Studio Luxe shines in Old Town
There is a garish way to overdo sparkle and a sophisticated way to incorporate fleeting traces of sparkle that give you that instantly memorable shine.
One person who creates a glittery environment of her own is none other than the Sparkly Gal herself, Haymarket resident Brandi Norrell, owner of Studio Luxe Boutique in Old Town Warrenton. Norrell is the educator-turned-Sparkle-Queen who took her past work of helping students succeed and forged it into a business in her boutique retail store which she intends to become a gathering spot and retail-therapy haven for the women in the community.
Living in Virginia for the last 20 years, Norrell is originally from North Carolina, where she worked with early childhood administration and served as the principal at a private school. Norrell spoke with fondness about her days growing up in the south and living among southern hospitality where she learned that “we mirror what we see and hear and our own interactions … [and the importance of] being genuine and kind and sincere.”
After accumulating a lot of experience in youth advocacy, Norrell earned an MBA in strategic leadership which began to form a lasting impression in the type of person she wanted to be and the type of connection she craved to make with people. “I had a gift in teaching and facilitating and making different things easy … this led me to business,” noted Norrell.
In 2015, Norrell created Cheers to Today, LLC to provide coaching services to clients with an inspirational mantra to “start today because yesterday you said tomorrow” as per its website. Norrell also worked as a 9-11 dispatcher all while navigating the glamorous world of pageantry as she helped her daughter Trinity compete in local child pageants.
It was a natural transition to open Studio Luxe Boutique in October 2019 after working intimately with people in so many different settings, including education, public health, and child pageantry. Norrell describes herself as approachable with humility, making it comfortable for others to engage in conversation. She emphasizes her inner joy and “pleasure to know something personal about people, what people do for a living, or how they decorate their home.”
What does Norrell do with all that extraneous information she learns about her customers? She uses it in the moment to help them feel at ease and welcome in her boutique. She also stores it in her memory bank to draw upon down the road. This is part of Norrell’s magnetism in building meaningful connections with people from the community. Norrell makes sure to create those connections as a daily goal because she wants to have “people walk in and leave their problems at the door and feel better and confident. I want people to feel lighter through conversation.
Studio Luxe Boutique sells clothing for women and home décor. The interior of the boutique is carefully arranged to showcase a “five-senses experience” that engages the smell, sound, vision, and touch of its customers. The taste aspect blooms organically and metaphorically when customers taste the good life of happiness and lighthearted conversation while shopping for retail therapy — a concept Norrell strongly believes her customers do when they choose her boutique.
To enhance the five-senses experience, the boutique has candles lit all the time, emitting a warm, comfortable glow that sets a peaceful mood. The lighting is dimmed with soft jazz music playing. The goal is to encourage customers to arrive as strangers and “leave as friends,” because when “people hit that, that is the vision of my business,” beamed Norrell.
The concept of creating a welcoming space for individuals to converge and form friendships is not new. This idea was famously broadcast on the small screen in the 1980s television show “Cheers,” a fictional bar “where everybody knows your name.” That show became popular because it struck a chord with people who could relate with the real-life need to want to belong to a community where people know you individually by name and not just as a number or a statistic.
Norrell has revived the Cheers atmosphere where every person is known and cared about in a cozy 1500-square-foot retail space inside a charming cottage-like stand-alone building that is over 100 years old. “It’s my personal slice of heaven. There is so much charm in this building. It’s antique with a weathervane on top. What this space used to be … there are so many stories,” said Norrell enthusiastically.
The boutique sells clothing for women that accommodates sizes XS to 3X. Inspired by her plus-size mother, Norrell makes it a point to offer sizes that are inclusive to all body shapes and sizes. She chose her inventory based on what she saw at clothing stores she loves. “I love transitional styles from day to night. Accessories can elevate the mood,” explained Norrell.
Speaking of accessories, there is hardly a time when you’ll see Norrell dressed without her signature sparkle. Whether it’s a silver statement necklace or bangles or geometric rings adorning her long, elegant fingers, Norrell doesn’t just walk the walk of fashion, she lives it, breathes it, exudes it in her megawatt smile and appearance. Most importantly, it’s not even her looks that count. Brandi Norrell is the Sparkle Gal of Warrenton for the way she brings out the best in people and for her conscientious efforts to make Studio Luxe Boutique a place “where everybody knows your name.”
9 S. 5th Street, Warrenton
Facebook @Studio Luxe Boutique