The window displays first attracted me to Boutique Karma. I began parking at the “Raging Burrito lot” on Church Street to get to my office on the Decatur Square, and I couldn’t resist. I immediately loved the colorful clothes, dynamic accessories, and intriguing styles. Plus, after living in Chico’s clothes for a decade or so, I was open to something new.
The jackets came first. As always, I was attracted to the racks of natural fiber, relaxed fit jackets that can turn a pair of jeans and a tank top into an outfit. Easy to try on without making a commitment to the dressing room, jackets are my weakness. I once counted dozens in my closet when I was paring down to find space for new arrivals.
Soon, belts and jewelry were finding their way into my shopping bag as my new friend Jay began suggesting items that would add flair to an outfit.
Jay Mehta and his wife Raj opened Boutique Karma in 2003 after owning and operating stores at three locations in metro Atlanta.
They were attracted to Decatur because of the community and the mix of clientele. “I thought the people would appreciate the natural fiber and the styles that we feature,” he says. After eight years, business has been what they hoped for and more. “We get people not just from Decatur and from Atlanta, but from out of town too. I’ve watched Decatur grow from a small community to a place that attracts people from all over the world for events like the book festival,” Jay says.
Since the relocation of Cakes & Ale next door, Jay is considering adding staff and expanding hours to handle the additional business.
Jay moved to Atlanta from his native Mumbai, India, in 1981. He and Raj are the parents of triplets — boys who are freshmen in high school near their home in North Fulton County. They like Decatur so much they hope to move here after the boys finish high school.
Since I frequent the store weekdays, on my walks to and from my office, Jay is my main fashion consultant. Raj is there mostly on weekends after spending weekdays as a substitute special education teacher in the Decatur City Schools.
Unlike many trendy shops with cool clothes, items at Boutique Karma actually fit me. Yes, there are clothes for younger, thinner women. But those of us “of a certain age” can spruce up our wardrobes without sacrificing the mortgage payment.
And I love the service and attention to detail. I stop in “just to say hello,” and soon Jay is saying, “I just got something in I think you’ll like.” He keeps my taste in mind, pulls clothes that always fit and look good, and tactfully steers me away from unfortunate purchases. No, he doesn’t say, “those pants make your butt look fat,” but he politely offers suggestions with the words, “I think this would look better on you” when I’m about to make a purchase I’ll regret.
Now, when I get compliments on my clothes, 99 percent of the time the items came from Boutique Karma, and I’m quick to pass along the location.
As I tell my friends, “Stop in and see Jay and Raj. I know you’ll find something you’ll love.”
Location: 340 Church Street, Decatur, GA 30030
Store hours: Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.- 7 p.m. (6 p.m. in winter), Sunday 12:30-6 p.m.
Alice Murray is Strategic Marketing Consultant at Lenz, Inc. on East Court Square. A long-time Decatur resident, Alice is currently board president of the AJC Decatur Book Festival and previously served on the boards of the Empty Stocking Fund and Georgia Shakespeare.