Stop Into Bop

Bop managers Mollie Milano and Kristin Hanefeld

Bop managers Mollie Milano and Kristin Hanefeld

Martha Busse

Bop’s storefront on West Gorham holds a little secret: its companion website is by far one of the deepest shopping sites that exists, it’s constantly referenced in the largest fashion magazines (InStyle, Lucky, Marie Claire), it’s the company’s only storefront (worldwide!) and they were bought by amazon.com in 2006. Oh, and they won Best of Madison this year for the first time.

Okay, maybe those facts aren’t under lock-and-key (after all, their BOM nod is on page 35), but what you might not know is that their vast website distribution warehouse (or, as I like to call it, Fashion Mecca) is located right here in town. That’s right, there’s an Anna Sui/J Brand/Juicy Couture/Diane von Furstenberg wonderland right here.

The brainchild of Bob Lamey, Martha Michelson and Ray Zemon, the storefront opened in 1999; the hugely popular website soon followed in 2000.
So what is the secret to bop’s resounding success?

“We came on to the scene at the right time—there wasn’t a lot of online shopping at that time,” says Mollie Milano, store manager and buyer. “We were something different. We’ve become a staple in the industry.”

The “contemporary designer boutique specializing in denim” serves a distinct clientele that’s different from shopbop.com. “We cater to people in Madison,” Milano explains. “We want to have things that people can wear to events, to work—we want to make sure everyone has things for them—from college kids to grandmas.”

That might mean a pair of curve-hugging jeans (J Brand, Hudson), a sexy cocktail dress (Elizabeth and James) or even a vintage-look Badger T-shirt. (The website carries lots more brands—about four hundred). Whatever the case, bop epitomizes the Madison woman’s sartorial needs (and wants).

Sounds like a Best of Madison winner to me.

Shayna Miller is associate/style editor at Madison Magazine.

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