The Gatorbug Boutique

Fashion Meets Family

The story of The Gatorbug begins with family. In the early 2000s, family matriarch Patricia Bishop and her daughter, Dawn Carter, decided to start a small business selling women’s accessories and giftware. Instead of a traditional brick and mortar, they sold their merchandise at Junior League shows and holiday convention gift shows. Dawn’s niece, Sydney Jarrell, was a small child at the time, but also a hard-working sidekick. Patricia called her granddaughter “gatorbug” as a term of affection.

Several years later, another gatorbug, Catherine Carter, was born. The demands proved too much, and the business closed. However, the retail fire burned brightly in Sydney, and she would go on to open a very successful online business selling monogrammed giftware. Of course, she named her business The Gatorbug. However, her online store closed when she was offered a job too attractive to refuse.

The littlest gatorbug, Catherine, was born with a love of fashion and could spot a vintage Chanel design by the time she was 10. In late 2018, at the age of 24, she made the decision to open a brick and mortar specializing in women’s contemporary wear. As she worked to pull the store together, tragedy struck the family when Patricia passed away in January 2019. Catherine had been struggling to find the perfect name for her store, when Sydney, her cousin, pointed out that there was really only one name to choose — and that was The Gatorbug.

Their goal is to provide women of all ages and sizes with the most fashionable clothing in a wide range of price points, offering everything from clothing and shoes to jewelry and handbags. “Many people will go into the dressing room once, and if something doesn’t work, they won’t come out and try again,” said Sydney. “We want people to come in and trust us to help them with the right fit and style for their body type.”

Check out some of their amazing spring looks, which The Gatorbug graciously took the time to curate for us at their shop at Midtown East in Raleigh. You can also visit them in Cary at Fenton or at Atlantic Station in Atlantic Beach.

These dresses work beautifully for any special occasion, like a bridal shower or spring holiday.

Dress: Eloise dress in white ikat by Sheridan French, $340
Earrings: Small shakedown earrings in orange by Sheila Fajl, $98
Model: Kristen Barnett

Dress: Eleanor dress in bonbon by Victoria Dunn, $240
Earrings: Gloss floral earrings in turquoise by Pink Reef, $90
Model: Merry Grace Barnett


A wardrobe must-have for a weekend brunch or a date night out.

Dress: Maisie dress in wildcat by Crosby, $268
Earrings: Augusta hoops in shiny 18 karat gold by Sheila Fajl, $98
Model: Wendy Hawley


The ultimate elevated casual look.

Top: Flint top in paint the town by Crosby, $172
Jeans: Connie high rise fab ankle skinny in hero wash by Kut, $103.50
Earrings: Cheri stud earrings in gold by Mignonne Gavigan, $95
Model: Kristen Barnett


The perfect outfit to transition from work to a night out.

Blazer: Tucker blazer in hot pink by Buddy Love, $140
Top: Suit yourself scoop neck tank bodysuit in white by Spanx, $68
Shorts: Mae shorts in hot pink by Buddy Love, $90
Earrings: Jewel box earrings in light pink by Pink Reef, $135
Model: Merry Grace Barnett


This set is perfect for a tropical getaway.

Top: Hampton top in marble by Emily McCarthy, $188
Pants: Palazzo party pants in mauve by Emily McCarthy, $258
Earrings: Devon earrings in silver-plated by Sheila Fajl, $98
Model: Wendy Hawley

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