With plenty of trendy items to satisfy even the most discerning budget fashionista, Charming Charlie is both a fun shopping experience and a great source for cheap costume jewelry, accessories, and even clothing. I visited the location in Maple Grove, MN on a browsing expedition and found it to be well-organized and full of interesting merchandise. Although you won't find high end materials or exquisite workmanship in these shops, you'll have no difficulty finding a pair of earrings or a bracelet to match any outfit in your wardrobe.
Where Charming Charlie Excels
I noticed on my visit to Charming Charlie that the shop is filled with women and girls of all ages, demonstrating that certain aspects of this store have cross-generational appeal. Whether you're shopping for the perfect accessory for a special event or you're looking for a gift for a friend, there are plenty of areas where this accessory store excels.
The Maple Grove, MN Charming Charlie was stocked with everything from fashion jewelry to handbags to accessories to clothing, and the store was huge compared to mall accessory stores or smaller boutiques. The giant size of the store means it can stock a huge variety of each type of item, so there are thousands of pairs of earrings, hundreds of necklaces, and plenty of just about anything else you might need. While the stores are not identical, you can expect each location to be quite large with an extensive selection of merchandise. If you're an efficient shopper, you may even be able to do a little one-stop shopping, snagging everything from your next handbag to a pair of stylish chandelier earrings at one location.
The low prices are another reason to visit Charming Charlie. You can accessorize nearly every outfit you own without breaking the bank. On my visit, I saw a huge number of watches under $20, necklaces under $15, and earrings under $10. This seems to be typical of Charming Charlie locations. For example, reviews on Influenster.com talk about the amazingly low prices.
One of the qualities that makes Charming Charlie famous is it's unique organization style. Instead of arranging products by type, everything in the entire store is sorted by color. This is a fabulous way to shop if you're looking for a particular shade to match a dress or scarf. I found on my visit that looking at the color-coded displays is a treat for the eyes even if you're only browsing. The blog Delightfully Random praises the way the stores are organized and is especially positive about the section of the store devoted to girls and teens.
Although the selection is diverse, many of the items at Charming Charlie are right on trend with the season. For example, I observed trendy colors like mustard yellow and popular materials like wood used in jewelry and accessories all over the store. Since trends change all the time, the bargains at this store offer a good way to get affordable, on-trend items to complete your look.
Where Charming Charlie Falls Short
No place is perfect, and there are a few areas where Charming Charlie misses the mark. While Charming Charlie may meet the needs of many shoppers, I realized on my visit that it might not be the right accessory store for everyone.
Although the beautifully color-sorted merchandise can be pleasing to the eye, the sheer size of the store and the variety of the items can make Charming Charlie seem a little overwhelming. This is particularly true if you aren't entirely sure what you want. With all the flashy colors, low prices, and giant selection, it's easy to get a little over-stimulated. The Maple Grove, MN store was also playing loud music and, on a busy weekend day, it was quite crowded with enthusiastic teens looking for a deal. If you prefer slow browsing and fewer choices, you might want to try a different accessories shop.
When you pay only a few dollars for something, it's natural to expect it to be a little flimsier than its more expensive counterparts. If you prefer quality costume jewelry, this is not the place to shop. Many of the items are cheaply made, and none of them feature high quality materials like leather or stone. On my visit, I encountered many strings of plastic or resin beads, rather than glass ones. I also found that the fabric accessories and clothing are made from thin synthetic materials rather than quality textiles.
One of the reasons many women wear jewelry is to show off their personal style. Although you can find some cute things at Charming Charlie, you won't find anything unique. In the store, each item was stocked heavily, so it seemed likely many other shoppers would purchase especially popular items. If you're comfortable with the idea of seeing the same necklace on your office mates or friends at school, then this shouldn't dissuade you. If, on the other hand, you want to really stand out, you might be better off purchasing jewelry and accessories that aren't mass-produced.
Charming Charlie is great at providing on-trend accessories and jewelry; however, because of the giant selection, there are also a number of items that may appear dated. Owl necklaces and rhinestone brooches from years past seemed to languish on the shelves. Also, glittery animal print bags and big, chunky rhinestones aren't to my taste, and it's likely the variety also leads to some questionable items that may never have been in style.
In addition, when trends pass, usually after only one or two seasons, the trendy items that you may purchase today will likely languish in your jewelry box unworn. However, because the prices are so low, this may not be a huge concern for many Charming Charlie shoppers.
Staff Experience Varies by Store
As with any store chain, staff friendliness can vary by location. The Maple Grove, MN location has very pleasant staff, who were quick to ask if I was shopping for anything special and direct me to specific areas of the store. Yelp users praise most of the locations for having excellent and helpful staff members.
Finding a Charming Charlie Near You
Charming Charlie only sells their jewelry and accessories through brick and mortar retail stores. They do not offer a catalog or online shopping. To locate a store near you, use the Store Locator on the company's website.
Is It for You?
Depending on what you're shopping for, Charming Charlie may or may not meet your needs. If you're looking for trendy, inexpensive jewelry and accessories in bright colors, you'll be in heaven. However, if you're after quality construction and a less-stimulating shopping experience, you should look elsewhere.