Think of makeup and beauty and names like Sephora and Ulta come to mind automatically. Think of great customer service, unique products, and warm smiles and Houppette comes to mind. Located in Wilmington, Delaware, Houppette is an exceptional little boutique full of cosmetics that will make any woman feel beautiful and natural. We were invited to visit Houppette this past month and had the pleasure of interviewing the store manager, Lizzie, for the story of Houppette and some awesome makeup trends!
Femme & Fortune: Give us a little background on Houppette!
Elizabeth Johnson: The owner, Christie Mille, opened the store in 2001. The name was given by a New York fashion designer friend of hers from France. He said, “you have to name it Houppette! Houppette would be perfect, it means powder puff.” Christie has always been into makeup and wanted to bring a piece of New York and pieces of her favorite things to Wilmington when she moved here with her husband.
Femme & Fortune: What make up brands do you carry here at Houppette?
Elizabeth Johnson: Our brands have always included Laura Mercier, primarily. Recently, we’ve added Hour Glass, Kevin Aucoin and Too Faced for an emerging younger clientele.
Femme & Fortune: What do you love most about being a neighborhood store versus being inside a department store?
Elizabeth Johnson: A lot of our clients have daughters that are starting to enter that stage where they’re interested in makeup. What’s kind of cool about being a neighborhood store and working with people one-on-one is getting to know our clients and their values. We respect that about them and they trust us to teach their daughters about their first makeup lesson. They know that we are here to educate their daughters and not give them bad make up practices for the sake of making a sale.
Femme & Fortune: Does Houpette have a lot of regular clientele?
Elizabeth Johnson: Absolutely. Our regulars are actually the bulk of our clientele. We do get excited whenever we get new people because it doesn’t happen too often since we are definitely a neighborhood store.
Femme & Fortune: As far as beauty trends, what do you foresee happening or making a return in the near future?
Elizabeth Johnson: We’re definitely seeing a lot of polarization in the makeup world. It could either be dark and sexy or light and natural. Laura Mercier has taken the dark and sexy route this time. Her new line, Dark Spell, is very much a smokey eye, light lip, a gold tone complexion and lots of highlights. It really is very beautiful and kind of mysterious. And on the flip side, we are seeing a lot of nude make up as well. We’re definitely seeing lots of neutrals with a layer of sheen.
Elizabeth Johnson: It would be really cool and we’ve thought about it. We have no existing plans right now and the reason for that is we’ve got to figure out how we can duplicate the special neighborhood experience and culture at a second location. Our biggest point of difference is that we know you and we’ve worked with you for a while. We respect you, what you want and we’re not just trying to sell you the latest thing because it’s the latest thing. Also, we are specially trained. Our staff has in depth training with every makeup brand we carry. Because the size of our environment is pretty small, we are able to be experts for every single line we have which is another major point of difference for us. Having a second location would require the difficult process of extensive training and looking for the right people to carry on the Houppette reputation in a satellite location.
Femme & Fortune: Who are some of you favorite celebrities?
Elizabeth Johnson: I think that Gwyneth Paltrow always looks incredible. She always rocks a natural look. On another note, I think Mila Kunis is just gorgeous and I’ve never seen Halle Berry looking anything but perfect.
Femme & Fortune: What are some tips that you have for summer makeup?
Elizabeth Johnson: First thing’s first, in order for makeup to look good, your skin needs to be good. Skin care is really important all year round but especially in the summer and winter. In the summer I would recommend a cleanser that is a little more aggressive to really get the dust and sweat off of your face. I also highly recommend using a sunscreen because it prevents your face from drying out and dry skin isn’t very accepting of makeup. And as far as applying the makeup, a primer is a must. We currently have Laura Mercier’s Caviar Stick which is fantastic if you need to have your make up for long hours at a time.
Femme & Fortune: If you could recommend 1 item in Houppette what would it be?
Elizabeth Johnson: My favorite item in this store would have to be Diamond Extreme by Natura Bissé. This product I would say is a life changer to say the least. It hydrates, reenergizes and helps the skin perform like younger skin.
Femme & Fortune: Do you provide a makeup service in the store and if so do you need to book an appointment?
Elizabeth Johnson: Yes! We do makeup consultations and professional application. We do recommend that you book an appointment because we are a small store. We pride ourselves in giving you the best service and we want to make sure we can give you that in the hour that you booked. Once you are here, we’re yours.
Big thanks to Liz and the staff at Houppette for having us! To get more of Houppette, follow them on Twitter and like them on Facebook, and definitely visit their beautiful boutique at 3842 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, DE 19807.
Photos via Melissa Alam