November 1, 2022
At Thirty-One Jane boutique, a mother-daughter duo brings their love of New York style to Charlotte.
by Cathy Martin | photographs by Amy Kolo
One of the silver linings of the pandemic was that it allowed some families to spend unexpected time together. Charlotte native Eloise Hamilton Reeves was living in New York City and working for Bank of America in early 2020, when the world came to a screeching halt. “My husband and I came back to Charlotte during Covid just to kind of ride things out, and then ultimately decided we love it here and wanted to stay.”
Eloise and her mom, Susan Hamilton, began reminiscing about shopping trips to New York City they started taking 15 years ago, when Eloise was still in high school. They’d explore Canal Street and Century 21, looking for bargains and uncommon goods. “We really like the hunt — hunting for a new cool thing that no one’s ever heard of,” Eloise says.
“We were talking about how many people had moved to Charlotte and how big the city was getting — and how much it was changing,” Eloise adds. “And, we just noticed that there are not that many places to shop here, relative to the population.”
With a shared passion for discovering unique styles, they came up with an idea for a boutique that channeled the spirit and energy of New York City. With little retail experience, they discussed their idea with local stylists, retailers and friends. Then in 2021, Eloise quit her job with BofA and they began pursuing their plan in earnest.
Thirty-One Jane, their new boutique on Pecan Avenue where Plaza Midwood meets Chantilly, is named after a West Village building where Eloise lived for a couple of years. Susan lived there briefly, too, taking over Eloise’s lease after her daughter moved to another apartment.
“When we were coming up with the idea for the store, we knew we wanted to tie back somehow to New York City, because that’s the vibe and the energy that we wanted to bring to Charlotte,” Eloise says. “The thing that we shared, that we loved best in New York, was that Thirty-One Jane apartment.”
Concrete floors and exposed rafters lend an industrial vibe to the space, while warm accents and a comfortable seating area make customers feel at home.
“We wanted people to want to come in and feel like they were at someone’s apartment,” Susan says, gesturing to a needlepoint pillow made by her grandmother, one of several accessories she brought in to personalize the space. Kelley Vieregg of KVID Interior Design helped with details such as the millwork, dressing-room draperies and built-in shelving, where a small selection of accessories and home goods are displayed at the back of the store.
Since the boutique opened in September, Susan and Eloise are still figuring out who their customer is. “The brands that we carry really cater to a wide range,” Eloise says. Some items skew younger, like Anine Bing T-shirts and knitwear from California brand Staud, while dresses and separates from Proenza Schouler White Label have a broader appeal. “I feel like the silhouettes that we have could work with multiple different types of people,” Eloise says.
While Susan loves helping customers find their perfect fit, Eloise handles the operations side of the business. But when it comes to buying, more often than not the two are on the same page.
“I would say that we’re creative dressers, maybe a little bit on the conservative edge, because we want an elevated look for our woman,” Susan says.
“We’re a good team,” adds Eloise. SP
Thirty-One Jane is open Tuesday-Sunday at 908 Pecan Ave. You can shop online at thirtyonejane.com, and the store plans to offer same-day delivery in the near future.