Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Local Shop Talk: Why Not Boutique

Last week we spent some time behind the adorable pink door! Why Not Boutique, of course! Jennifer and her fluffy companion Chloe, welcomed us to a pink paradise full of trendy fashions and great jewelry. Recently relocated from MacDill to Bay to Bay, Why Not's new building will knock your socks off. From sparkly light fixtures to a pink fireplace, the interior is to die for! That doesn't even include the great merchandise that's actually for sale!
We sat down and asked the girls a few questions about the evolution of Why Not Boutique.  
What was your vision for starting WNB and have you always wanted to start your own boutique?
Truthfully, until about early 2008, owning a boutique was never even remotely on my radar. I spent my entire childhood watching my father put on a suit and a tie every morning to go to the office, so I just assumed that corporate America was in my blood, and therefore it's where I would eventually land. And I did try it. I spent a little over 2 years wearing button downs and going to work in a grey cubicle. It was terrible. I just found it so creatively suffocating. Once I realized that there was no way I could make it in corporate for the next 40+ years of my life, I started to think about what I did want to do. And here we are three years later.  

I think it's safe to say that my vision for WNB has been fairly fluid over the past three years since I opened it. I started as an all organic, eco-friendly boutique and have slowly become a mainstream woman's clothing and accessory boutique with a focus on functional comfort with a trendy twist. 


How do you want your customers to feel when they come to your boutique?
I've recently started referring to the shop as "the house." I tell people "the sale rack is in the back of the house," things like that. It was never really a conscious thing, but that's ultimately how I want people to feel...like they're walking into their home...only with clothing everywhere instead of furniture. I try really hard to make feel people welcome, but not pressured. Look. Touch. Try on. If you need me, I'm here. If you want an opinion, I'll offer one. If you have a question, hopefully I have an answer. But my "house" is your house...come and go as you please...unless I'm closed of course!

What are your first fashion memories?
Really, really bad ones!! I had this awful pair of neon green wind pants...which actually might be considered stylish again with the neon trend this summer, but nothing about them was remotely fashionable. I was a fashionably awkward child. The neon pants were just the beginning.  Leggings and over-sized shirts were my staple uniform until I was about 14. Then high school hit, and I really started to like clothing and like looking good and I became your typical teenage consumer.  

How do you choose the items to sell at WNB?
I wish I could say that I have this whole scientific method to buying merchandise for Why Not Boutique...but then I would be lying. For the most part, I pick items that call to me. Something about it is aesthetically pleasing - the color, the shape, an embellishment...it can be anything. I would say that I probably buy for the shop in the same way that I buy for myself...love that, love that, why would someone put a pocket there, that's great, awful color, etc.  Once I have a good pile of merchandise picked out, I go back through and study it with a more critical eye. Can I see a particular customer wearing that? Is that dress lined? Is it too short? Is it well made? Have I already purchased 10 other items in that color or style. And from there, I somehow end up with a boutique full of items that I am, for the most part, incredibly pleased with and proud of. 
Describe your own personal style. 
I'm a comfort and function over fashion and style kinda gal. If at all possible, I'll find a way to make shorts or jeans and a t-shirt look chic and put together. In the summer I wear a lot of dresses, again for comfort and function. They're a lot cooler to me than anything else, and so easy...all I have to do is find a great pair of wedges and out the door I go! But I'm not a trend setter or even really remotely fashion forward. I just like clothes and shoes a lot and try to dress myself in the best possible way that fits both my body and my lifestyle. 

You can go visit this pink paradise for yourself anytime! Except Sundays, of course...

3423 Bay to Bay Blvd.
(813)374-2394

Mon-Wed: 11-6
Thurs: 11-7
Fri-Sat: 11-6

Whynotboutique.com
Facebook.com/whynotboutiquetampa


*Photos courtesy Glow Tampa Photography*



Thursday, March 8, 2012

Local Shop Talk: Ki Designs

Kimy Marino, owner of Ki Designs, gave us a look inside her South Tampa boutique on MacDill Avenue. Kimy started her business as a wine glass artist and has quickly expanded her brand into many custom home accessories as well as party and wedding decor. She envisioned a happy and friendly environment where you can speak your ideas/wants and see them come to life as tangible, hand-made gifts. Her boutique is brimming with glamorous silver wallpaper, eclectic antique furniture and shelves full of colorful painted drinkware and home accessories ---perfect for any girl's style, from bohemian to preppy classic. Ki Designs offers a fresh spin to thoughtful gifts, as well as takes shopping local straight to the root--producing local! Kimy and Ki strive to provide the "ki" to every celebration and home.
What is Ki's most popular item? Hand-painted wreaths, custom wine glasses or the just married get-away car signs.
What are your favorite patterns and color combos right now? Anything and everything leopard! LOVE ikat and giraffe prints, tribal... obsessed with pink and orange right now and all things BRIGHT. Tangerine is going to be big in clothing AND home accessories... or at least it will be with me!
What's your favorite thing about operating your shop and making the products? I love the one-on-one experiences I have with every customer. I love hearing people's life stories and being involved in big moments such as weddings, 75th birthdays, 50th wedding anniversaries, the list goes on and on! Tampa is such a wonderful community and I get so much joy out of customizing gifts for people. Knowing my customers not only on a first name basis but knowing what exciting things are going on in their life and being able to contribute to their events makes all my daily stresses and lack of sleep worth it. If I don't have an example of what you want, I will make one. The skies the limit and the Ki to success is making my lovely customers happy!
You can swing by to visit Kimy and her favorite shih tzu employee during store hours: Tues-Fri 10am-5pm and Sat 11am-4pm, or e-mail/tweet/facebook/call her anytime!
Kimy@KiCustomDesigns.com
Twitter.com/Kidesigngifts
Facebook.com/KiDesignsBoutique
(813)443-0751
Also, join her ever changing blog with her latest projects and products! KiCustomDesigns.com

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Yoho Yoho, Shop Local Life For Me


The parade gives your free necklaces... so start the day with a fun ring from Ki Designs! 
and I hope you've stopped by a grabbed a great pirate top at Why Not Boutique!


 After a Gasparilla day I usually need a nice chair to relax in... like these at Wisteria!
 Or maybe book a massage for next week to recover at Islander Massage!
 Now here are some pirate boots to die for. Go grab some cute shoes for your day at Fresh Threads!
You'll probably need a pedicure after a day of walking so I'd head to Crave next week, too!
Also only 20 days till Valentine's day! Check out the great hurricane crosses Inspired just got in! They even have some zebra ones! Perfect little gift for a loved one!