansion with Texas 288, I’m in love with. I was happy about the train coming down through the back from the arena to downtown. It’s been great to see families and people walking throughout the community. Just living in Houston, period, it’s a driving city. So it’s been really nice to see people walk by and go to the coffee shop and then go shopping and then walk home.

Q: How have you contributed to the Third Ward and some of its recent developments?

A: I’ve seen other women and other people open businesses. At one time, the centers around here, especially across the street from me, were empty. But people would come and see that I’ve still been here and be like, ‘OK, so you’ve got clients. This can work.’ So I think I was influential in that. And just partnering with a lot of different nonprofits in the area, where I’ve been able to contribute and donate part of my proceeds. I do a lot of stuff where they need somebody to provide fashion shows for their fund-raisers. Our 15-year anniversary, part of the proceeds will go to the Houston Area Women’s Center. I always try to make sure that I’m giving back.

Q: What do you hope to see in the next five, 10 or 15 years in the Third Ward?

A: A grocery store on Almeda would be nice. And a grocery store that concentrates and does believe in organic and healthy rather than just being meat-heavy stores. Really concentrating on produce, and even participating where they’re getting things from the local growers as well. And I would definitely love to see more retailers. I would love to see more shopping centers grow in the area so that we can create a little bit more of that walking option where people can go shopping and go hang out and enjoy the day.

Q: What about your business? What can we expect moving forward?

A: My goal with this space is to turn it into a co-op space where I house about 10 to 15 local designers. I was actually doing that a couple of years ago. I had about three different designers in here for a couple of years. Many things have taken place, but I do plan on getting back to that because ultimately what I would like to do is open up a department store. I want to spend some time in the next year really focusing on what my business plan is. I’m big on business plans and having the actual plan in black and white. I want to put that onto paper so I can really look and see what that is going to take and cost.

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