Susan Hancock has a voice like honey and a smile that says even though she’s a woman of a certain age, she can create a lot of mischief. Her daughter, Elizabeth, is coltish, with long, chocolate tresses and expressive eyes. They’re gregarious, the kind of women you laugh with, the kind who make you feel like family—and want you to look like a million bucks.
Neither one of them ever figured on opening their own business, and definitely not together. Sure, Susan had been a volunteer at the Guild Shop and Elizabeth majored in consumer science and merchandizing at the University of Houston. And yes, they both love fashion. But a business?
3414 Eastside St.
“Mom had left as the executive director of Trees of Hope, and had talked to her girlfriends about going to market in Dallas and coming back, maybe doing some trunk shows around town, just emailing her friends to come out a couple of weekends a month.”
But the concept proved to be bigger than she imagined. The friends she’d originally planned to do the pop-up shops with dropped out of her venture and her husband, who’d allowed her to warehouse her inventory in his building on Eastside, told her she either needed to get the excess out – or, he’d happily build out a portion of the space for her as a shop.
“So she asked me, do you want to do this with me and I was originally like, 'No thanks! Work with my mother? Are you kidding?'”
But she was unhappy working the retail job she had, and the more she thought on it, the more she realized that the kinds of things she wanted to focus on—personal service, deciding what to sell—she’d be able to do if she partnered with Susan.
Fast forward nine years and their sleek boutique, Tres Chic, is the embodiment of two women who not only clearly adore each other but also making other women look great.
“It’s almost like therapy,” Susan says. “People will tell me things, that they’ve been feeling badly about themselves but they come in here, and we help them find something and they say, ‘You made me look and feel beautiful.’ Oh, I love that.”
The pair says their typical Tres Chic client is someone who loves color, who loves to look good and has an appreciation for whimsy. Both Susan and Elizabeth are consummate sales people, working with their guests to find not only the right size, but the right style and tone to fit a customer’s personality. From the 3 Sisters coats to the Desigual clothing line, the Salaam dresses and skirts, to the fashion earrings and sunglasses and shoes, their shop is an Aladdin’s cave of texture, color and style with prices that span the spectrum from steal to splurge.
“The store has really brought us closer together,” says Susan. She look at Elizabeth. “You’re the only one I want to shop with.”