Coming up with a truly original store concept can be difficult. In order to devise something truly original, one must think a little bit differently. At least that’s what has been going through the mind of shop owner Lætitia Desroches. Lætitia is busy preparing for the opening of her new boutique, called Atlas Concept Store – a business that incorporates worldly flair with local sensibilities.
I first met Lætitia years ago, at Sweet_ness 7 Café. I ended up taking photo of the Buffalo Bills tattoo behind her ear, which I featured on Buffalo Rising. It was a chance meeting that was very fleeting. Little did I know that a decade later Lætitia would be back in the picture, but this time it wasn’t due to a tattoo, it was because she was opening a new shop.
Before I tell you about the shop, let me first tell you about Lætitia. Lætitia first moved to Buffalo from Bordeaux, France when she was young – her father landed a job at a local cheese company… how àpropos? After living in Buffalo for 14 years, she ended up leaving in 2009. First she went to Toronto to get a degree in Interior Design. Then she headed to Prague to get a BA in graphic design. Ultimately she moved to Paris, which is where she had a baby and opened up a shop of her own.
It was not long after the Paris bombings that Lætitia got a phone call from an old friend in Buffalo. That friend was none other than Sue “Frenchy” Cholewa, a longtime advocate for Amherst Street (Black Rock), who had been following her progress in the design world from afar. Frenchy told Lætitia that she was looking for a tenant for one of her buildings – 464 Amherst Street. “If it had been any other time, I probably would not have considered it,” Lætitia told me. “But after the Paris bombings, the city was just not the same. Except for my child, I was alone. My parents were living in India and my sister was living in Buffalo. I realized that I needed to make a move, and Buffalo was the logical choice. At the time, I wasn’t even sure if I could get back into the states because of my visa. Fortunately, when I contacted immigration they told me that I was all set. So I began to pack my things.”
In response to Frenchy’s call, Lætitia moved back to Buffalo this past December. “It took months to get my belongings,” said Lætitia. “It was very frustrating, but now I’ve settled in. I’m hosting a soft opening for Atlas Concept Store this Friday. I believe that Atlas Concept Store will be a good fit for Buffalo. Aside from selling fabrics from all over the world (thus the name ‘Atlas’, I will be making my own apparel. I will also be carrying handmade goods from different countries, from shopping bags made out of recycled newspaper to organic candles. I have set up the shop to look like a home, so that people can see how everything is supposed to look. Everything that I carry is all natural – I’m conscious about everything that I purchase. As for the original works that I am sewing, there will be pillow covers, pie carriers (very original), hair bow clutches, etc. I will also stock last year’s leathers and fabrics from Gucci and Chanel – these are the discarded fabrics from their popular lines that I will be upcycling and creating embroidered shirts, dresses and other clothing and accessories. It will all be very personalized. I will have a sewing station at the shop where I can work on custom orders, or work on my own creations.”
Come explore the different handmade goodies from fabrics around the world, as well as jewelry hand made in Paris, handmade greeting cards from India, hand embroidered t-shirts…
This is a great day for Amherst Street. Another quality shop will soon be opening its doors, and when it does, all of Lætitia’s visions from her studies and travels will be coming into play.
Be sure to attend the opening of the shop this Friday, August 25, from 5pm to 10pm. See Facebook event.