For 35 years, generations of Austin women have turned to The Garden Room for beautiful designs lovingly and carefully picked by owner Patty Hoffpauir.
Patty Hoffpauir is a busy woman who has made it her calling to serve the city’s other busy women. Over the past 35 years, her iconic Jefferson Square boutique, The Garden Room, has become a cornerstone not only for women’s closets, but for the community at large. With her bright, floral styles that are especially well-suited for the summertime in Austin—each summer, she adapts the merchandise to fit the theme “Chic in the Heat,” wherein she stocks breathable fabrics that provide comfort yet still maintain an air of sophistication—Hoffpauir has outfitted generations of inspirational, well-heeled women, from the state’s first ladies to leaders in business and philanthropy.
“I find people fascinating,” Hoffpauir says. “I don’t think you can be in retail as long as I have been if you are not interested in people and in making them happy and being of service to them. That’s what it’s all about.” The inspiration behind the boutique remains the same today as it was in 1980 when she opened The Garden Room: to curate looks that are stylish, but with a hint of an edge.
“Most of my customers are 40 and up,” she says. “So we do trends, but we more often do ‘twist a classic’.… We twist it with color, or fabric, or a slight change of a line. I’m always looking for something that’s a little bit different, but still within a certain comfort zone.” Claiming an unending adoration for French and Italian designers such as Lauren Vidal and Malìparmi, respectively, Hoffpauir also regularly stocks the likes of Lisette, Teri Jon, Nicole Miller, and Olvi’s.
“We’ve shed tears; we laugh together; we get involved —it’s a very intimate setting.”—Patty Hoffpauir
Hoffpauir was born in Louisiana to “a long line of retailers” who helped prep her for the fickle fashion industry; her mother had a children’s store in Dallas, and her grandfather owned shops in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. After studying retail merchandising at Louisiana State University, Hoffpauir assumed a spot within the prestigious Federated Executive Training Program with Sanger Harris. “Federated was a great training ground because it exposed me to lots of departments within a store,” she says. “I’ve just always loved the pace of ready-to-wear.”
When she first opened The Garden Room, it took time to convince designers that Austin would be a viable market. She says much of the boutique’s long-term success can be attributed to paying careful attention to the lifestyles of her devoted clientele. “I watched what people were wearing, and I’ve always listened to what my customer was doing and where she was going”— whether it be to a family or charity event.
Hoffpauir’s giving spirit and level of care for her customers translate into her own philanthropic efforts, as she is deeply committed to investing her time and resources back into the Austin community. “We’ve done beautiful style shows for Ballet Austin, the Symphony, and Helping Hand Home for Children,” she recalls. “And if we haven’t done [a style show] ourselves, we’ve participated with other area retailers.”
Hoffpauir has developed a particularly strong relationship with Hospice Austin, as she credits Hospice for helping her and her young siblings through the death of her father many years ago. “Ever since then I’ve known what these people do, and it’s just amazing. The mission of Hospice Austin is a remarkable story.” Hoffpauir has served on the steering committee of the Beauty of Life fundraiser for Hospice since the popular event’s inception.
With nearly four decades under her belt as a boutique owner, Hoffpauir says she will continue to experience life alongside her cherished patrons. “We’ve shed tears; we laugh together; we get involved—it’s a very intimate setting,” she says. “It’s about making those friendships and not just because you’re a retailer. It’s because you have an interest.” 1601 W. 38th St. at Kerbey lane, 512-458-5407