It is no secret that I am passionate about women's empowerment and women in leadership positions. As women's history month ended in March, a new series emerged here at The Honest Mama blog. Each week throughout April and May, Female Feature Fridays will spotlight local female entrepreneurs in Champaign-Urbana and surrounding communities.
Meet Kinze Ehmen, a driven young entrepreneur whose clothing boutique offers styles for every woman.
Name: Kinze Ehmen
Business Name: Chic N Threads Boutique
Tell us about yourself!
I grew up on a farm and that’s where I started my boutique three years ago. A year ago I graduated in the middle of a pandemic and start my full time career with the Farm Service Agency while tackling this small business.
When did you open your business?
I opened up my business in October of 2017.
What made you decide to start a clothing boutique?
My mom had a small business called LulaRoe and once she was done with it I just couldn’t find anything in stores that I loved. I’m very picky about clothes and have set my mind to everything. Buckle was my go to place and it just isn't cutting it anymore. I couldn’t find anything I loved so I decided to start up the small business just so I can find trends I loved!
What do you think the average person may not know about what goes into owning a clothing boutique?
95% of the business is behind the scenes. There is soooo much work that goes into finding the clothes that you want. Especially during covid, it has been a challenge just to get the product you need. I would say on average I spend at least 10 hours a week searching for clothes. You have to be unique and picking out the styles that are on the vendors “best sellers tap” doesn’t make you original.
What makes you unique within your industry?
I have the opportunity to range the community I prefer, which is everyone! We try to bring in all styles for everyone which allows more of a community for us! We range from high schoolers all the way up to my Grandma's age. You really can find something for any woman in our trailer or on our free app!
How did you decide what you wanted your clientele to be and how you would connect with them?
I have always wanted to serve all women no matter the age. So that was a very easy decision for me. I have many helpers that help decide on ordering. All opinions help in this area! I feel like connecting with your client is always changing! Social media is huge and you really have to be willing to open yourself up to new platforms. I try to be active on all platforms but fit the content to the social media platform I’m using.
What is your favorite part about owning a boutique?
My favorite part about owning the boutique is connecting with others. I have three amazing women I talk to on a daily basis, not boutique related. We have grown such a good relationship and they are ALWAYS willing to lend a hand. I have with many other wonderful women as well! They all have a special place in my heart for being so supportive of my small business and opening up to chat with me!
What are the biggest challenges you face within your industry?
COVID, period. AH! I have never experienced more of a roller coaster than ever. It has been such a good learning experience for me though.
How do you balance working a full-time job, coaching youth sports, and owning your own business?
Lots of help!! I have learned to lean on others and ask for help! The boutique is the only part of my life where I can ask for help and someone can step in. I’m also a planner so I’m very good about having all content written out and ready for the week on that Sunday. My career is very flexible with me so I was able to come in early and be able to leave for work when the girls were getting out of school. It was a lot of hours but 100% worth watching the girls grow, my business continue to grow and manage my full time career with my farmers. My farmers are everything to me!
What is your best piece of advice to someone wanting to start their own business?
Stay in your own lane no matter how rough it gets. Copying someone else in the industry isn’t a good thing to your own business because their content is gauged to their clientele, not yours. You have your own clientele so you need to keep doing your thing!
You can find Chic N Threads Boutique online at chicnthreadsboutique.commentsold.com and on Instagram @chicnthreads17.