3 SistersAs a self-made businesswoman and storeowner, Andrea Ploutis’ dream became a reality last month when she and her three daughters opened a new clothing boutique in Old Town.

“Finally my dream came true after 25 years,” Ploutis said. “I’ve always loved Old Town.”

3 Sisters caters to both moms and daughters and offers an array of designer labels on everything from jeans, bags, shoes and dresses. But one item in particular that’s been flying off the shelves since 3 Sisters opened is Vera Bradley bags. On Tuesday, Ploutis excitedly pointed out the dazzling rainbow of purses, wallets, umbrellas and overnight bags, to name just a few.

Ploutis, 56, immigrated to the states from Cyprus when she was 16. Her three daughters – Stella Koukides, Athina Kohilas and Stavroulla Kokkinis – are Virginia natives and while growing up, they helped their mother in her home décor store near Mount Vernon, which she opened 25 years ago. But on Saturdays the girls and Ploutis would make a special trip to their beloved Old Town to sell items at the market.

Along with her fashion sense, Ploutis and her three daughters also shared their mother’s dream of opening a boutique in Old Town.

“This is exciting,” Kokkinis said.

So far 3 Sisters, located at 213 King St., is a success.

Ploutis and Kokkinis said mothers and daughters browse the store together “all the time,” and there’s been a hearty stream of customers – especially on the weekends.

According to Ploutis, many mother-daughter pairs have come to 3 Sisters lately for graduation and prom dresses. And, of course dresses should be accessorized. For that, a favorite among moms has been the Chamilia beads.

Christine Einerson, a Temple University grad, visited 3 Sisters for the first time Tuesday and said she was “pleasantly surprised” to find owl rings and jewelry, as her alma mater’s mascot is the owl. Einerson said she thought she’d definitely find something for not only herself, but perhaps for a friend as well.

The boutique is two floors and currently showcases summery items like tunic tops, retro sunglasses, colorful sandals and flowy scarves. But the items won’t break the bank, Kokkinis explained.

“Our idea here is we wanted a store where mothers and daughters can shop together and not spend a fortune,” she said.

Kokkinis, her two sisters and their mother “always had fun shopping together,” so creating a store with clothing and accessories appropriate for women of all ages was a no-brainer.

Among the Vera Bradley bags at 3 Sisters, are shoes by Steve Madden and jewelry from designers like Brighton and Pandora, Ploutis said.

“We try to keep our prices very, very low,” Ploutis added.

Kokkinis said she and her sisters are the “merchandisers,” scouting for trendy items to bring back to Old Town and sell in their new boutique. She said there’s a majority-rules voting system between the three women to decide which pieces are sold at 3 Sisters. And, like the sign out front warns, “Danger Women Shopping,” the three sisters are fierce buyers, capitalizing on bargains and coming home with hand-picked items for every season.

http://oldtownalexandria.patch.com/groups/business-news/p/passion-for-fashion-evident-at-3-sisters-boutique

May 30, 2011