Many first-time visitors to Ladidaa boutique wonder the same thing: How are they just now discovering this vibrant, whimsical shop in the heart of downtown Biloxi?
“I still have locals come in and say, ‘How long have you been here?” says owner Windy Stanton. “And when I tell them three years, they are surprised.”
When Ladidaa opened in 2019, in a redevelopment zone on Howard Avenue, its location raised some doubts. But Stanton saw the potential in the Schooner building storefront, falling in love with its dramatic, art deco-style ceiling that reportedly was salvaged after Hurricane Katrina.
“I knew if I got into it early and established myself that in three to five years, when Howard Avenue was filled with new businesses and restaurants, my location would be a great one!” she says.
For the first year, business boomed – but then the world stopped in its tracks.
“COVID really set us and all the other businesses back a couple of years,” Stanton says. “But we are survivors.”
Two years later, sales haven’t yet returned to pre-pandemic levels, but Stanton remains optimistic and willing to evolve. When it opened, Ladidaa focused on fast fashion for young women, but now, the store carries more upscale pieces that appeal to customers ages 30 to 60.
“I saw a need for higher-end pieces and party wear, especially with sequins and rhinestones,” Stanton says. “On the Gulf Coast, we have so many special events, and sometimes it’s difficult to find a great outfit for those occasions.”
That doesn’t mean customers looking for a chic daytime look, or even cute swimwear, will be disappointed — nor will customers hunting for a one-of-a-kind present. What to buy the friend or relative who has everything? How about a jeweled flamingo wine glass, or sequined game-day jersey?
If the boutique’s vast selection of apparel, accessories and gifts brings a smile to your face, that’s exactly the reaction Stanton’s going for. Even the name Ladidaa is meant to convey the positive and not-overly-serious energy the store embodies.
“People are what matter in life, not all the trappings,” she says. “We like to have fun!”
Stanton also has her eye on the bottom line, and several projects are in progress to help increase the store’s revenue. One of those is a custom hat-making business that she is tying into the boutique.
“I’ve already made a handful of custom pieces, and they were wildly popular for Halloween,” she says. “Be on the lookout for Mardi Gras hats coming in December and January.”
Another strategy in play is collaboration with other area businesses, including local designers wherever possible. With more spaces being filled in downtown Biloxi, Stanton says, her store and its neighbors are seeing more traffic from tourists, which accounts for about half of their sales.
“I encourage everyone to come to downtown Biloxi and check out all the new businesses, loft apartments, restaurants and bars; there are more on the way, with some pretty big names coming to Howard Avenue,” she says. “And please come check out my beautiful ceiling and find a Christmas party dress and blinged-out handbag.”
IF YOU GO
871-C Howard Ave.., Biloxi
Tuesday-Friday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., closed Sunday and Monday