Trendy Wendy has provided distinctive styles of clothing, jewelry, shoes and more on Broadway since 2002. CHS talked with owner Lisa Chang about the development of the store’s aesthetic, and her relationship with the neighborhood and customers. Beneath a candy-colored array of dresses and corsets, CHS chatted with Lisa, who paused intermittently to greet shoppers.
I read on your Twitter you recently went to Comic-Con in San Diego. Would you say the store’s aesthetic is comics-influenced? The aesthetic is definitely informed by entertainment—Sex and the City in the past, currently Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and Vampire Diaries, which is huge for us and also at Comic-Con. You have to keep on top of things.
What were you up to at Comic-Con? I went to hang out with friends who were promoting their TV shows.
You carry lots of Hello Kitty apparel. Are you the sort of Sanrio aficionado who has even has Hello Kitty waffle irons? Actually, we have Hello Kitty items, but not apparel. It’s been something that’s done well here since day one. It’s like Hello Kitty for adults—Ipod covers and shower curtains. I don’t have much Hello Kitty stuff anymore, but I definitely used to.
How did you become interested in fashion? I’ve been sketching as long as I can remember. There are sketches in my old piano books. Some of my earliest memories are of making dresses for paper dolls, though I went to school for psychology and sociology. My mom owns Broadway Boutique.
Do you have a lot of customers who are doing drag or burlesque? We have lots of customers who do burlesque, and the number keeps growing. It’s great that the burlesque academy is here—we have students coming from all over. Our customers who do burlesque professionally come from as far away as Vancouver and San Francisco. I got an order from a professional burlesque performer just this afternoon. Drag is maybe three to five percent of business, but it’s an important part. We embrace all of our LGBT customers and the community we are in. There are a lot of stores where not everyone feels comfortable, and I want everyone to feel comfortable here.
What’s the most memorable reason a customer has stated for buying a corset? (Laughs)I’m not going to disclose that.
Now I really want to know. Oh well. Where in the neighborhood do you like to go for a quiet, conversation with friends kind of drink? Broadway Grill is like my “Cheers.” I’ve been going there forever.
Their burgers are awesome. Definitely.
Where are you most likely to wind up unconscious under a bar stool? (Laughs) I’m too old for that now. With all the work and traveling I do, if I’m not doing either of those things, I’m probably in bed. However, I really miss Manray.
Yeah, I was so disappointed that it closed right before I turned 21. It looked like space in there. So, you were nominated best women’s shoes in Western Washington by King 5 in 2010. Besides your own store, where is your favorite place in the neighborhood to shop for shoes? Honestly I’m kind of a self-sufficient entity. We were also nominated best jewelry, best cheap clothing and best women’s boutique.
Trendy Wendy is located at 211 Broadway E. You can learn more at http://www.myspace.com/trendywendyboutique