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Sasee Gets Personal with Monica Vogel: Bleu

“I owe my passion for fashion all to her!” Monica stated when speaking of her mother. Monica grew up in a small town in Illinois, about 50 miles from Chicago. The youngest of four girls, her Mom loved to shop, especially at the famed Marshall Field’s on State Street.

Although Monica received a degree in social work from the Loyola University of Chicago (which was the ideal place for her to go to school so she could work at Marshall Field’s on the weekends), it did not take her long to realize social work was not the career for her. She went back to school at the International Academy of Art and Design in Chicago and became a Visual Presentation manager for Marshall Field’s, she explained, “It was always exciting and there were many days like the Devil Wears Prada – it was so much fun!”

She owned a boutique in Illinois for fifteen years and sold it when she moved to Sunset Beach, North Carolina. Bleu opened one week later and all of her girlfriends from Illinois came with her to help stage and set it up! The shop has now been open for eight years.

“My sense of style really developed while working as a designer. It is black and leggings on a daily basis, a few neutrals, but never color!” she laughed, “Every once in a while, it shows up at Bleu, but we buy an abundance of basic black. We like to mix up brands, styles, and looks because we always want to keep it fresh, and we get deliveries daily!”

On their most recent buying trip, they found the colors, patterns, and styles to be amazing. From embroidered shirts and pants to flowing looks and fun collars, it was as if the designers stepped up their games and really worked on their creations. They purchased more items than usual and also sought out new vendors – those with something special.

Monica’s real passion is vintage wares. She loves chippy, shabby, upcycled goods and always loves the stories behind these items. Her former shop was mostly vintage and featured in Romantic Homes magazine. Space is limited at Bleu, so she has incorporated vintage on a much smaller scale. Her home decor is very eclectic, a mix of old and new, like quirky things, coin-op machines, one-of-a-kinds, and unique pieces. Vintage is always a great way to personalize a space. Bleu features cottage-style vintage furniture which is great for restyling beach cottages and adding a pop of whimsy to a new build.

“Your home and your personal style should reflect who you are,” Monica continued, “No matter what is trending for the season, every purchase should be something you love and look forward to using – something as special as you are!”

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