Ligne Roset Flax armchair, solid walnut back with upholstered seat and back cushion, $4,307; Ligne Roset Biplan wall shelf in matte grey lacquer, walnut, $632; Ligne Roset Dedicato square low table, $2,254; Ligne Roset Ploum medium high back sofa, $7,867; Flos Guns Table lamp, $2,095; Vitra Asterisk clock, $710, from Dwell Modern
Deanna Fitzmaurice always had a dream of opening a boutique — however, she ended up in the world of education, working as a teacher in Edmonton and raising her family in Sherwood Park. When she got divorced, she realized she wanted a big change in her life — and set her eyes on finally achieving her entrepreneurial goal. She spent five years running the adult program at Metro Continuing Education, gaining invaluable experience, then finally decided to open her store, Virtu Boutique.
What sparked your interest in fashion?
I was raised in a farming community, Valleyview, and one day, when I was 12 years old, my dad said, ‘why don’t you come with me to the grain elevator, I need to take a load of grain in.’ [Then] he took me shopping, it was probably a Saan store, and he bought me a pair of plaid baggies. I was the first person in my school to have them and it started this absolute mad passion. I went and got part-time jobs since I was 13 so I could just buy my own clothes. Growing up in a farming community, you really don’t have access to stores. The Eaton’s catalogue and Sears catalogue would come in, and it didn’t matter that I might never be able to get it. I would literally circle and try to mimic everything that I loved in it, so that was kind of my thing.
What does style mean to you?
I think it’s an expression of one of the many facets of our personality… We play all these different roles and put on all these different faces so for me, style is being able to walk on my own personal runway that day and feel good about myself.
Do you have any style rules?
I think that we have to have all of the basics in our wardrobe but we need to know that we are worth enough to splurge on that one piece. If I had a rule, it would be, if you fall in love with something and it makes you feel great, do it. Get it. Spoil yourself a little bit.
How did you decide on Beaumont for your boutique’s location?
I started looking at a few communities, Sherwood Park, St. Albert, and then I did some research on Beaumont and found out people from there really shopped locally, but it had only one boutique that catered to a younger demographic. So, I thought, there’s my market. I came out here when it was 40 below, there were three spaces for lease. I sat outside and watched traffic for an hour. I counted people, looked at what they wore, what they were buying, and they were stylish! And I ended up where I am now.
You travel a lot for buying trips — where do you like to go for fun? Do you have a favourite vacation spot?
Oh yes — Turkey. I love Turkey, I’ve been there twice. I went to Macchu Picchu a couple years ago and that is just ethereal, I cried when I went through the gates, it was just outstanding. Australia, I’ve been there a few times. My boyfriend and I went to Dubrovnik, Croatia; we went to Croatia and went from the top all the way down to the bottom and that was a blast. Now we’re trying to book Greece because I’ve never gone to Greece. I try to take a good trip every two years or so.
What’s been the best part of owning a boutique?
I think the most pleasant surprise for me is getting to know my customers. Every one of them has a story and every time that they come back it’s just so rewarding.
What are some of the trends to look for this spring?
Spring is crazy. Regular denim, I bought four pieces, and the rest of the jeans are painted, embroidered, bejewelled. They are so cool. Pattern on pants is absolutely insane — really bright and bold. There’s still the soft, feminine pieces… Embellished jean jackets, really fitted, are going to be back in again.
Vacation spot — Turkey
Designer/brand — Link
Restaurant — Chartier
Hobby — Gardening and reading
Guilty pleasure — Chocolate
Activities — Going to see Broadway plays and playing with my grandchildren
Movie — American Beauty
Fashion Era — The 1920s
Drink — Pinot Noir
Dish — Gourmet burger and hand-cut fries
Accessory — A great necklace