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The 3-minute interview: Angela Phelps

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Local,Bill Sammon

Angela Phelps is proprietor of Le Village Marche, a shop in Alexandria’s Shirlington neighborhood.

Describe your establishment.

It’s a Parisian-inspired home decor and vintage gift shop. And what I mean by Parisian style is my interpretation of the early 1900s, that whole Lost Generation thing. So it’s got a lot of rustic qualities and yet it’s also got a lot of chic designer handbags, French soaps, candles, French glassware.

How did you become interested in all things French?

About 10 years ago, I went to Paris for the first time and I absolutely fell in love with the city, architecture, culture — the entire way of life. When I came back, I started decorating my home in Parisian kind of French styles. I’ve always had a love for antiques.

How did that translate into an idea to start your business?

I was out having ice cream with a girlfriend of mine and we were talking about our dream jobs. And I said I would love to have a little French boutique in a charming little community, maybe go to Paris once a year on a buying trip.

What made you take the plunge?

I’d gotten to the point in my career where I’d kind of done the rounds at a lot of Washington organizations, from nonprofit to radio and television stuff. But none of that was fulfilling to me. I was looking for something more creative, something that would use more of my natural talents.

How’s business?

Today is my one-year anniversary and I could not have asked for a better start. We’ve done almost a half-million dollars in sales.

What’s your favorite part of the job?

Seeing the looks on customers faces when they find something they love. It’s just so validating because everything in this shop, from the largest purchase to the smallest detail, is something that’s come out of my heart and my soul.

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