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On-Trend in Tosa
New Mode boutique adds chic designer collections to Milwaukee’s west side

Photos by Dan Bishop

December 2012

Owners Patrice and Paul Bouchard

Paul and Patrice Bouchard are no strangers to the fashion industry. Paul’s family owned retail stores in the Milwaukee area for more than 20 years, while Patrice spread her style wings working as a personal stylist at fashionista favs Henri Bendel and Nordstrom in Chicago. Now, the couple, who toasted 16 years of marriage last month and were most recently partners in a Chicago boutique, have turned their fashion focus to their very own backyard.

"Paul grew up in Wauwatosa, and we have raised our kids (Jack, 13, and Liv, 9) here, so it made perfect sense to build our business here," says Patrice Bouchard. "Our kids go to school a few blocks away from the store, which makes it much easier for our family."

The Bouchard’s posh brainchild, Mode, 9125 W. North Ave., is a contemporary women’s boutique that carries cult brands like AG Jeans, Ella Moss, Eva Franco, Frye, Hudson, Lucy, Sanctuary, Seven for All Mankind, Splendid, Susana Monaco and Ugg.

"Our tag line is your way, your style, your mark," says Bouchard. "We wanted to be able to grow and not limit ourselves to women’s only. We want it to be bigger than a boutique, and eventually open more locations."

For now, the couple is happy to cater to Milwaukee’s fashion-savvy shoppers, just a few steps from their home — and right next door to their favorite local java joint, Alterra.

"The location was vacant for years, and as neighbors of this part of Tosa, we always hoped something would fill the space," Bouchard says. "The Alterra customer is our demographic, and there is constant foot traffic. It helps that we now only have a two block commute!"



9125 W. North Ave./ Wauwatosa/(414)810-1137/

Q. You and your husband, Paul, own and operate Mode together; what makes the business partnership work?

A. "He is great behind the scenes. Paul is the one who puts it all together: site development, vendor negotiations, store fixtures, promotions and advertising. He is currently working on our e-commerce site. I’m focused on the buying, relationships, staff and sales. But don’t worry, you’ll see Paul once in a while behind the register."

Q. What prompted your expansion into the "tweens" market?

A. "Having a 9-year-old daughter, and the struggle we had to find age-appropriate clothes that we both agreed on. My daughter, Liv, has been lots of fun collaborating with on the buys for the Tweens Corner. It only seems fitting that this new part of the store is called "Liv’s Corner." We will be testing a lot of different brands, and trying to keep price points competitive."

Q. Who are your favorite designers? What fashions inspire you?

A. "Michael Kors, Stella McCartney, Susana Monaco and Calvin Klein. Fashions that inspire me are ones that make you feel good about yourself — and that’s different for everyone. I personally love mixing trendy pieces with classic. I love a great pair of pants or jeans with a classic tall heel, and something fun and trendy on top. Personally, if I had to pick a fashion era, it would be the ’70s — an updated ’70s look, but definitely inspired by the ’70s!"



This story ran in the December 2012 issue of: