Amy Finegold loves great shoes as much as the next fashionista, but she thought she’d only ever be on the purchasing end of footwear. As fate would have it, Finegold is now the owner ofÂ Sole Amour, a new “shoetique” for women in Andover. By, Felicity Long
“I knew practically at birth that I wanted to be in fashion, and I knew I wanted to learn the business from small boutique owners,” she says. In 2004, Finegold opened Dresscode, a high-end clothing boutique in Andover where “everyone who was buying clothing wanted shoes.” Unable to find great styles at local shops, she started to carry a small selection of shoes. Her clients loved the shoes, but budget and space constraints prevented Finegold from making a big investment in footwear.
“The only way I could open another store would be if I had a partner with the same degree of passion,” she says.
Enter co-owner Stephanie Sipley.Â Sipley went straight from college to retail in Boston, then to the corporate level at J. Crew and Oilily, a Dutch clothing company.
“I always wanted to open my own store,” she says, “but if you asked me five or six years ago, I wouldn’t have said ‘shoe store.’ But when you come to a town, you see what the need is.”
Sipley handles most of the daily operations of Sole Amour, which offers a style they describe as “affordable luxury.”
“We have a wide range of prices, from more expensive shoes to sandals for under $100 and flats starting at $55,” Sipley says, admitting that they battle the public perception that boutiques only sell pricier products.
“Steph and I have tried hard to scour New York vendors to find shoes that are well priced but look luxurious,” says Finegold. “For some customers, price is not an issue, but others might see a great shoe, not buy it, then come back for it for a special occasion.”
The women also have an eye on the younger market, who they call “aspirational customers.” Teens who come in for the prom or graduation, for example, might not be able to afford Sole Amour shoes for every day, but they might in the future. The new store also carries women’s handbags and a selection of jewelry.Â The grand opening was March 10, and Sole Amour is already getting clients from towns around the North Shore and from as far away as California and Hong Kong.
“This is our first season-we are learning from our customers,” Sipley says. “Our buying is a combination of what we like and what they tell us they need and want.” 10 Post Office Ave., Andover, 978-409-1541, soleamour.com.