Anyone who knows Liz Shah understands that her sense of style is one of ease — visuals purposefully positioned and pleasing to the eye, offerings that are as unique as they are practical and a familiar face that welcomes the opportunity to make the buying experience well worth the visit.
Shah, a Wilton resident who is the new owner of Signature Style, is literally right at home. She has had an enduring relationship with retail — a passion that started in her teens and culminated in her position as J.McLaughlin’s regional director responsible for opening their brick-and-mortar stores all over the country.
She expanded her ease of living philosophy to interiors opening Liz Shah Home in 2020. But buying the Wilton Center mainstay store checked a lot of boxes for her.
“I always had an interest in my own shop and Signature Style is a reflection of my personal style. I jumped at the opportunity to be close to my family and work in an environment with attractive hours and a welcoming community,” Shah said.
She had support from near and far in solidifying her decision to purchase the store in February from prior owners Cara Calabrese and Janet Siegel, who were intimately involved in the due diligence and a transition plan. The step-by-step changeover included educating Shah on seasonal fulfillment orders and hands-on training for the store’s in-house engraving, monogramming and embroidering processes.
Shah was deeply committed to a smooth transition process and spoke often with original owner Ann Nash, who with Mary Logan, opened Signature Style’s in 2010. Although she moved out of state, Nash was extremely helpful and supportive in offering words of wisdom and continues to send encouraging messages to Shah.
What’s in Store?
As the third Wilton woman to own Signature Style, Shah is cognizant of the big shoes she needs to fill to continue the store’s legacy. She is committed to making the previous owners proud as well as evolving the store’s offerings and presence as a vital business in the Wilton community.
Shah’s interior design and visual merchandising expertise will stylistically materialize throughout the store’s physical appearance and curated item selections. Over the next few months, interior renovations and a mix of new and existing brands will appeal to both first-time and familiar customers.
“Every customer may already have an idea of want they want or be searching for a unique item. I want Signature Style to continue to be that store that’s easy and welcoming for people to pop into often for an enjoyable shopping experience,” Shah remarked.
To deliver on her vision, Shah will offer a more balanced mix of personalized orders and takeaway items. Higher stock levels will decrease wait times for in-store purchases and custom orders. And new merchandise will focus on year-round gifting opportunities.
“This is a store with legs and our services are endless. Not only can we create a customizable gift for a special occasion but we also do larger-scale orders for corporate, client and sports gifting. I was attracted to the various ways the store can partner with the community to personalize merchandise for organizations, local clubs, sports teams and events,” Shah said.
Sourcing is also a Signature service clients may not be aware of. Shah adds, “If there’s a special item that the store does not currently carry, we can work with a client to find it. A bride, for instance, may want straw hats for her wedding party. We can source these gifts and then personalize them in-house.”
New Brands To Complement Existing Offerings
Expanding the merchandise offerings is also an opportunity for customers to shop for themselves or someone else. Shah plans to expand the women’s apparel line with resort and vacation wear from local female-founded brands Marea and Dudley Stevens, and will add a men’s bathing suit line expand brand selections for babies and toddlers.
She’s keeping the fan-favorite Smathers & Branson needlepoint accessory brand that features high-quality collegiate keys fobs, wallets and credit card holders. Residents can look forward to their beloved ‘Wilton’ and ‘06897’ key fobs as in-stock go-to gifts.
Shah’s interior design aesthetics will reflect an expanded homegoods section with unique products including serving trays, drinkware, throws and candles. Jewelry brands always in demand will also continue to grow.
The Heart of Signature Style Endures
Shah believes delivering a welcoming, visually calming space only goes so far without the balance of a superior customer service experience. The familiar faces of team members Christine Buttling and Meaghan Donovan (who have been with the store since it first opened) and Jonnie Harvey (who joined five years ago) will all continue their valuable roles.
Shah feels particularly fortunate to have in place an active team that’s well-liked by everyone. “This team is the heart and soul of this store. They are highly skilled in their roles and I’ve witnessed first-hand their connection with customers. We offer unique gift items at varying price points and the team goes above and beyond to deliver exactly what customers are looking for in a timely and efficient manner.”
Shah will add her own individuality to this familiar mix of services. She plans to be very visible and integral to helping customers on the sales floor as well as opening the store’s doors to more exclusive shopping and community events where a portion of the proceeds goes back to an organization in need.
She is committed to giving back to a community that has always supported local businesses. “I am proud to be part of this legacy. This is a special shop that residents are happy to see stay here. I am here to keep Signature Style moving forward and keeping the store as an important part of Wilton.”
To check out new arrivals and current looks available at Signature Style, visit the store’s Instagram page.
Congratulations and best of luck with your new store!
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