Custom-made clothing has been coming out of the Paul Andre Boutique in the Historic West End for four years now. The boutique is in the business of creating custom designs. You will find custom suits, dresses, shoes, hats, and more. The pieces often integrate African fabric into the design.
Paul Andre, owner of the Paul Andre Boutique, has been making custom-made designs since he was a young boy growing up on the Ivory Coast of Africa. “At school everyone would wear the same uniform. They would come to me to design a custom uniform, and then they would take it to the tailor to make the design,” explained Andre. He now makes the designs from start to finish at his shop. “That is why they come to me. If it is something simple people can just go online in get it. If they want something that is just for them, something different, they come to me,” said Andre.
The small business located at 1814 Rozzelles Ferry Rd. has stayed in the area because of the desire to do business in the black community. “I set up shop in the Historic West End to build a relationship with the black community of Charlotte. I believe that Charlotte has a strong black community,” said Andre. He explained that working in the Beatties Ford Rd. and Rozzelles Ferry Rd. area has come with challenges but he is living on the faith of the changes he sees happening little by little. One major change is that more black people are coming to his boutique.
The combination of its West End location paired with a welcoming environment has attributed to the rise of black customers at the boutique. “I have customers come in and we sit down and talk. We talk about culture. We talk about everything,” said Andre. Creating this welcoming environment has gone beyond attracting customers, it has addressed a stereotype that Andre has encountered over the years. The stereotype that Africans don’t like to work with black people.
Andre is from the Ivory Coast of Africa and he chose to place his business in the heart of the black community in Charlotte. He has shown that the stereotype is not true. “That is one of the reasons I stay here. To help my people understand,” said Andre.
One customer at a time, he is changing minds about African and black business relations. He is also changing the way people see the area. By keeping his small business in the Historic West End he is helping to showcase that the area has a business district. His business gets foot traffic into the shop from a nearby medical center, word-of-mouth marketing, and Facebook posts. People are coming to shop for custom-made designs at the Paul Andre Boutique. Each customer he pulls in shows other future business owners that doing business in the Historic West End is viable.
Custom-made clothing at this boutique goes beyond fashion. Fashion has become a tool that builds cross-cultural relationships and serves as an example of economic development in the Historic West End. Visit the Paul Andre Boutique at 1814 Rozzelles Ferry Rd. to experience the welcoming atmosphere for yourself.