Harmony's Eye Kandy Boutique Clothing & Accessories offers sweet fashion treats

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
| Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Kandy Barkley has an eye for fashion.

Her vision is seen, not only through the name of her store, Eye Kandy Boutique Clothing & Accessories, but also in the merchandise she selects.

This hidden gem of women's fashions, nestled in the quaint town of Harmony, is starting to show up on the shopping radar.

“There are a lot of people who don't know we are here,” says Barkley, who owns the shop with husband Israel and gets a hand from their 11-year-old daughter, Zaydra. “But once they find us, they keep coming back. We do have some high-end pieces, but we try to keep everything affordable. I want this store to be accessible to the everyday woman.”

Barkley works with a clothing representative and searches the Internet for fashion, accessories, handbags, headwear and footwear that are different, trendy and fun.

The Barkleys opened the store in August 2012 in their hometown. The shop is housed in an 1880s building. They kept most of the original brick — and even an antique icebox.

“This building is perfect,” Barkley says. “It has history, and we fell in love with it the minute we saw it. It really has character.”As do the interesting lines the store carries, such as Escapada, Inside Out, Dunia, G9C, Blue Canoe, Ya Los Angeles and Flying Tomato. Barkley likes using a variety of designers so she can accommodate women in a wide range of ages and body types, including plus sizes, and also those who prefer items made from organic cotton or bamboo.

One of the most-unusual lines is Fredd & Basha, based out of Los Angeles, which makes handbags painted by elephants. The designer travels to India for the purses, which are created as the animals hold brushes in their trunks. Part of the profits goes to the care of the elephants.

Dress prices range from $30 to $90, tops from $15 to $90, fleece-lined leggings for $18 and pants up to $60.

Barkley says she enjoys meeting customers to find out what they are looking for and often suggests items a woman might not have selected for herself.

“Knowing Kandy is like having a personal shopper,” says Heidi Cain of Harmony, whose jogging route passed the store before it officially opened. “I kept looking in the window at a top I wanted and kept wondering ‘When is this store going to open?' ”

The owners try to give customers the best service, Israel Barkley says, because they know these women can shop elsewhere.

“We sell a lot by posting a photo of something on our Facebook page,” he says. “A customer will often message us and say they want that item, and we will hold it for them. Kandy spots items that are so popular, they don't stay in the store very long.”

Stylist Nicole Widdowson from Harmony chooses looks for fashion shows from the selection at Eye Kandy.

“Everything is here,” says Widdowson, who is styling a show hosted by the store in a space upstairs on Nov. 16. “Kandy buys fun and fashionable pieces that can be coordinated nicely. I love styling fashion shows with Kandy, and I love shopping here for myself.”

Jessica McManus of Cranberry stops in at least once a week. “There is always something different, something that you won't find in other stores,” she says. “And it's all quality clothing.”

Eye Kandy Boutique Clothing & Accessories, 253 C. Mercer St., Harmony, is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Details: 724-777-6637

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