The story of Blame Betty
Blame Betty, a vintage-inspired, pin-up and alternative-style clothing boutique located on 17th Avenue, offers all kinds of unique pieces for women. Kati LeClair, business owner and alternative clothing enthusiast, opened this store with no intentions to please others, or to appeal to any specific or particular market. She simply wanted to open a store where she was surrounded by clothing and accessories that she liked and enjoyed wearing. Primarily, she wanted a place to shop for herself. After opening the store when she was just 23 years old, Blame Betty is now known not just within Calgary, but among international online shoppers. Blame Betty is a store where women of all shapes and sizes can find something they feel awesome in. The store’s goal now, is to provide the “tools” to help women feel good in their own skin.
The name Blame Betty comes from Kati’s enthusiasm for iconic 1950’s pin-up models and much of the merchandise in the store is based on this theme. In March 2005, Blame Betty was nothing more than just a small rack of clothing in a tattoo shop called “Hide & Seek,” owned at the time by Heather Maclean. Even though the shop was located in a spot with no foot traffic, between tattoo shop patrons and word of mouth, the store quickly grew. This space was outgrown within a few short months, and it was time to find a larger space. By late 2005, Blame Betty was located within a little blue house, right smack in the middle of 17th Avenue. The store was located there for 10 years and became a cherished part of the community. The house was a great location, and the perfect setting for the store, but their vastly growing e-commerce following meant they ultimately began to outgrow this space as well. In 2014, they were able to source out a space not too far from the original location, just a bit further down 17th Avenue in Victoria Park. The space offered more room for merchandise, and offered a more comfortable setting for employees and shoppers on those busy days. Situated right next door to the Elbow River Casino, Blame Betty still sees the hustle and bustle of 17th Avenue, but with a much larger space.
Today, the store even offers some quirky home décor and accessories in addition to clothing. Because Blame Betty is located near the Victoria Park/Stampede train station, it sees shoppers from all over the city. People can easily travel to check out what is available in store. Blame Betty has a large social media following, and many of their shoppers discover them online. Their small team works hard to keep the store in the shape that it is. Since the construction on 17th Avenue began, the team at Blame Betty has certainly had their share of tough times. Although they have dealt with flooding and electrical issues, they remain positive and optimistic that the changes and updates to the street will greatly benefit them in the long term. The team looks forward to the changes and improvements to come.
Kati says that the team at Blame Betty has “absolutely fallen in love” with their Victoria Park location. They not only love it for the store in which they work, but for the other businesses in the community. The Blame Betty employees are regulars at their neighbouring businesses, Embarcadero and Naina’s Kitchen. They try to have lunch here often, and they support local whenever they can. Drop by the shop to find yourself a funky dress, or some cool knick-knacks, and meet the Blame Betty team. You are sure to find something there that you wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else!