Boutique owners Lisa Carney and Carey Tolle know shoppers like variety. That’s why, after all, malls are so popular.
In an effort to better the chances of success as small business owners and give more to their customers, the women opened their stores next door to each other in the same building off of South Lafountain Street.
“When you go to different towns, there are several boutiques, and you can hit both of them. It’s an attraction, so someone can come in here and just park and go to both places. And I think we’re a little different, so that’s good too,” said Tolle.
This isn’t Tolle’s first run as a boutique owner. She opened her first store in 2006 and continued until 2011 when she closed the store due to the tough economy. Now, seven years later, Tolle believes the time is right to make another run at doing what she loves. And, with the advent of social media, she said small business owners have more tools at their disposal to market and reach customers.
Her boutique, called Standards Boutique, offers everything that’s “on trend,” which consists a lot of soft, distressed sweaters, plush cardigans, lace bralettes, and holiday jumpsuits, in addition to Free People jeans, Quay sunglasses, and Sole Society shoes.
“It’s for the girl that is forever young at heart. I don’t think there’s an age, per se, because I have college kids who come in here and shop, and I have 70-year-olds that like pieces in here as well,” Carney said. “It’s for whoever loves fashion and to be trendy. We’re always on trend.”
The store design itself also is trendy, mixing modern and farmhouse décor. And it was done intentionally. In addition to offering customers quality clothing and accessories, Carney said her secondary goal is to offer them a memorable experience.
To make that happen, Standards Boutique has a bright pink selfie wall with an oversized mirror next to it for touch-ups, a coffee bar, a lounge area, and a toy box for children to play while parents shop.
“Not only do we have products that we’re proud of, but it’s also the experience. I want people to enjoy coming here,” she said.
Customers also can shop online at shopstandardsboutique.com. To bypass shipping charges, customers can choose “local pickup” and pick up their items at the store.
Then, adding more variety to the boutique shopping experience is Carey Tolle with her business, Precious Beauties Boutique, at the other end of the building. For the past two-and-a-half years, Tolle has been selling her clothing and accessories out of an oversized trailer at events and at private bookings.
She also built up a group of women who participate in Facebook Live events that Tolle does when she gets new inventory. Much of what she buys to sell, she said, is based on the likes and styles of her loyal customer base.
“The great thing about my girls is I’ve had over two years to get to know them. They can say, ‘Carey, will this fit me?’ And I can say, ‘Yes,’ or, ‘No, size down’ depending on the clothes. I know because I’ve seen them. It all just comes down to my customer service,” she said.
The business was going well, so when Carney suggested that she open a brick-and-mortar store in the same building as Standards Boutique, Tolle figured it would only help her business grow and give her an opportunity to reach new customers.
While she’s still doing the mobile boutique and Facebook Live events, Tolle said she’s enjoying having a storefront for the first time.
Tolle to keep her prices affordable. Her most expensive item at the time of the interview was a $52 light pink leather jacket. The boutique owner said she spends a lot of time searching for items at a price point she’s willing to pay so that she can sell them at prices she knows her customers would be willing to pay.
Looking forward, Tolle said she’s excited to extend the same customer service she’s been offering online and during her mobile boutique events to customers in her new store.
Customers also can shop online at www.shoppbb.com.
Standards Boutique is open Monday through Friday from 10 to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 to 4 p.m. Precious Beauties Boutique is open Monday through Friday from 10 to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 to 4 p.m. The stores are located in the former Strickler Jewelers building at 3210 S. Lafountain St.