Stylish People: Michele Gudmundson & Wesley Uthus

Say hello to Michele Gudmundson & Wesley Uthus, the sharp + stylish brains behind Primp Boutique, the "cheap chic" Twin Cities boutique chain we all know and love. With four stores in the metro area (and a fifth Excelsior store to come!), Primp has quickly made itself the one-stop multi-neighborhood shop for ladies looking to find on-trend clothing at affordable prices. We had the opportunity to interview these lovely ladies' and hear about their success story as shop starters. Enjoy!


Tell us a little bit about the philosophy of your business?

We are a cheap-chic boutique, meaning we fill our stores with fashion forward clothing, shoes and accessories at an affordable price.  “Affordable” means something different to everyone but to us it means everything is under $100 {but most things are under $50}.  We feel strongly that price should not compromise customer experience, so despite our cheap price point, our boutiques are clean, bright and chic.  Our lovely stylists are up to date on the latest trends and are aways available to help you find the perfect ensemble.

Most importantly, we believe shopping should be fun and stress-free.  So come on in and our stylists will provide you with a glass of wine, options that have yet to hit the sales floor, and an honest opinion on what looks best!  Most importantly,  if you’re not shopping alone, all of our locations are dog-friendly and we provide comfy chairs and craft beer for male companions.

How did the two of you decide to collaborate?

We were introduced through a mutual friend that knew we had both studied apparel design in undergrad. We hit it off instantly and started designing custom handbags together. It was on a sales trip to Duluth that we came up with the concept of PRIMP. After a few hours in the car we had a name, concept and theme nailed down. Three months later we signed a lease for our Selby store...and the rest was history!


Where do you go for inspiration?

In order to maintain our fast turnover and the most fashion forward pieces, we travel frequently to Los Angeles and New York City.  Often times we leave feeling so inspired by the people and trends- not only for our merchandise but also for PRIMP as a whole.  We are also extremely inspired by our customers and stylists. Hearing about their wants and needs for the upcoming season or the functionality of a garment makes us not only better buyers but adaptable designers for our Henry + Martin line.

You started your own line, Henry + Martin.  Tell us a little more about it.

Henry + Martin, our maiden names, is a casual chic line we created in 2013. Our goal was to create a line of basics that could be dressed up or down all the while still priced reasonably. Rouched knit dresses, loosely draped tops and long maxi dresses are just a few garments that encapsulate our collection, all of which retail for under $50 and are manufactured in the United States.


Where do you see your shop in 5 years?

We’ve been overwhelmed by the customer response to PRIMP and as long as that continues we will continue to grow our business!  We’re excited about expanding through additional boutique locations and online.


What have you learned about yourselves and business, thus far?

We have learned so much in the past 4 years of PRIMP, it’s hard to narrow it down!  But it’s pretty safe to say among the most important things we’ve learned, being frugal tops the list.  We started PRIMP on a dime because we had to, but looking back we wouldn't have changed a thing. It's because of our thrifty beginnings that we have been fortunate enough to maintain our business debt-free since then.

A close second on that list is to always listen to the customer.  We’ve had a lot of ideas over the years and some have been good and other have been bad.  It’s disappointing when the customer doesn’t love what we love but it’s not worth pursuing it if it just doesn't work.  Rather than wasting time and money we let it go and move on to the next idea!  It makes ideas that do work so much more rewarding and inspiring!

When you are not working, what are some of your favorite twin cities hangouts?

Our studio warehouse space is in Northeast so we find ourselves frequenting the restaurants and coffee shops in that area: SPYHOUSE is one we are in all too often!  We also love supporting the local eateries near our boutiques.  Rojo, Town Hall, Muddy Pig, Lago Tacos and Washington Square are just a few of our favorites!