Q&A: Shelley Sheerschmidt of Madisonbelle in Leesburg

Shelley Sheerschmidt, owner of Madisonbelle  

Shelley Sheerschmidt has been the owner of Madisonbelle since June 2017. The women's boutique clothing store in historic Leesburg on Loudoun Street carries clothing for all shapes and sizes – and price points. The Loudoun Times-Mirror paid a visit to the shop and spent time learning more about Scheerschmidt and her business. 

What are some fashion trends you are seeing this fall?

Animal prints, camouflage and tie dye. Prints are really strong. The best cut of a jean for most women is boot cut. Low rise is out. Mid- to high-rise is in. The best shapes for denim are straight, skinny, boot and flare. It is important to balance your hips.

Who is your target customer?

Women over 35 who are classic, but edgy. They are timeless, but want to portray other aspects of their personality. I've expanded the size range of the lines we carry to include women of all sizes and shapes. I did a market research study and asked our customers what they want to shop for, and we have altered our buying based on that information. People come in here for special outfits that are fun and unique, not necessarily to buy basics – except for jeans.

We have also lowered the price point and sought out other lines that can sit next to other more expensive pieces, such as $18 earrings to accessorize the outfit. There are a lot of good finds in here.

What is your background?

I have an MBA in finance and worked mostly for Verizon for 20 years. I'm an entrepreneur at heart and have had several side businesses. I'm good friends with Kim, who used to own the shop, and she asked me to buy the business from her but it wasn't the right time for me. The idea nagged at me, and when it became available again, I decided to go for it.

I don't have a background in retail but just try to be myself and help others love how they look – I think we do that here.

What is your styling program, and how does it work?

I wanted to offer styling services here – to serve as a style educator is my mission and goal. I am now a certified professional stylist. We offer monthly classes for $49 which is redeemable in merchandise afterward.

I try to help women understand their own personal style and to help women be intentional about how they look and what aspect of their personality they want to come forward.

Style is like an art – you need to consider the lines, shape, texture, color and proportion of how clothing fits. During a style session, I take body measurements and start from there to help my clients put forward their best attributes.

How do you help clients select the best colors for their skin tone?

I do a color analysis to help women see if they are warm or cool tone. We try to figure out their wow colors. Scale and texture are also important. A woman who is small or medium build would also want to make sure their accessories are to scale.

Neckline is also important to compliment face shape. I try to educate everyone so they can see it.

What events are you planning?

I love to do collaborative events with other merchants. I also enjoy customer appreciation events and jewelry trunk shows. I try to work with local artists and bring in vendors people love. We are hosting a style series focusing on color, texture, scale and how to accessorize on Nov. 12 at 6:30 p.m. here at the shop. You can learn how to pull your look together with finishing touches. The cost is $49 per person and we are offering 10 percent off all purchases that evening.

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