Owner Aimee Bracken looks back at Form's roots, where it's going, and how her experiences have helped shape a unique boutique.
Form first opened its doors in April of 2007 on the Avenue in Hampden. In search of an intimate studio-like setting, owner Aimee Bracken moved her boutique in 2010 to Clipper Mill, where she currently maintains a finely-edited stock of women's contemporary lines like DVF, Milly, Robert Rodriguez, and Shoshanna. The new location also allows her to continue to design and handcraft the Form jewelry line. Most recently Form added high-end consignment to the mix, giving customers the option of lightly or never-been worn designer pieces at lower price points including clothing, shoes, and accessories.
How did your company get started?
As long as I can remember, I have loved all aspects of fashion—design, illustration, seeing other people’s creations, and coming up with my own sketches. I opened Form in hopes of selling my own line as well as selling other designer’s pieces. Also, as a former art director, I wanted to fill a niche and sell to creative, professional women.
Were there any tough times you had to face during the process of opening your store?
Yes. I learned quickly that opening a boutique involved much more than just purchasing beautiful pieces to sell to fashion-adoring fans. Permits, licenses, negotiating a lease, and doing all the build-out in time for the opening was just a small portion of the process. Plus, being a mom of two made for quite the juggling act.
How has your experience as an art director helped you become successful in owning a boutique?
My knowledge in color theory has been helpful. So many women ask me “what color” should they wear with a certain colored top or pant, or what color shoes should they wear with a print. Also, I used to direct fashion shoots, which has helped me to handle clients of varying needs, and guide them in the right direction in a way that makes them feel comfortable in their own skin.
You offer many contemporary lines — what is your favorite line, and how does it portray the overall image of the shop?
It would have to be Diane von Furstenberg. Her longevity in the fashion industry has made her iconic. The pieces are sexy and forward without being overly trendy, and there is enough to choose from with her collection that I rarely struggle to find just the right tops and dresses for my clients.
Why the name Form? Form comes from two ideas. Form is a term in graphic design. A form is a press sheet that an art director looks at before the final piece is finished printing and drying. One gets to see the entire composition on the chosen paper before it gets delivered to the target market. This ties into bringing many collections together to represent the vision of the boutique. The second idea comes from fashion design. Fashion designers use a dress form for draping fabric to see how their concept translates onto the human form. Essentially, it is the two aspects of my love of graphic and fashion design merged into one.
What has been essential to the success of your store in past five years?
It would have to be guiding clients to hone in on their own personal style. I am always honest (in a constructive way) with them, and they respect me for the advice. Success comes in the form (no pun intended) of loyalty from my clients, who to this day, still come in on a regular basis.
Do you plan on adding any new lines to the store?
I recently brought in Tucker and Rachel Roy. It is tricky bringing in a new line because one never knows the reaction, but I like bringing fresh pieces to my clients. It is also important to remain true to my other lines because people expect consistency.
What is one style tip every girl should know?
Nude-colored heels go with everything!
One thing that is unique about your store is you carry high-end contemporary consignment, can you tell us a little more about this?
The consignment has allowed women who are on a tighter budget to afford great pieces. I was surprised at the success but can now see the appeal, especially when I get pieces in that have never been worn or were only worn once. When my customers want to splurge, they know that they can browse my new collections. It is an ideal combination.
So what’s next? What plans do you have in mind in the next 5 years for your boutique? Do you plan on expanding your boutique in the near future?
I like having a smaller more intimate setting, it allows me more one-on-one time with my clients. I would like to expand upon that aspect of my service and become a personal shopper and stylist to my clients. I have already done wardrobe consultations for some of them. My hope is to make over an entire wardrobe—one woman at a time!—Stephanie Voorhees, intern
(Images courtesy of Form.)