Serene shopping experience is new boutique's goal

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
| Sunday, May 26, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Julia Weiskopf wanted to create a relaxing shopping experience — one in which her customers wouldn't feel rushed.

Her women's and men's clothing and accessories store, Jules, in Lawrenceville, allows visitors to peruse on-trend merchandise and lounge on the plush couch or a velvet-covered chair.

“I have worked in many stores, and I hate feeling like I have to walk in and walk out right away,” Weiskopf says. “I want this place to feel like home. I want it to be welcoming and comfortable and easy.”

The grand opening is June 1. “I would say my style is fashion-forward,” says Weiskopf, modeling one of the high-low skirts she is selling. “I look for fun pieces and those that work well in a wardrobe. My vision was to have items for both women and men because there aren't a lot of stores like that in Pittsburgh.”

Clothing designers include Hazel, C&C California, Ladakh, Amanda Uprichard and Lovers + Friends for women and Baren, Fred Perry, Pendleton, Benson, American Needle, and Wright & Ditson for men.

She will carry DL1961, Joe's Jeans and Velvet for both men and women.

Tops range from $70 to $170. Jeans start at $150. Most items are under $300, with the exception of some handbags.

Jewelry designers include Dog-eared, A.V. Max, House of Harlow, Marcia Moran and Shashi.

Accessories include Botkier, Bed Stu, Volley International, Ella Moss and Splendid Footwear, Deux Lux and Luna Jaze.

Luna Jaze is a leather handbag company owned by Jamie Murphy of Forest Hills. The two met through Weiskopf's mother.

“Julia has a nice range of items in the store,” Murphy says. “I am happy to have my bags in her store. She has great taste, and she is carrying a nice range of bags at various price points.”

Some of Weiskopf's fashion knowledge came from working at Panello, a Lawrenceville women's boutique owned by Cara Moody.

“I learned a lot working there,” Weiskopf says. “Cara was an inspiration to me. And I really wanted to be located in Lawrenceville because everyone is so nice here, and all the businesses help and support each other. Everyone in this community helps cross-promote each other. Lawrenceville is becoming a destination.”

Moody agrees — she offers some Jules cards at Panello.

“It is great that more stores are opening up like Jules,” Moody says. “I am happy for her. I like the fact that local business owners in Lawrenceville are all working really hard at making dreams come true.”

Theresa Sneider, who is originally from Fox Chapel but lives in Shadyside, says she feels like she is shopping at her girlfriend's closet when she walks into Jules.

“It is fun and not like some stuffy retail places,” Sneider says. “I want to own all the clothes and the furniture in this store.”

Having men's apparel and accessories within walking distance is a plus, says Michael Kreha, of Lawrenceville.

“I can shop in Lawrenceville, which is great,” he says. “Any store or shop that adds to the neighborhood is good. This is where I live, and it's a spectacular neighborhood. This place has character.”

Part of that character is in the decor of the 1,600-square-foot store. Weiskopf has lots of vintage furniture — including a dresser from her childhood bedroom in Squirrel Hill and a table made from a wooden door with the knob still attached. Weiskopf refurbished a lot of the items herself and credits Construction Junction as the place where she found some incredible pieces.

Accenting the furniture is art by locals displayed on the walls — all available for purchase. The current pieces are from artist Carolyn Wenning, whose studio is in Garfield. Weiskopf plans to change the art throughout the year.

“I like to keep everything fresh and new,” she says. “Stop by to say hello and see what we have. We are getting in new merchandise all the time. I hope to bring some new styles to Pittsburgh. I have always wanted to own my own store, ever since I was in high school.”

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at or 412-320-7889.

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