A hand-made success

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Downtown business is alive and well in Demopolis and Pamper Me Perfect is living proof.

The store, which is owned by Laura Clements, opened Oct. 28, 2005 and has built a strong customer base. Some come in because they are curious, some come based on word of mouth, but since the doors opened, more and more people have come to love the unique business.

The idea for Pamper Me Perfect sprang from a unique talent of Clements. She said she always had sensitive skin and as a result, began to make many of the products she now sells in her store. When she and her husband, Michael, were married and moved to Demopolis two years ago, he suggested she open a shop to display her goods. She eventually agreed and now owns one of downtown’s most treasured shops.

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Clements decided to take her husbands advice when she discovered there was no place to get the types of products she could offer in Demopolis.

“We don’t really have a place to do gift baskets that have a wide variety of things, so I ended up getting all the different types of gourmet foods and jelly beans so I could do all these nice baskets,” Clements said. “They have anything to help women pamper themselves. I have even done some for men.”

“Something for everyone” is probably the most accurate way to describe Clements shop. The store has a variety of skin products, as well as regular and sugar free candies and chocolates. As far as lotions and bath balms go, Clements said, of you can’t find the scent you want, she can make it for you.

The last four months, Michael said, have gone smoothly.

“It has been a pleasant surprise so far,” Michael said. “I had never really been in business before, but Laura had been doing this for a while. Nobody seemed to carry any of the products here.”

Some of Pamper Me Perfect’s products are easy on the eyes as well as the body. The store is decorated with outdoor art from her husband that is also for sale. She also said she is open to carrying local products such as pottery and baskets.

Pamper Me Perfects selection, Clements said, is all about helping people relax and enjoy life. In doing so, she said, people can live healthier lives.

“The number one killer of women today is heart disease and a lot of times they can have problems with stress,” Clements said. “A lot of times we don’t take the time to pamper ourselves and relax. I thought this would give people a chance to get some products and things you can’t get in a small town.”

Relieving stress and skin irritation are a large reason for her business, Clements said. It is not easy for people with skin disorders to find products to moisturize their skin, Clements said, but her massage oils are usually just what the doctor ordered.

“Those are really big because all they are is cocoa butter, shea butter and essential oils,” Clements said. “For people who have eczema and psoriasis that can’t use lotion because there is alcohol in them, they can use those to moisturize their skin.”

For small town businesses to survive in downtown areas major highways have bypassed, businesses must help businesses. Pamper Me Perfect is located next door to Napoleon’s Restaurant, which has been a favorable factor in building a customer base, Clements said. The restaurant even has a walkway straight into the store.

“We have a lot of people coming in from the restaurant to get truffles and things,” Clements said. “The traffic from the restaurants help and I am starting to get known.”

Sometimes, Michael said, people also stop by while waiting for to-go orders.

“It is a great place for people to go while they are waiting for lunch,” Michael said. “I think it turned out really well for both of them.”

The store has become popular enough for Clements to trade mark the name.

As the people of Demopolis get to know Clements, she has also gotten to know them and taken notes on their likes and dislikes. Often, when people call and tell her the name of one of her regular shoppers she can tell them what that person likes and make their shopping experience much easier.

During the Valentine’s holiday, Clements said, she was able to make life easier for many husbands hoping to find the perfect gift for their spouse. Making the shopping experience easy, Clements said, is something she always tries to do for her customers.

“I try to listen to people and write down what they like,” Clements said. “That way, when people call and ask what someone likes, you can just pull out the book and let them know.”

The building, which is located at 121 W. Washington St., has a lot of history. It was once a barbershop where people often gathered to swap stories and visit. Now, the store still serves as a place people can meet with friends and shop, only with a different service.

Despite all the interesting aspects of the store, Clements said, the purpose of her shop is simple.

“It’s just a neat little gift shop where you can come in and buy different things,” Clements said. “Most of my stuff is also reasonably priced.”

Pamper Me Perfect is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. The store is also open two Saturdays before each holiday.

For more information, call Clements at (334) 289-0076.