By KATE LUDLOW
Jamie’s Boutique carries the same Chanel suits that you normally would find in larger cities, but the price tag reveals a difference. Located on the square in downtown Burnet, Jamie’s is the place for high-end designer clothing at a fraction of the cost.
“We have everything from Quinceañera dresses, to bridesmaid dresses and bridal gowns, and formal gowns for prom or holiday parties,” says Jamie Anderson, the store’s owner. “We’ve got something for every special occasion.”
Jamie stocks her store with clothing from a wide variety of sources – sample sales, overstock sales, and perhaps more intriguing, government auctions. Right now, Jamie is selling a rather storied collection of dresses that all came from the same woman.
“Well, she lived in Wisconsin, and she was in finance. She would go on shopping sprees and buy clothing that was anywhere from a size 6 to a size 14. She would even buy the same dress in a few different sizes. Eventually, she was arrested for embezzling something like $24-30 million. Her company’s credit card company finally caught it, they were wondering why there were so many charges to Neiman Marcus,” says Jamie. “She just had warehouses full of stuff, never worn before, with the tags on, and it was all high end stuff.”
After the woman’s conviction, everything went up for auction, and buyers like Jamie can go online and make bids on large lots of clothing, jewelry, and accessories, then pass the savings on to their customers.
But while the labels may be high-end, the prices are not. Jamie’s Boutique is a place where it is possible for a girl to find a beautiful prom dress for an incredibly low price.
“Just last week, I sold one (formal gown) for only $30,” says Jamie.
Watching Jamie talk fashion is similar to talking about your favorite ice cream. There’s an excitement and near giddiness in her voice as she talks about each piece. You can see her piecing together outfits in her head, figuring out what colors you might prefer, and wondering if she has the perfect shoes to match.
Born and raised in Big Spring, Jamie spent the majority of her lifetime in education. She went to the University of Texas for both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education. For a time, she lived in Washington D.C., where one of her sons works for the US Department of State. It was shopping with her daughter-in-laws that sparked the idea of opening her own boutique.
“There was great shopping in D.C. Mostly, I was buying for my daughter-in-laws, they’re both so gorgeous, and they can wear anything. I kept thinking to myself, ‘Everyone would love to get these buys.’ So, I decided then and there, this Texas gal was coming home,” she said.
Jamie had family in the Austin area, and after travelling around Central Texas, she settled in Burnet.
“The kids were so far away, I could go anywhere. And I’ve travelled a lot. It’s just not home.”
Jamie also spent time running the family business, farming and ranching, after her mother passed away.
“There’s a lot of potential in this town. It’s really coming back. I’m surrounded by great businesses that help bring people into my store. People come from surrounding areas to shop and eat,” says Jamie.
In addition to clothing, Jamie has been in contact with the Austin Stream Train Association, which has steered her in the direction of souvenirs for train passengers. Responding to the demand, she now sells children’s conductor hats, train whistles, scenic postcards and more.
“It’s important to see what your customers really want to buy, and then stock that,” she said.
Jamie’s Boutique opened in April, at a location just down the street from her current location. It grew quickly, and Jamie felt confident to buy a bigger building. She moved to her current location between the Burnet Antique Mall and Tea-Licious Tearoom, three weeks ago, and already has plans to expand stock to the upper floor of her building.
Jamie’s Boutique is located at 208 South Main, on the square in downtown Burnet. The store is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday – Friday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Jamie’s is closed Sunday and Monday.