Friends by Design
318 State St. | St. Joseph, MI 49085
The name “Friends by Design” has stuck with Susan Mason for 20 years. Strong friendships between women bloom with shared appreciation of clothes, accessories, and other expressions of personal style, so when Susan entered the retail world in early 2014 she aimed to create a place where these bonds could be cultivated and flourish. Friends by Design opened in March 2015, true to Susan’s long-term vision.
Susan describes herself as the “American Dream”. She retired early from corporate America, moved to St. Joseph, and opened a clothing boutique in the heart of downtown. Typical newcomer challenges came along with managing a State Street storefront, but Susan loves the change of pace. The small town and small boutique offers an opportunity to build lasting relationships with customers. Susan says most of her customers are repeat customers; as I’m in the store, Susan greets customers by name and pulls out things she has saved just for them. Even if they aren’t local, Susan maintains a connection with them. There’s lots of shipping! Susan laughs about the amount of shoeboxes she brings to the post office on Fridays.
The staff at Friends by Design echo Susan’s philosophies. They were customers first, and know the merchandise inside and out. Each staff member is able to connect with customers and help them find the items that will make them feel confident; they provide “honesty with caring”. It’s service like this that keeps customers coming back, whether they are locals year-round or just in for a visit.
Susan is committed to St. Joseph, and cultivating an experience that keeps people returning to the area. When a customer and bride-to-be came to Susan requesting a unique celebration for women in her life, Susan helped her create a party to celebrate those bonds. A few days before the wedding, Friends by Design hosted the bride-to-be and her circle, allowing clothes to do what they do so well- bring women together! Susan was happy to host a longtime customer, but more importantly, give the women space and tools to have an experience that will keep them coming back to St. Joseph after the wedding weekend.
Friends by Design stocks women’s clothing, accessories, shoes and more. They are open Sunday 12 - 5 pm, Monday 10 - 5 pm, Tuesday - Saturday 10 - 6 pm, and anytime by appointment. Visit Friends By Design's website, or like them on Facebook for special promotions. Come visit them at 318 State St!
Just a sample of what's inside Friends by Design; come see for yourself!