Photography: Michelle Drewes
Stylish entrepreneur Susan Pitcher is a native New Yorker who brought her thorough knowledge of the fashion industry to an array of very fortunate West Coast clients.
Extraordinarily well-versed in the latest trends, collections, and designers, Susan opened two fashion-forward boutiques—cleverly named “dressed” and “ready”—in Santa Barbara, California. We recently caught up with the brilliant business owner to learn a bit about how she turned her sartorial visions into a successful reality!
From left: Owner Susan Pitcher with her social media guru Samantha Hutchinson (she Samantha’s home tour here)
Tell us about your boutiques. When did they open?
dressed and ready are two boutiques that provide stylish shoppers with the epitome of modern, sophisticated fashion by offering the most desirable and exclusive collections—like Celine, Givenchy, Proenza Schouler, Acne, and more. I opened dressed in 2003 and ready in 2005.
What inspired you to open your own boutiques?
I grew up in New York City surrounded by fashion. I have worked a variety of jobs in the fashion industry—from selling at a retail level; to opening, buying, and building retail stores for other retailers; to marketing new brands. After moving to the West Coast, I opened a retail store for a Santa Barbara retailer and spent the first year buying, managing, and building the success of the store. Then I had my first son. Once he was old enough, I worked as a personal stylist for several years. While doing this, I saw the need for the vision I had for a retail store in Santa Barbara. My clients and friends kept encouraging me to open my own store. When my older son was thirteen, he biked across America with six other people. It was then that I realized he was now ready for me to take the personal leap and open up my store.
“We love this updated Paraty bag—it’s edgy but still has that iconic Chloé look.”
Does living in Santa Barbara influence the style or design of your stores?
Yes, it definitely does. Santa Barbara is an extraordinarily beautiful and evolved little city. When people move here, they’re making a lifestyle choice inspired by the beauty and creative spirit of our town. There is a very casual yet luxurious sense to Santa Barbara which is reflected in both stores. ready embodies an easy, beachy, street-wear vibe while dressed has a more sophisticated look. dressed carries inspired designer collections that we believe meet the beauty, creativity, and lifestyle needs of Santa Barbara and other sophisticated shoppers that visit Montecito. Both stores are filled with paintings by my husband Hank Pitcher, a well-known artist who grew up surfing and painting the lifestyle and landscape of California. His paintings add a personal touch and vision to both of my stores.
What are the biggest challenges of owning your own boutiques? Rewards?
As a New Yorker who grew up with a mother in the fashion industry, working hard and passionately is in my blood, so that part is not my challenge. But this business has a big appetite. The exciting demands of the ever-evolving fashion world and the international travel involved impede my ability to spend as much time with my husband and two sons as I wish I could. I love being with them!
There are 3 rewards I’d love to share:
1. What’s not to love about our amazing clients? They’re smart, active, generous, modern, open-minded, and beautiful!
2. I like teamwork when the team is made up of smart, talented, creative people who are all working together toward a shared goal. This is what retail is, and I love this part of it!
3. I delight in being surrounded by inspiration! I grew up going to museums every Sunday with my parents and sisters. Now, when I sit in showrooms previewing collections, I feel as though I am in a museum again. I watch and begin to comprehend the ideas behind each designer’s new collections—shown on beautiful models exquisitely gliding through the showrooms clad in the season’s new offerings. The theatre and the beauty can be breathtaking!