by Lauren Witonsky
Take a peek inside this vibrant boutique and you’ll be sure to find quelque chose de spécial (translation: “something special”). The shop is decorated wall to wall in the iconic patterns of Lilly Pulitzer and Vineyard Vines.
Nineteen years ago, Susanna Forjohn, current owner of Quelque Chose, introduced the Avenue to her preppy flair with a debut of unique women’s accessories.
Back in college, Forjohn had the advantage of working for her family’s stores in Chestnut Hill – the Wooden Train and Mes Enfant – during the busy holiday seasons. Later on when Forjohn was approached with the opportunity to open her own boutique next door, she knew at that point exactly what Chestnut Hill needed – a place for women’s accessories.
It began with the accessories. With limited space, Forjohn focused on women’s accessories and, eventually, men’s ties. In 1999, however, Quelque Chose moved to its current location at 8437 Germantown Ave., allowing the store to bring in women’s clothing.
Despite other boutiques opening up on the Avenue over the years, Quelque Chose continues to be known as the only place in Chestnut Hill that sells brands such as Lilly Pulitzer and Vineyard Vines.
“With most of my lines, especially clothing, it is nice to be the only store in a town to carry the brand,” Forjohn said. “A customer doesn’t want to walk up the Avenue and see the same items in every store.”
Forjohn has stayed committed to keeping her boutique filled with colorful clothing and accessories unique to the store. Matching monogram necklaces and earrings, tote bags made from recycled sailcloth, and – most popular this season – acrylic jewelry are just some of the colorful gems you’ll find inside Quelque Chose.
“Preppy, classic with a modern flair” is how Forjohn defines the style of her boutique’s clothing. And although the store attracts a large preppy crowd, you will always find all different types of customers, from children to adults, buzzing around the shop.
“You are never too young or too old to wear Lilly Pulitzer,” she said.
Although a lot has changed since Forjohn was a college student working at her family’s stores, she still experiences those incredibly busy holiday seasons.
December is the biggest time for the boutique, but May and June come in a close second. Girls at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy know that shopping for a graduation dress at Quelque Chose provides them with a service unique to this local boutique.
“We try to know who gets what dress,” Forjohn said, “so that there are not repeats at the same occasion.”
Earlier this year the notable fashion designer Lilly Pulitzer, known for her “tropical print shift dresses” died at the age of 81. Forjohn said that Pulitzer has always influenced her in a way.
“As a child, it was always a treat to go shopping in the Lilly store,” she said. “The bright colors when you walked in always made you feel cheerful.”
Forjohn sees her own store in this light, and hopes to carry on the Pulitzer tradition, bringing color to the lives of others.
In 2014, Quelque Chose will be celebrating its 20th anniversary. Forjohn wants customers to look forward to a revamped website where they can make an order directly online, along with an upcoming year of celebration.