When former president of Nine West shoes, Charlie Slaton, retired 23 years ago, he opened a small shoe boutique in Ponte Vedra Beach to keep from “getting bored.” He named the boutique Carla’s Shoes, after his daughter.
Today, Carla’s Shoes and Accessories continues to enjoy success in Sawgrass Village.
“We started as a basic shoe store,” Slaton said. “As we evolved, we added handbags, jewelry, belts and looked for more fashion lines that would fit with Carla and Carla’s customers.”
Now, Carla’s sells everything, but clothing.
“We’re able to focus on unique items that, if they were in a bigger store, they wouldn’t stand out,” Slaton said. He credited the evolution of Carla’s Shoes to his staff, most who have loyally worked at the boutique for well over a decade.
Joanne Wilkins started as the store manager more than 22 years ago. Now, she’s a partner with the Slatons. She firmly believes that building relationships with Carla’s customers is key. “That’s key because you can’t get that online,” she said. “It’s not a matter of handing them a box and walking away. We greet you, seat you, bring out suggestions, help style, make sure we have the right fit. You don’t get that personal experience anymore, so I think that really sets us apart.”