Laura Vinroot-Poole founded her first Boutique: Capitol in Charlotte, North Carolina back in 1998. The Boutique quickly became a destination shopping and styling experience. She now has several stores including Poole Shop, menswear boutique Tabor and most recently has taken her winning formula to the Brentwood Country Mart in LA. You can find Wiggy Kit in both Poole Shop in Charlotte, North Carolina as well as Capitol in LA.
Laura Vinroot-Poole - Image courtesy of Capitol
Tell us why Charlotte is such a great city to live in?
I think Charlotte is a wonderful city to live in because of all the obvious things; beautiful, temperate weather, a canopy of centenarian oak trees blanketing the city, proximity to the mountains and the sea and a fantastic international airport...but I think that the real secret to Charlotte is that it is a community that comes together to create the city in which we all want to live. We support the arts and culture here, as well as supporting our most vulnerable so that they may be successful. It’s a very giving community and is open to anyone who is willing to be a part of making it better. I truly grew up believing that anything was possible and I still feel that way.
What prompted you to launch your first ever boutique Capitol and has it evolved much from your original vision?
I opened the store nearly 25 years ago because I was moving back home while my husband went to architecture school and there was no place to shop! All of my mother’s friends shopped in New York or Atlanta and I thought that it was strange for a city of our size - around a million people - to have to travel to shop. We were originally in a tiny 800 sq ft store that my husband and I built with our own hands and no budget and I was the only employee (until we were lucky enough to hire you:) - (Wiggy was in fact Laura's first ever employee) - and now we are several stores in North Carolina and California and employ around 30 people. My husband has designed all of the stores (and still does some minor construction projects when I ask nicely) but I’m not sure that I envisioned it like this so many years ago when I was 25 years old and making it up each day as I went along!
Capitol and Poole Shop in Charlotte, North Carolina - Image courtesy of Capitol
You are scrolling through Instagram….Name your favourite style icons of today: who do you most admire and why?
I love originals...Laura McClaw Helms @laurakitty who is not only a fashion historian and writer, but a knockout beauty and fashion lover;
Elizabeth von der Goltz @elizabethvdg who is the height of chic and also my dearest friend from boarding school and the new Chief Commercial Officer at Matches; my friend JJ Martin @jjmartinmilan for the gorgeous prints and the even better deep thoughts on meditation, meaning and beauty. I’m also obsessed with my friend, chef Pierre Toitou’s beautiful and delectable posts from his travels and also from his restaurants and own dinner table @ptt. @stevienickscocaine is my favourite spot for my daily dose of goddess that is Stevie Nicks.
In what way have you noticed that Covid has affected fashion as a whole and have you felt a change in your clients attitudes to what they wear and how they choose to dress now?
Definitely! I’ve really enjoyed the realness of it all...which I imagine sounds weird coming from someone working in fashion, but I have always just wanted my clients to love and enjoy their clothes. When there is nowhere to go and no one to impress but yourself, you make different choices. You choose the things that make you feel beautiful and I truly believe that confidence and being comfortable in your own skin are the most attractive qualities of all. One of the most interesting things has been that our bridal business has just SURGED...and I think that it is because micro weddings allow the brides and family of the brides and grooms to choose the pieces that make them feel like themselves, rather than what is “expected” of them. They are more intentional and want pieces that not only look beautiful but also feel luxurious. People seem so much more free and creative and it’s been really fun to collaborate in their processes.
You are well known to be at the forefront of fashion buying and have an instinctive and unique eye as well as a magpie-like attraction for joyous print and colour. Who is the woman you are buying for?
I have always bought for women who are confident and sure of themselves. I’m not for those who want to fade into the the corner of a party and I definitely don’t have “something for everyone” and I’m ok with that. My father was a politician and always impressed upon us that if everyone loves you, then you’re probably doing something wrong or not telling the truth about who you are and what you believe. I think that having a point of view is truly missing in retail today and is probably the biggest reason for the decline of department stores. We, as a team, are very clear about our point of view and I think that makes it easier for everyone to know where we stand.
Celebrating 20 years of Capitol - Image courtesy of Capitol
With 4 stores to run on both coasts, global buying trips to attend and a busy family life; share with us how you like to spend your downtime away from the business?
I am garden crazy and visit gardens as often as possible in my travels and when I’m home. Being in nature grounds me and reconnects me to myself and all that is important to me. I’ve also become a bit of a plant hoarder and I’m okay with that...even if my family isn’t!
In your experience, how might European women differ in their attitude to fashion and how they style their wardrobes in comparison to their American counterparts?
I think that European women are a lot more confident with a bit of imperfection and aging...they see the beauty in being more natural and real. Americans are a bit more “controlling” shall we say(?)
What do we need to see more of/less of in fashion?
More - self-confidence. Less - sharing every single thing with everyone...It’s not necessary to share every part of your body with the world, even if you work hard for it. A little mystery, please.
What are you looking forward to wearing this summer?
It’s really what I’m looking forward to NOT wearing...I can’t wait to be barefoot! I need very badly for the UK to open up for Americans so that I can make an appointment with Margaret Dabbs for my beloved quarterly medical pedicure...the last of which I enjoyed an entire year ago(!)
What is your favourite piece in this Spring Summer Wiggy Kit Collection?
I love everything in the collection and it is always such a delight to have you as the gorgeous model to show how the collection should be worn! My go-to every season is definitely the Market Dress because of its versatility and I choose a fresh new iteration each season.
The Market Dress - Laura's favourite Wiggy Kit piece
You have a beautiful and smart teenage daughter called Fifi - as a mother, how do you help her navigate her own personal style and how much influence do you have?
I think that the only smart thing I’ve done is stay out of it...I learned early on that if I shared my opinion then she invariably did the opposite. I have faith that she’s been exposed to enough beauty in her life that she’ll ultimately make good choices...or she won’t...and that will be fine because it’s her life.
Your husband Perry was responsible for the architectural design of your epically beautiful boutiques. How aligned are you stylistically and visually and how much do you collaborate together aesthetically on projects?
We are incredibly aligned with our vision and our aesthetics in business and in life. We are not, however, always very adept in our ability to communicate through all of our projects. It can be really hard to navigate personal and business and years of therapy still haven’t allowed me to handle it gracefully all the time. But we do keep trying...and we keep creating together...and we’ve been married pretty successfully for 25 years.
Laura and her family - Image courtesy of Laura Vinroot-Poole
What is on your Netflix watch list currently?
Mine is more of an Amazon Prime/Britbox list...I love watching Gardener’s World on the weekends (Monty Don is King) and I’ve spent much of the pandemic catching up on old classics like Vanity Fair, Madame Bovary, House of Eliott, and Father Brown. I also just signed up for Peacock, expressly for The Office (American version, sorry:)) I can probably recite every line of every episode, which is either very funny or quite depressing.
What is currently sitting on your nightstand?
Susanne Kaufmann hand cream, lavender and geranium essential oils, an obsidian gua sha stone, and a REALLY long book on the Welsh Princes of the 13th Century
Describe yourself in three words?
Optimistic, authentic, fearless
Imagine a world without Covid - where do you visit first?
I’d love to have a long walk across the Arno and then a warm candlelit supper of butter chicken, sautéed spinach and tiny Alpine strawberries at Sostanza, my favourite restaurant in Florence.
Trattoria Sostanza - Image courtesy of Laura Vinroot-Poole
Capitol & Poole Shop
4010 Sharon Road Charlotte, NC 28211
Monday - Saturday
10am - 5pm
225 26th St Suite 38A
Santa Monica, CA 90402
Monday – Saturday
10 am – 6 pm
Sunday 11 am – 5 pm