by Kerry Andersen
It is the kind of airy, inviting boutique you pop into while on vacation in a lazy resort town.
Door propped open and white gauzy curtains blowing in the breeze against an interior that looks like it dropped right out of a hip Instagram post. Behind the counter, co-owners and arbiters of style Lauren Miller and Suzanne Johnson give off a cool girl vibe that is well earned. Many will remember Johnson and her creative merchandising sensibility for 505 Imports, a furniture store that scoured the world for unique pieces and brought them to Southwest Louisiana. That is where the dynamic duo began handcrafting jewelry and where Olive & Indigo was born. What started as a shop-in-shop concept in 2015 is now a full-fledged storefront expanding to include clothing, artisan gifts and more. The brick-and-mortar location opened in the summer of 2020 on the corner of Broad and Bilbo in downtown Lake Charles. Launching a business in any environment is challenging but the months after Olive & Indigo opened brought a pandemic and a pair of hurricanes. While they were fortunate to avoid severe storm damage, Johnson says “seeing devastation all around us was a lesson in gratitude, flexibility and putting customer needs first.” In response to those challenges, the boutique offers curbside pickup, local delivery, online shopping, and personalized design services.
Jewelry is the star at Olive & Indigo. Miller describes their collection as easy to wear with an artful global influence. “Custom stamping is popular. Choose a piece in your favorite metal and we will imprint it with your birthdate, zodiac sign, zip code or just about anything with personal meaning.” Add gemstones and a custom length chain for a one-of-a-kind look. Hammered disc earrings are another customer favorite along with initial charms made for stacking and hoop earrings of varying size and thickness. Everything goes together in an effortless way, either custom made in their studio or carefully sourced and unique to the market.
The owners chose a thoughtfully curated collection of goods to offer along with their jewelry. You will find gold embellished wine glasses hand painted by Lake Charles artist Cyndi Cagle ($18 each) displayed next to offerings from across the globe created by artisans looking for a better life. Everything here is curated with intention. That includes a selection of all-natural unisex bath and body products which fill the space with soothing scents like lavender, sage and rose (soaps from Los Poblanos Organic Farm are hand poured in New Mexico, $12). Explore their line of house blended essential oils, perfect for diffusing or spritzing, along with incense to create a vibe that matches the Olive & Indigo aesthetic.
In the back of the bright shop is an expanded dressing room filled with cozy seating. Says Suzanne, “Call us and we are happy to host a small group of your friends for an afternoon of shopping or a custom jewelry session. Or reach out for help building an easy, interchangeable wardrobe that cuts down on closet clutter and makes getting dressed less about stress and more about style and comfort.”
These are pieces (Grade & Gather Breezy V-Top, $48) with timeless silhouettes by brands using natural fabrics from companies run by women committed to social change. This is not just lip service – a portion of all boutique proceeds are donated to Women for Women International, an organization that provides support and vocational training to women in conflict zones. A line of sustainable leather goods from Able rounds out the offering of wardrobe essentials (natural black leather bucket bag, $148).
Olive & Indigo will participate in Artwalk on May 8 and Chuck Fest on October 16.
Olive & Indigo is located at 343 Broad St., Lake Charles. 337-513-7920. Open Tuesday 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., Wednesday – Friday 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Saturday 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.