Style Stud: Elena Brennan, Owner of BUS STOP

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 2.33.35 PMI have a few secret hiding spots in the city where I go for peace and serenity, or when I’m sad and need to buy myself a lil something somethin. And since I share pretty much everything with you people, I will let you in on one of my favorite places … BUS STOP Boutique in Queen Village.

You know me … I love out of the box fashion, and BUS STOP’s shoes are just that. There’s just something special about them.

And Philly wouldn’t have access to such glorious shoes if it wasn’t for BUS STOP owner, Elena Brennan. Why yes, getting to oogle the shoes ain’t too shabby, but getting to chat with Elena is a even better. She is so cultured, stylish, and personable that I just HAD to make her my Style Stud this week.

So go … take over one of my happy places in the city, and in the meantime, get to know Elena…

What would you say are your favorite shoes of all-time? My absolute favourite shoes of all-time are from two designers: Coclico, and Marcello Toshi

What did the beginning of your career look like? My background is advertising and marketing, a career I had for 27+ years, which started in London and spilled into Philly. I was ready for a career change after I moved to Philly, so I decided to open my very own shoe boutique (partly to satisfy my own craving) and to fill a need, as women in Philly have very few options for “good” shoe shopping.

In your opinion, where do you think is Philly’s most interesting/stylish neighborhood? I would say Queen Village is one of the most interesting and stylish neighborhoods, as I’ve seen so many brilliant changes since I first opened. My boutique is on historic Fabric Row in Queen Village. The street was famous for fabric shopping, but the street has evolved, mixing the old with the new. I like the eclectic mix. I love to shop local and I can buy anything from jewelry, to vintage finds, gifts, clothes, and books right on my doorstep. I do love Fishtown, too. It has a different feel (more gritty), but that’s what I love about Philly, every neighborhood has its own essence.

What is a signature part of your every day style? Building my wardrobe from my feet up and lots of accessories. I love jewelry, especially rings, and let’s not forget a statement handbag.

BUS STOP is such a stylish and interesting place to walk through. What inspired the design? I would say I was inspired by the art galleries in Manhattan. The shoes are treated like works of art, but with a reasonable price tag, and are showcased to spotlight the unique features of each shoe so they pop on the shoe gallery shelves.

Of course, I’ve also added my own personal touches with a few of my favourite bits and pieces from London, such as my random array of English tea cups and my book collection, which I could have sold over and over again to my customers who think they’re for sale.

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I adored the collection you did with Bela Shehu. Is there another collab in the works? The collaboration with Bela Shehu of NINObrand is launching early spring. Last year, I reached out to Bela to see if she was interested in designing one of the oxfords from the new collection launching this spring, and voila that’s how it happened. BUS STOP designed twelve and NINObrand one. I think you will love all 13 variations of the exclusive BusStopX oxford. I always to love to collaborate… you never know what’s next.

How do you feel about Ugg boots … be honestTo be brutally honest, I do not like Ugg boots at all!

What shoe should every girl in Philly be wearing in the spring? Why, a pair of BusStopX oxfords, of course! The collection is launching March 2016 and is a follow-up to my Classic capsule collection, which I launched last spring.

Favorite place to shop in Philly (besides BUS STOP)? Oh that’s a hard question as there are many places I love to shop, but here are a few of my faves – Sugarcube, Moon + Arrow, and NINObrand.

As a small successful business owner, what are 3 pieces of advice you can give? Have strong branding, stay true to your mission, be dedicated and focused. When facing any issues, “sleep on it.” That’s my mantra so you don’t rush into making the wrong decisions. As important as it is to sell a good product, excellent customer service goes a long.

What’s next for BUS STOPLast spring, I launched my signature classic shoe collection of 12 oxfords in collaboration with All Black Footwear. The BUS STOP x All Black collection was my first ever shoe design. The shoes were named after Hollywood icon starlets and the campaign was, “Which Girl Are You?” This spring, I’m launching my second shoe collection, which is very exciting, so stay tuned for the launch in March.

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Style Stud: Bus Stop Boutique

logoAs a tall gal, it has taken me a VERY long time to embrace sky high heels. I would always admire them from the sidelines. Maybe purchase them and just gaze longingly at them in a glass case. But only recently did I rock them with zero fucks given.

But even if you don’t care, standing next to a 5 foot girl, as a 5’9 girl wearing 4 inch heels .. is super awkward. I end up resembling Gigantor and in an effort to make fun of myself before anyone else has the opportunity to, I will stomp around making growling noises (I’m normal, I swear).

My dream has been for there to be a middle ground between amazing stilettos and kitten heels, so I can still feel like I’m wearing big girl heels, but not looking like the damn Jolly Green Giant whilst standing next to my teeny tiny friends. But alas, none can be found, unless you like Easy Spirits … which no … just … no.

Enter Bus Stop Boutique, stage right. We fell in love on Instagram (I feel like I should make up a song about this), when I saw my fantastic friend Sarah (yes I spoke about this earlier this week), rocking a fierce pair of heels that I needed to have. I made her take me to this mystical place where I knew there was just something special about the shoes.

If you live in Philly, congrats, now go to Bus Stop Boutique immediately. If you are looking for a cool pair of shoes, something out of the ordinary and want ace customer service by the lovely Elena (owner of Bus Stop Boutique), bring it on down to Queen Village.

But in all honesty, the reason why I fell head over heels (no pun intended) for this boutique is because it catered to the tall girl. Yes, they have stilettos and insanely cute flats, but they also have the rare and illusive mid-size heel … aka a tall girl’s dream. You can still strut and be sexy, but not turn into a sky high beast.

I would like to thank Bus Stop for treating my tootsies like a queen and for hooking me up with a pair of heels that make my feet feel completely and utterly fancy. Sometimes we need an extra special pair of shoes to get us from A to B … and this is the spot to get um, ladies.

Now indulge with me over just a few pairs of shoes I’m drooling over for fall …