Stay Local and Indulge at Compendium Boutique

Compendium Boutique

Rating: 4.5 out of 5
23 S Chester Road
Swarthmore, PA 19081

Compendium Boutique is a co-op which offers a variety of clothing and accessories for women and children from up-and-coming designers. It is unique in that it has brands from around the US and around the globe as well as handmade products.

When I first stepped into Compendium Boutique it was hard to describe exactly how I felt. I didn’t really expect anything, and I had low expectations. It was like walking into a beautifully curated gallery and being surprised with what you see before you. Everything was presented in a simple and wonderful manner. I mind-smiled as I tried to hide the joy of finally finding my victim of those days in which the only thing your poor worked-out brain needs is to be in a peaceful environment, surrounded by gorgeous wear, of course.

As much as I would like to stick to the idea that you could never have the chance to get that dress that can blow you away, the shoes that will cause you to be showered in compliments, or even feel good about shopping at a place with a cause in a small town like Swarthmore, I am going to need to let it go.

The idea behind Compendium is awesome. All of the boutique’s merchandise is from independent and emerging designers and made in the USA. Furthermore, it functions as a co-op in which designers are able to reach out to new customers by creating a space where they may join together and split the costs of a storefront. I am beyond confident that a majority of Swatties would agree that this idea is right up our alley.

What impressed me the most is the list of diverse designers Compendium offers. Among them are Kate Blossom from Davis, California, Mariel Rojo from Philadelphia, and Simone’s Rose from Toronto, Canada. The boutique is even the only store in the USA that sells Maureen, a brand originally from Paris. Moreover, some of brands sold here include handmade merchandise from those like Small Designers. Big Dreams.

Compendium also does just what it claims to do: introduce you to amazing designers you may have never heard of before and will fall in love with, and trust me, you will fall in love. I am sure that everyone has had that moment when you are moving from one class to the other during early fall, and you notice that five other people just on your three minute long stroll from Kohlberg to the Science Center are wearing a very similar faded green utilitarian jacket that you got from Urban Outfitters. It’s okay. Things are about to make a change for the better.

Most of the merchandise appeals more to someone with a chic, bold and polished style, yet any item alone would be a great addition to anyone’s wardrobe. It offers a great selection which may appeal to a range of customers looking for something casual, such as printed pants, or something for a special date, like a cute sundress or edgy high-low shirt. The store is kept up-to-date and seems to be willing to move in the direction of its customers.

Although some items are pricy, they are worth the cost. Tops and some dresses start at a thirty to fifty dollar range. If you are looking for discounted items, there are a couple of sale racks which offer a twenty percent discount. Do not be surprised if you run into items priced eighty to a hundred dollars, though. The handmade items tend to be the most expensive since they require much care for their creation. Nevertheless, if you are looking to splurge, Compendium also offers high-end brands such as Theory and Joie.

By far, the jewelry is reasonably priced. Even though most of it is hand-made, the prices are about ten to fifteen dollars on average, which is approximately the same price you would spend on a necklace or bracelet that everyone else has. The shoe selection is very small but offers basics that could work with any outfit, and there are also a few clutches and pouches that can be great for everyday.

During my trip, I had the opportunity to meet with boutique owner Emily Scott. Scott is currently extending an invitation to Swatties who would like to display their artwork on the boutique’s walls. As for future plans, Scott hopes to host trunk shows and get involved with more local designers.

I know for sure that I will be making frequent trips to Compendium and am thrilled to see what this small boutique will add to the Swarthmore community.

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