Boutique of the Month - Nich Boutique
For all of our shopaholics in need of a new destination to conquer, mark down West Chester and Collegeville as your next two stops. With two beautiful storefronts located in each town, Nich Boutique provides a casual shopping experience with affordable prices and even trendier styles. We got to sit down with owner, Kristy Mak to talk about Nich Boutique, her goals and some tips on being an entrepreneur. After our visit, we have to admit that leaving the city for Nich Boutique is so worth the drive and we'll happily do it again!
Femme & Fortune: Tell us a bit more about yourself and how you started Nich Boutique:
Kristy Mak: Hi, I'm Kristy Mak and I'm the owner of Nich Boutique. I had been working in various facets of retail for four years until January of 2007 when I knew I wanted to do something on my own and be my own boss. Around 5 months later, the first Nich Boutique was open in West Chester! Opening the boutique was one of those things where I felt that if I didn't just do it then, I would scare myself from ever accomplishing it.
Femme & Fortune: Where did the name of Nich Boutique come from?
Kristy Mak: Well, when I was looking at space for the store, there was only one space I had in mind and it was the one in West Chester. So I went home and talked about it with my boyfriend (now husband) and I mentioned how the store was a little niche in West Chester, and it clicked. I loved the name because it was a double entendre - a fashion niche in West Chester but also my little niche as well, and I loved the idea of that.
Femme & Fortune: What did you study when you were in school?
Kristy Mak: I went to school at Lehigh University, and I was a French major with a minor in Psychology. After college I got a job using my French degree, but I wanted a change. I hadn't taken any classes in business or fashion, so I started asking a bunch of questions and used a ton of resources to kickstart the opening of the boutique.
Femme & Fortune: What were some of the resources you used when creating Nich Boutique?
Kristy Mak: I used Score in Chester Country, which is an organization of current or retired small business owners who offer their time to talk to aspiring/current business owners. I met with them for a very long meeting to hash out everything I needed to do before opening Nich such as how to run my business, create a business plan, etc. Most members of my own family own businesses as well, so I got a lot of support and help from them, too.
Kristy Mak: The whole idea of having your own business seems so glamorous from the outside, and it is a ton of fun being around clothes all day, buying them and even styling and outfitting people. But at the same time you have to be realistic. I knew going into starting my own business that the first year or year and a half would mean I would be working constantly. I also didn't open Nich on false pretenses thinking that I would make a million dollars my first year and that it was going to be awesome and super easy. I find it awesome that a lot of people will come to me for an internship because they want to learn and understand about the business and if fashion is a good fit for them. I'm happy to say that I've helped a lot of people decide that maybe fashion might not be what they want to do for a career, but I've also helped a lot of people realize their passion for the industry. It's just really important to be realistic and just ask a lot of questions like I did.
Femme & Fortune: Can you describe the style and inspiration for Nich Boutique?
Kristy Mak: The style and inspiration for the two locations of Nich Boutique are somewhat different. Our West Chester location is in a college town and the demographic is a lot younger. We have more fun, funky stuff there that students will want to wear to go out to the bar in. We also have a lot of sorority women that come to the store for outfits for their sorority events and occasions. Our Collegeville store has a more conservative and slightly older crowd, so we keep more of the fun, fashion forward items here. We try to find good solutions for all age groups to stay trendy and still be comfortable at either store.
Kristy Mak: Well, I opened the second location on a whim here in Collegeville in November of 2012, and it was more of a good business decision to open this store. Having another location isn't in my radar as of yet!
Femme & Fortune: What are some of your upcoming goals for Nich Boutique?
Kristy Mak: We are in the process of revamping our website including an online shop by the end of the year. We've had a lot of requests by graduates in the West Chester area for an online site so that they can keep shopping with us, so that's a big goal of ours. Also, maybe not expand in quantity but in the services we provide. We want to concentrate more in the styling portion and going into people's homes and revamping their closets to show them that we can sell them great clothes but also style their closets. We want to get more involved with charitable projects as well.