If you think the name Boliwalou sounds like a fantastical place in a Dr. Seuss book, you’re not far from the truth. It is a made-up word, inspired by the famous children’s author, but it’s not a place; it’s a philosophy, says Cris Thompson, owner of the Boliwalou resale shop in the Kings Contrivance Village Center.
“It means ‘to express yourself,’” says Thompson, a Columbia resident who gave up a career as a child and adolescent therapist to help women find themselves in a different way, through the power of clothes. Inside her green and purple painted shop, purple party beads hang from the ceiling, a festive nod to Thompson’s Brazilian roots. Most days, she plays Brazilian music in the background.
Jeans, sweaters, suits and dresses in a variety of sizes fill the shop. But Thompson is selective in what she’ll buy from a customer. The shop’s website lists acceptable designers such as DKNY, Abercrombie, Steve Madden and True Religion, as well as Hannah Andersen, Gap and Gymboree clothes for younger customers.
Boliwalou also plans to host local artisans of fashion accessories on a monthly basis.