Online clothing shopping may be convenient, but getting the right fit is the eternal struggle—especially if you wear an atypical size. That’s why when Alex Dekowski opened her contemporary women’s boutique, Hello Addie, in Federal Hill this past summer, she decided to offer complimentary alterations to her customers.
“We do our best to find brands that fit most people, but everyone’s bodies are so different, and we really want anyone who comes in to be able to find something in the store that makes them feel comfortable and confident,” says Dekowski. “Shopping can be miserable, but with the in-store alterations, if something doesn’t fit you perfectly, we can tweak it so that it does.”
Dekowski, a business major who worked in banking after dropping out of college, always had a love for fashion and decided to open the boutique in Federal Hill this past July after testing the waters with numerous pop-up shops throughout Pennsylvania and Maryland. “I think the fact that I don’t have a huge fashion background is an advantage and allows me to see the needs of the consumer that people who have been in the industry wouldn’t necessarily see,” she says.
The store, which is named after Dekowski’s grandmother, is full of on-trend items from brands such as Sage the Label, Matisse Footwear, Line & Dot, and Pistola Denim. Every week, the team at Hello Addie does an Instagram Live video where they all try on new arrivals and discuss the materials, fits, and quality of the items in real time.
“Everyone that works here has very different body types, so we like to show our girls what each piece could look like on them,” Dekowski says. “We have customers who come in the next day and say, I saw this on Instagram and I would’ve never thought I’d like it, but it looked good on everyone here, so I need it.”
To further her goal of inclusion at Hello Addie, Dekowski has plans to create her own line sometime next year. “Being a buyer for the first time, I noticed quickly that there is no single line that makes something in regular and plus sizes,” she says. “I plan to carry many styles with each piece offered in extra small through plus size. We don’t want anyone to have to walk into the store and have to find their section. We want everyone to be able to look through the same racks and to find something that they can leave feeling great about.”