Providing Premium Service for All Contributes to Matti D’s Longevity in San Diego
After 19 years of bringing exclusive and premium products to the San Diego–area city of Del Mar, Calif., boutique owner Jax McIntosh remains committed to the mission upon which her store, Matti D, was founded. While the retailer—located at 2689 Via de La Valle—offers high-end labels such as Alice + Olivia and Cinq à Sept, along with emerging brands including footwear brand Daniella Shevel and edgy street apparel by Los Angeles’ Adaptation, McIntosh emphasizes that every visitor is treated as the most important client.
“Regardless of whether they buy or not, I want to give that killer experience, and fashion is always fun,” she said. “The way I look at it is if we give a really great experience that is what they come here for. Everybody who comes in here loves it, and we do personal styling.”
Founded with Marie Ferris in 2000, Matti D is based on the premise that customers deserve a shopping experience that will have them leaving the store feeling better than when they walked inside. There is nearly no limit to the lengths McIntosh will go in order to show her clients that she and her staff care. In addition to personal styling onsite, the business offers services such as closet cleanses, customizable goodie boxes and travel packing to assist clients under stressful situations.
“A couple of clients let me into their houses. They tell me where they are going, they come home, and their bags are ready to go,” she explained. “One client was going to an event and she ripped her dress. We showed up at the event with a new dress. There is really nothing that we will not do for our clients.”
Developing a loyal customer following during this era in which consumer brand loyalty is difficult to maintain is quite an accomplishment. McIntosh emphasizes the importance of building a team of retail professionals who take personally the boutique’s mission, striving to reimagine the store’s appearance on a frequent basis.
“We constantly re-merchandise the store. We have a team of amazing merchandisers. We turn over the store every single day so there are constant changes that make it different,” said McIntosh. “With retail, stuff gets stagnant, so we want it to be an experience.”
In addition to a loyal clientele that has helped the store develop an 85 percent to 90 percent repeat-customer rate, some store associates have worked with the boutique for many years, adding to its welcoming, familiar atmosphere. The legacy of Matti D is its reputation for quality clothing with exceptional, caring service.
“One of our employees started with us approximately 16 years ago,” revealed McIntosh. “He has seen some of our clients who shopped here as teenagers now having kids.”
With goods available at retail prices ranging from $72 for a tank top to nearly $2,000 for a coat, McIntosh follows a tenet of “styling people for their soul’s age” rather than their date of birth. Her clientele ranges from 20-somethings to 90-year-olds.
On the verge of nearly 20 years in business, the current retail environment has been kind to Matti D, which is likely due to McIntosh’s firm belief that the team should focus on maintaining its own success, not look for answers in the methods used by other businesses. Similar to other apparel-retail operations, challenges do arise for Matti D.
“Online challenges are always the ones that I hear about a lot, but people want that human interaction,” said McIntosh. “That is the reason boutiques are thriving.”
That human interaction provided by the team at Matti D is at the core of its business. Tapping into the emotional side of customers and connecting with them on a more personal level is a talent that cannot be taught, yet it is one of the store’s most unique offerings.
“My favorite part is making people feel good,” explained McIntosh. “Someone who is feeling insecure or unsure and needs a pick-me-up. She might be experiencing a hardship such as a divorce—I can make her feel special and beautiful again.”
For the next generation of retail professionals, McIntosh has some sage advice regarding the elements that will set apart a successful boutique from the competition.
“Always do everything with loyalty, consistency and integrity. If you are trying to push out numbers it will not be successful,” she said. “Big sales and good days come naturally when you treat people well.”