LAS CRUCES – The Emerald Isle Boutique will celebrate its fortieth year in business in October. The boutique opened in 1981, with two sisters at the helm. Jeanette Smith and Louise Burchell started the business as a joint venture to fill a shopping void in the community. Originally offering a selection of lingerie, men’s & women’s loungewear, estate jewelry and antiques, the original goal of The Emerald Isle was to always offer something unique. In fact, the name signifies “an oasis of rare gems in the desert.”
While the product offerings of The Emerald Isle have evolved over time, their original goal of offering unique, quality products with exceptional customer service remains.
“We always knew that we needed to treat people the way we would want to be treated, with no exceptions,” said Louise. While their long-time residence in Mesilla has allowed for a certain amount of tourist-based traffic, the bulk of their business has come from long-time and local southern New Mexico and El Paso residents.
“It’s our special relationships we have been able to build with our customers over all these years that have driven our success,” added Louise.
From the archives:Emerald Isle celebrates 35 years of fashion in the Mesilla Valley
Despite Jeanette’s retirement in 2002, the business remains a family and women-owned business with Kelli Burchell, Louise’s daughter, at the helm with her.
“Becoming a partner was a matter of timing in our lives, and I haven’t looked back,” said Kelli. “Here I am nearly 20 years later!”
The mother-daughter duo believes that a second generation brings longevity and perspective. Louise appreciates Kelli’s fresh energy and ideas, while Kelli acknowledges that Louise’s experience and business savvy are irreplaceable.
“She’s not allowed to retire anytime soon,“ Kelli added with a chuckle. Both ladies are also grateful for long-time employee, Lupe Saiz.
Today, The Emerald Isle offers seasonal ladies’ clothing and accessories that are hand-picked by the mother-daughter team.
“We scour the markets to seek out the most exciting products to bring to our broad customer base,” said Louise. They keep their nearly 2,000-square-foot location stocked year-round with revolving merchandise made up of both globally-renowned brands and specialty boutique lines.
“We highly encourage stopping in often to get the best selection because our inventory changes daily!” exclaims Kelli.
According to Kelli & Louise, their main strengths are their ability to change, learn and grow.
“Status quo is not an option,” Kelli said. “The fashion industry moves fast, so we are always looking ahead. We realize that the needs of today’s woman are always changing and we believe that keeps The Emerald Isle Boutique relevant. We constantly ask ourselves how we can better service our expanding market, particularly in the age of a pandemic.”
The ladies believe it’s their duty as a small business to give back to their community. They have founded and sponsored multiple benefit fashion shows, including an annual Mother’s Day luncheon, which donates to a different nonprofit each year. They host an annual clothing donation drive, an annual toy drive and happily donate items for auction or raffle to local charity events. “We exist because of our community and will always help when we can,” said Louise.
The Emerald Isle plans to celebrate all month long, kicking off on Oct. 1, with their “First Friday Fashion Show,” a popular monthly event. Other giveaways and events are planned and will be announced via email and social media.
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