ROBERTSON MADISON: Find it yourself… come back with a friend!
Throughout the course of history there have been many great love affairs. The ill-fated Romeo and Juliet. Tristan and Isolde.King Edward VIII and Mrs. Wallis Simpson.
But perhaps there is no greater love affair than that of a woman and her passion for shoes. Beautiful shoes. Shoes with teetering high heels and shoes that are comfortable, yet stylish. Kicky ballet flats. Boots hand tooled in leather and boots fashioned of suede. Styles that hug the ankles and others that slither over the knees. Plain ones, practical ones, shoes that sparkle and glitter. No matter. It is, without question, a deep and unending passion that most women have with footwear.
Linda Palo knows this and knows it well. It’s why she has spent 30 years of her life in wholesale shoes, the last 20 in high end apparel and accessories to complete and complement the shoes. And at her boutique, Robertson Madison, at the very epicenter of the shoreline, Palo holds court daily, loving her passion of dressing women beautifully, toe to head.
Make no mistake, this is not one of those stories where the main character “just fell” into a career. Born and raised in New Haven, since childhood Palo was one-minded about beautiful clothes, beautiful shoes, and marrying the two to create a wonderful and unique look. “I went to school for fashion design and was always trying to piece things together to make something fresh, new, and beautiful.”
Initially Palo’s dream was to be a buyer, but she wound up working in virtually every sector of the fashion industry. She worked for 20 years in New York, never settling for anything less than the best names in the business. Nine West, Kenneth Cole, Express, Banana Republic…Linda Palo worked for them all. Furthering her education and experience she crossed the pond and for a time earned her chops as a wholesale representative in Europe.
And then a couple of years ago, according to Linda, “It all fell into place. I questioned whether I wanted to stay in New York or return to family and favorite places on the Connecticut shoreline.”
The choice was not a difficult one once Palo found the historic home at 69 Wall Street in Madison. “The very minute I walked through the door, I knew that this was it. The perfect place for me and for a lifestyle boutique.”
Little more than a year ago Palo opened Robertson Madison; and from the very first it has garnered attention, an instant and ultimately loyal customer base, and a reputation for stopping traffic on Wall Street.
But what about that name? Robertson Madison. Fashion mavens may be quick to guess that it is a marriage of Linda’s two favorite places to shop. The fabulously chic Robertson Boulevard in Los Angeles, where 75% of the stores are upscale clothing boutiques, attracting movie stars and the paparazzi who follow them; and Madison Avenue in New York, known from West 57th to 80th Street for having some of the most sophisticated shopping in the world.
Not only did Palo put the street names together, but along with it she put together some of the best high end names in fashion today from both the USA and Europe. First and foremost are those shoes. You drive down Wall Street and are immediately engaged by the display of boots on the front porch, enticing you to stop and see what’s in store. But this is most definitely not just a shoe boutique. Robertson Madison is accessories, it’s apparel, undergarments, jewelry, hats, fragrance, eyewear…everything a woman needs to create and ultimately complete her “look.” It is not just one style because it doesn’t appeal to just one kind of woman. Palo has wisely created her brand to reflect and embody “Everything that is luxurious. It is simplistic, but with an edge.”
No matter how many beautiful leather jackets, silk blouses, basic black shirts, and knitwear adorn racks, shelves, and cubbyholes, the conversation always seems to begin and end with the shoes. “You never have enough shoes,” Palo says matter-of-factly. “All my life I have always believed you can have one great black dress, but you need at least a dozen pairs of shoes to go with it.”
As if to underscore her statement Palo is all at once on her feet showing the craftsmanship behind Aquatalia all weather boots, Hunter boots, the ever-popular Frye boots, Mephisto ballet flats, gorgeous heels from Stuart Weitzman, and fashionable sandals.
While there are magnificent offerings from Europe, the majority of Robertson Madison’s apparel line is made in the USA. Washable knits by Chalet and Capote, denim from California sporting the names Genetic, Habitual and Cookie Johnson (Magic’s wife, who has her own line), and whimsical embroidered shirts by Language.
A well turned out woman needs well turned out accessories, and Robertson Madison does not ever disappoint its very loyal customer base. With “the best handbags and clutches” from Sandy Duftler (“she only sells to the very best boutiques”), hats with style and attitude, distinctive eyewear from Roberto Cavalli, and beautiful jewelry that serves as accent pieces to any outfit, Linda Palo knows what works…and is it ever working!
A frequent shopper named “Julie” stops in to find “just the right hat for the Alps”and to let Linda know that the boots she recently bought at Robertson Madison are being worn “everywhere with everything.” When Palo tells her she’s presently being interviewed by Ink Magazine, Julie blurts out unabashedly, “Linda’s the bomb! This whole thing works!”
“It” works because Linda Palo works. She knows how to buy for her customers and knows them by their first names; she eagerly and willingly encourages clients to bring in their outfits so she can help them both coordinate and find complementary pieces for new looks. Robertson Madison also offers complimentary alterations on all full priced items purchased because, as Palo wisely notes, “I know how to set myself apart, and free alterations is certainly of value.”
“Julie,” the loyal customer is not unusual, but quite typical of the store’s daily traffic. Palo’s customers love the boutique and love the way they’re treated. “I prefer people walking out and hugging me,” Linda says, obviously and deliciously pleased with herself.
And why not? Robertson Madison, though just over a year old, is a big hit on the shoreline. Its success seems to harken back to those early days of the young girl who
was always “trying to piece things together to make something fresh, new, and beautiful.”
That’s why every week there’s new merchandise to be found at Robertson Madison, fresh displays, and something to draw those much beloved customers through the door again and again. Palo calls it the “wow” factor. “They come in the first time themselves; but they almost always come back again, this time with a friend. So I always want to give them something new and fresh to talk about.”
It must be working. Because when it comes to Robertson Madison, people are most definitely talking.
Visit www.robertsonmadison.com or call them at (203) 421-6799
Better yet, stop by 69 Wall Street in downtown Madison. The shoes may bring you in the first time, but the “wow” will keep you coming back.