Photos by Ryan Noltemeyer
With custom-dyed garments, hand-made jewelry and styles for every size and budget, Justin Keibler and Nathan Smothers manage to bring something new and different to Bardstown Road.
The eclectic streetscape of Bardstown Road has a quirky new landmark near the Grinstead intersection. BAZ and BEA — with their gigantic windows framing lifelike, exquisitely-styled mannequins— breathes a breath of fresh air and creativity into the famously diverse retail offerings.
“We love being here. And people have walked in and said thank you to us,” says co-owner Justin Keibler. It’s not just because their recent move from downtown, added the excitement of another locally-owned boutique to this lively street. It’s because the tiny, six-hundred-square-foot shop has a huge point of difference from most fashion retailers:
“We truly want to be a place where everyone can shop,” says Justin. “We have sizes extra small to three XL. We don’t want anyone to walk in here and think this store isn’t for them.”
Inclusiveness and artistic inspiration are everywhere you look: From the physically and racially diverse mannequins (“We thought it was important to find mannequins who reflected the diversity of our clientele”) to the spectrum of styles that range from flowy and bohemian to slinky and edgy… to accessories that range from hand-made wooden bangles to vintage-inspired hats. Many of the reasonably-priced wares are hand-made or hand-dyed by one of the co-owners, both of whom have backgrounds and educations in fine arts. “We never sleep,” jokes Justin. “We’ve created a studio in our home and we’re always in the middle of the next new project.” Justin makes striking hand-carved and hand-dyed wooden rings, bangle bracelets and necklaces. However, both custom-dye their core collection of dyeable pieces—including a fringe poncho, $68; step-hem tunic, $48; palazzo pants, $52; kimono jacket, $72; and their signature Ruana wrap, $54 which can be worn three or four different ways.
“What’s wonderful about our dyeables is that they’re truly one of a kind,” says Nathan. “And if you don’t see a color you like, we’ll create it. We have clients who keep coming back for the same pieces in new colors. People tend to get hooked on the idea.” The customization doesn’t stop there, the dynamic duo will also dye vintage pieces or wardrobe items that need a new life. “We saved a mother of the groom recently when she came in to have her cream lace dress dyed petal pink,” laughs Justin. “She said she couldn’t have gone to the wedding otherwise.”
Their personal touch is evident in their approach to customer service too. In addition to custom-dying clothes, they will custom-dye their wooden jewelry and custom-order clothes for clients as part of their free personal shopping services. “We will work with a client any way they want. We can do a full wardrobe consultation where we set goals for the year or we can help style and shop for special events,” says Justin. “We just want to make shopping easy and fun. We want every client to feel comfortable shopping here and to feel happy in her clothes.”
WHEN YOU GO
BAZ and BEA is located at 1433 Bardstown Road, 502-365-1029, and is open 11 AM to 8 PM Monday through Saturday, 12 to 5 PM on Sunday and closed on Monday. Go to bazandbea.com for more info.