Project 52 + Ulla-La Boutique

We were honored recently to learn that Ulla-La was nominated to have our story told (in short form) about how we began this little family business and why we love our Community in Didsbury Alberta so much!

Of course it's not hard to speak about the amazing human's in our town of just over 5000 people but it can be hard to speak about yourself and your business. We are very humble over here at Ulla-La and extremely grateful for the support we have received over the past 12 years (almost).

This is also our very first blog post! We are hoping to give you more insight on our family boutique, inspiration, style tips and just Karen sharing her many thoughts about retail in general. 

Below is the actual article that the Town of Didsbury and Gene Hartmann wrote from my words (Karen). Thanks for the opportunity!

SHOP LOCAL Ya'll! xo


Karen Griffin, with Susan and Pat Duggan

You only need to step through the front door of Ulla-La Boutique, or be engaged by Karen or her parents Susan and Pat Duggan, and you will immediately know that this not a regular ladies’ boutique. Over the last twelve years they have created a safe, pressure free shopping environment that leaves you feeling encouraged, confident and better about yourself.

Karen always had a dream of having her own boutique, so when an opportunity opened up on Main Street in Didsbury, Karen & Susan seized it. Ulla-La was born in 2010 and almost 2 years later Karen & her husband Lee welcomed their new daughter Kaley. The store started very strong and it soon became clear it was going to quickly be more than Karen could manage alone. She recruited her parents who moved from Calgary to Didsbury and brought with them a great deal of entrepreneurial and retail experience. Pat and Susan bought the building Ulla-La was leasing and completely renovated it from top to bottom creating a loft residence for themselves on the second floor in the process.

Ulla-La has grown into a family affair with Karen and Susan serving the floor clients and Pat handling the shipping for the online store and front counter sales as needed. “Our family dynamic really plays out as we work together, we are engaging and happy and have so much fun. We love what we do and we laugh all day long! We love the people and just want women to feel good about themselves. We want our customers & friends to feel comfortable and make their own decisions, there’s no pressure here.”

“We have no staff at the moment, only Mom, Dad and I. My parents live here and we all love what we do, and we’re happy doing it!  People say there’s a feeling here, a vibe, it’s casual, warm, friendly, comfortable and inspires confidence.”

“We have brands from all over the world including Canada and Europe and we have some exclusive and unique things, for all age groups, 14 to 90 years old, but for us, it’s about our relationship with our customers more than the products. We are about uplifting and encouraging women. We want to build women up; maybe life has knocked them down or they haven’t heard someone tell them encouraging things. It’s so shocking to me that women don’t see how beautiful they truly are.”

“We don’t want women leaving here feeling defeated we want them to leave feeling so good!

We approach our business from a human level. I think my calling in life is to be a ‘human helper’, lifting people up and hearing them!”

What do you love most about Didsbury?

“The local support here is amazing. It’s the people that make this town great. People are friendly and say ‘hi’, it has a real small town feel, it takes you back to another time. You go to the local shops and people there know your name. To be known, to be acknowledged, it makes all of us feel so good. People need people and this town shines for that!”

1814 20th Street Didsbury Alberta Canada