Love of fashion leads from home to the NUTThouse Boutique in Lower Burrell
When the kitchen became a dressing room, it was time for a bigger space.
“I had clothes everywhere, in the living room, in the dining room and in the garage,” says Melanie Nuttall, who owns a women’s clothing business, NUTThouse Boutique. “My business had outgrown the house.”
So she found a new home … for the business.
Nuttall, who had often invited customers into her abode and posted Facebook Live videos of the latest merchandise, opened a brick-and-mortar store in Lower Burrell a few weeks ago.
“This is so exciting,” says Nuttall. “My customers are amazing. They help me get the word out about my business by sharing my posts, buying from me, and then wearing items for other women to see. I am so happy to be meeting the women I have sold items to because now with the store they can come here.”
About the store
The 1,200-square-foot space includes racks and racks of clothing and shoes and accessories. There are two blue-and-white cabanas for dressing rooms — so there is no need to have to try on clothes in the kitchen.
Whether they buy online or in the store, Nuttall keeps files on customer sizes and preferences and is always willing to put together several items and mail them, or now she will set aside choices for customers who come into the store, so all they have to do is try them on.
Some lines she carries include Doe & Rae, KanCan jeans, Wishlist, Qupid shoes, Tres Bien, Mittoshop and Umgee.
She says she doesn’t stock a lot of each item — so you most likely won’t see your friend wearing the same thing — and that also allows her to have a variety of choices. The inventory is constantly changing with new arrivals weekly. She plans to post some of the incoming merchandise online while saving a few for shoppers to discover in the store.
Most items are under $40.
“I know what I would want to pay for something,” she says. “So I try to keep pricing reasonable. I also follow trends, but I don’t jump on every trend. I will buy some trendy items, but I try to have basic, classic pieces that stand the test of time and aren’t going to go out of style after one season.”
She chose the name NUTThouse because she says “we are pretty crazy around here.” She says she couldn’t have made the move without the support of her family, especially her husband Bill. “He is the best,” she says. “He was OK with all the merchandise in our house, including using the kitchen as a dressing room, because he believes in me and wants the business to be successful.”
She plans to launch an app where customers can purchase, as well as see available items, on Instagram.
Customers near and far
Nuttall has sold to everyone — from down the street to as far away as Hawaii.
“I love that we have a local boutique,” says Dacia Kreinbrook of Natrona Heights. “I have young children and I don’t get out to shop a lot. She also has such a welcoming personality.”
“You can relate to her because she is a busy mom,” Kreinbrook says. “I remember looking through her garage, shifting through racks. It was hard to see everything she had. But with the store you can see it all. And I love her sense of fashion and her drive to do well in this business. It is also affordable.”
Holly Murden of Blacksburg, Va., connected via social media, and even though she’s never met Nuttall, she says she feels like she has.
“I love her style,” Murden says. “I identify with it. It is hard to buy clothing online, but she and I are close in size, and I like watching her videos so I can see how something will look.”
“As a mom you can wear the clothing, and it’s not overly revealing,” she says. “I haven’t met her but I feel like I know her. She is so real. She might post that life is crazy and her children have been sick so that is why she hasn’t posted in a few days, and we can relate to having days like that.”
A personal touch
Nuttall tries to find ways to interact with customers. One is through the videos Murden and Kreinbrook referenced. Nuttall goes live on Facebook to model a new item or talk about fashion. She says she hopes the videos allow customers to get to know her and feel comfortable with her when they shop.
A mother of three, Nuttall wanted to stay at home with her children and that’s how the business began. She was shopping one day and realized her clothes were out of style. She wasn’t able to find comfortable, fashionable and reasonably priced apparel that fit well so she decided to research some ways to find those things.
She started following fashion bloggers who share style tips and how to wear trends and thought, “if they can do that, so can I.”
“I really like to dress people, and I like to show them how something will look on them,” Nuttall says. “I want to help the normal, everyday woman find clothes that fit and feel comfortable and look fashionable at a reasonable price. I always urge my customers to try something on and send it back if they don’t like how it fits. I also try to get them to look at an item out of their comfort zone, to go for a new color or pattern. Clothing is necessary, but it also should be fun.”
NUTThouse Boutique is located at 2785 Leechburg Road, Lower Burrell. Hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, 2 to 8 p.m. Thursday, noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and noon to 3 p.m. Sunday. Fridays are for private parties, where a group can come and enjoy discounts. Nuttall also will see clients by appointment. She’s hosting a grand opening April 5-7. Grand opening hours will be 4 to 9 p.m. Friday, noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Details: 724-681-3991 or facebook.com/NUTThouse-Boutique
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne at 412-320-7889, [email protected] or via Twitter .