There’s a popular and endearing saying in Austin, describing a person or business that has deep roots in the community. If you’re deemed an “Austin original,” you have earned a beloved title, and one local boutique, The Garden Room, has earned the right to be in that category.
Owner Patty Hoffpauir’s retail vision to provide fashionable looks for Austin women started back in 1979 when it started off as a gift store. Her expertise was in the fashion arena, and she eventually turned The Garden Room into a fashion boutique in 1985.
“I had always been more comfortable buying clothing, as I was trained in the Federated Dept Stores Executive Training Program in Dallas and have a B.S. degree in merchandising from Louisiana State University,” said Hoffpauir.
The store’s 900 square feet and humble beginnings turned into a much larger location at Jefferson Square.
The Garden Room customer has also evolved throughout the last 42 years.
“We’ve kind of grown up with our customer,” said Hoffpauir. She continues to carry a wide range of different styles and looks for the Austin woman at every stage of life.
Hoffpauir shared that when she attends market, everyone is interested in the casual “Austin look”, something that, from New York to Atlanta, is deemed a trend to follow. (We couldn’t agree more.)
Hoffpauir is not only dressing the stylish women of Austin, but she has also taken the time to support many local charities that include Ballet Austin, Helping Hand Home, Austin Symphony and the Killeen School of Nursing.
While helping others is second nature for Hoffpauir, there came a time for others to help her. Like all of us, March 2020 was certainly a month we will all remember, and leave it to Hoffpauir to get creative to help keep sales rolling during a pandemic.
“We were shut down, but we were calling our customers, sending them pictures, sending them videos,” said Hoffpauir.
Additionally, Hoffpauir and her staff brought items to the front door and handed them off to clients or mailed them. Consider The Garden Room the first to use retail-to-go in Austin.
To increase more revenue, Patty added the power of e-commerce. “We did a website, offering t-shirts from Proof of Concept. She also added French scarves for Mother’s Day and graduation gifts,” said Hoffpauir.
Since The Garden Room has such a long fashion history in town, Hoffpauir has enjoyed and supported new fashion talent. She witnessed an up-and-coming designer, Kendra Scott, start her business. Scott, with her baby in tow, sold Hoffpauir her designs, and they were an instant hit!
“I was probably one of the first stores to stock Kendra’s jewelry line. We would run down to her 6th Street studio, buy inventory, and it would sell out in a day,” said Hoffpauir.
As Austin returns to what will hopefully be a new fashion normal, (and boy aren’t we ready for that) Hoffpauir reflects on her favorite fatherly saying: “Roll with the punches.” Somewhat appropriate for 2020!