A Nicole Miller shipment came in and with excitement, Christine Hayward-Bailey quickly unpacks the dresses. She unwraps each dress, one by one. Being careful as she can and takes off the plastic bags. The bell rings as a few customers come in; within two seconds they rush to the counter to see the new dresses.
“How are you doing Janelle?” Hayward-Bailey asks as Janelle a customer walks through the dress section of the boutique.
“I’m doing good. Do you have any new Nicole Miller items?” responds Janelle.
The melody of a John Legend tune fills a European inspired boutique in the Cal Young neighborhood. Due Donne welcomes you with a fruity fragrance. To the left, hangs beautiful chic European clothing then to the right are a rack of fresh unpacked denim. In the back corner stands the owner, Hayward-Bailey with a sophisticated style. She wears a Three Dot tunic dress, a sleek leather black belt around her waist with black tights and black boots. She files the paper on the counter and unloads a pack a box of dresses from Spain.
Before arriving in Eugene, Ore. Hayward-Bailey spent 8 years over seas with her husband and daughter, Clarice.
Hayward-Bailey has lived in France, Spain, Israel and Finland. She finds that Italian fashion is her favorite type of fashion. “It’s more classic, still fashion forward, has longer lasting style and more subtle colors.”
About 20 years ago, Hayward-Bailey started her fashion career. She had her own fashion label in Italy and exported it to the United States, all down the west coast. They were tops, pants, and dresses. She compiled pieces from different small cottage industry designers. “Some pieces that were manufacturing there that didn’t have their own label, I would put together a collection. I would come over [United States] and showed shops like this one,” says Hayward-Bailey
As a part of the traveling, Hayward-Bailey got to show her line in shows in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Dallas. “You set up a booth and show what you’re selling,” added Hayward-Bailey.
She expressed that it became difficult because of the change in currency value. After 3 years, she left the business.
Hayward-Bailey moved to Eugene where her daughter was finishing up school at the University of Oregon. “I felt a need for a women’s fashion store here,” Hayward-Bailey shrugs. She considered it 9 years ago, but it was going to be too much for her to do it herself. 3 years later when her daughter graduated, the two women decided to do the business together.
“I wanted to try to bring some “city” into this town,” says Hayward-Bailey laughing. Hayward-Bailey brought classic European styles to Eugene and made sure that her customers were always up to date with fashion trends.
“We adapted with our customers. We get to know who our customers are so when you are buying you start to think ‘who am I buying for?’”Although certain lines can be a little too fashion forward for Eugene that she is constantly changing what lines to buy from. Hayward-Bailey adds that, “People in Eugene are in their own world when it comes to fashion. They like to stay in a comfort zone. Styles like bold, color blocking may be too much for Eugene.”
Nicole Wright, a local resident in Cal Young who is constantly up to date with the new items that Due Donne gets in everyday. “I call Chris [Hayward-Bailey] every morning asking if anything I would like came in, and she would be so honest with me. She has an eye for fashion and is a wonderful stylist,” says Wright.
Wright has been shopping at Due Donne for about 5 years now. She walks around the store like she knows exactly where everything is. She scans the rack, and sees something she likes, and then moves onto the next. As she flips through the Nicole Miller dresses, she turns and whispers, “Give Chris a year and you’ll see an influence of European fashion in Eugene.”
Hayward-Bailey and her daughter, Clarice is in the process of opening a shop in the Pearl district of Portland, Ore. “With more people, we can be a little more courageous in our buying,” says Hayward-Bailey as she turns down the volume of the music through the store. “We can be not only fashion forward but bring a European style to the city.”
Her advice to fashionistas that want to design their own line is talk to the people in the business, gather information, go to shows and actually talk to the designers. “There is not a book that tells you how to do everything. I ran into many things that I did not anticipate,” says Hayward-Bailey.
Due Donne has at least 1,000 customers in their email base. “We get new things in everyday!” adds Hayward-Bailey.
She gently slides her bar stool back a little bit to inch around the counter. She grabs the stack of clothes that she set aside for the Janelle. There were two gold Nicole Miller dresses, Vince Comuto leggings and a purple Three Dot long sleeve tunic to top of the stack. She heads over to the dressing room and hangs each outfit up, side by side so when Janelle walks in she can pick the ones that stand out to her.