Californian Dawnell Codon opened Codé Fine Apparel in Branson to bring trendy, boho-chic attire to The Landing.
Nothing motivates you to get out of bed more than knowing you have a new outfit to wear.” That’s a quote above the mirror by the dressing room, and a personal motto for Dawnell Codon, owner of Codé Fine Apparel. Codon moved to Branson from California, and when she realized there was room in Branson’s shopping scene for a boutique, decided to open Codé across from Belk. “I knew it was a great opportunity and felt Branson really needed one,” she says. Codon is no stranger to entrepreneurship; she also owns Sunshine Signs. But the lifelong fashion lover followed another passion and opened Codé in October 2015.
The store carries clothing, accessories, jewelry, makeup bags, notebooks and even some home decor items. The items are trendy, and Codon best sums it up as boho-chic style. Everything here is about having fun and not taking yourself too seriously, a motive Codon holds dear in fashion and in life. When she goes to market in Dallas and Las Vegas, she looks for pieces that can fit a clientele that ranges in age from 20 years old to 60 years old. She likes to carry a variety of outfits that can fit date nights, weddings, casual everyday wear and more. “I try to find stuff that’s unique and different from an everyday chain store,” she says. “I think that’s my favorite thing about a boutique because you’re not going to find a bunch of people running around in the same thing.”
The store is a way for Codon to exercise her passion for style, but it’s also a way for her to give back to the community through another passion: helping women escape domestic violence. Codon has had her own struggles in the past, and she realizes how easy it is to lose yourself and break your spirit, she says. When she was in court to get a restraining order, an advocate from The Crisis Center of Taney County came up to her and let her know she wasn’t alone and there were resources available. The interaction was short, but Codon says she’ll never forget meeting the advocate, and it was just the push she needed. When she started the store, she was thinking of ways to help and landed on the idea of Women Up, her clothing line that gives proceeds from every sale to The Crisis Center.
Now in the store’s second year, Codon says she wants the boutique to be available to help people with the latest fashion and be a more personable shopping experience. She’s focused on creating a strong line of brands that work all the time for the store and her customers. And although it’s a long way away, Codon still likes to dream of the future. “I would like to have Codé as my retiring business so I can always have a closet to shop in,” she says.
Q&A with Dawnell Codon, Owner of Codé Fine Apparel
417 Magazine: What’s your No. 1 style tip?
Dawnell Codon: My main tip is fashion is what you make it. If you like it and are comfortable in it, then you shouldn’t care what anyone else thinks. If it’s something that says “you,” then it’s in. It makes it unique and you.
417: What can you find at your store that you can’t find anywhere else in 417-land?
D.C.: I’m the only one in Branson that carries Free People. I’m a Free People fanatic. It’s an illness. Bed|Stü is huge for us. I carry Free Bird. Joah Brown is probably our biggest seller—the basic line. Articles of Society jeans have been huge for us. We used to carry Paige jeans, and they’re $200 jeans, and they’re beautiful. But I ran into Articles of Society jeans at market, and they’re made in the same factory, so they feel just like Paige, but they’re $60 jeans instead of $200 jeans.
417: What’s the one piece in your closet you can’t live without?
D.C.: It would be my Bed|Stü blue boots. I would have to say, if I could only take one thing out of my closet, it would be those. They’re beautiful. I get excited talking about them. They’re a limited edition. Those would be it.