Adored Boutique: For Women, About Women, Aiding WomenBy Jane Whitttington on January 23rd, 2017 /
Emily Smith, owner of Adored Boutique, says that the journey from concept to completion lasted only about 18 months. Devoutly religious, Smith feels that her faith played a big part in her vision and credits God with creating a new path for her life. She had been a nurse for over 18 years when she decided that it was time for a change.
Smith says, “I was in Nashville, Tennessee with my family on a spring break vacation and walked into a store there called Philanthropy. It sold women’s clothes and accessories and partnered with charities to help people throughout the world. When I walked into the store, I felt this incredible joy. There wasn’t anything I wanted to buy, but I loved how I felt in the atmosphere there. I said to my husband, ‘I don’t want to leave; I just feel so good in here.’ His response, ‘You should see if they franchise.’ Now, I had been feeling that I was ready for a career change for a while, but I had not discussed it with my husband. Since I had never worked in retail and had not considered it as a career, I wasn’t ready yet for such a major step.”
She continues, “Two weeks later, I went on a mission trip to Cuba. After a week spent there and after talking it over with two American women and two Cuban women during the mission trip, I felt clearly that it was time for me to leave my comfortable job as a nurse and open a boutique. At first, I did think about doing that by franchising Philanthropy, the store in Tennessee, but when I looked into it further, I felt that I was led to open my own store.”
Seeking assistance and guidance from such organizations as GROW (Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women), SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) and MiSpringboard (part of the Varnum law firm which offers free legal advice to entrepreneurs), Smith learned the ins and outs of owning and operating a small business.
Smith wanted to create a space for women where they felt what she had felt in the store in Tennessee, a sense of peace, comfort and acceptance.
Smith says, “It was very important for me to find a source for my inventory that was ethical and that did not exploit workers. I also felt that I wanted to use some of the proceeds of the store to benefit women, so I decided that I would give back to local organizations that helped women. December of 2016 was our first full month of operation, and I will be sharing my December profits with Sacred Beginnings, a transitional program for women who have been victims of human trafficking, exploitation and substance abuse.”
She continues, “I feel that I can’t sell anything made by people who aren’t respected and valued. I sought out small vendors around the globe and here in the United States who all had the goal of treating their employees ethically. My customers can feel good about what they buy knowing how the items here are made with respect.”
The store sells clothing items for women, with a mix of trendy and classic styles. They also sell jewelry, shoes, accessories and items for the home.
Besides selling products of superior quality and creating an ambiance within the boutique, Smith will also host special educational events. In January, Jenn of Jenn at War (an educational organization working against human trafficking) will be speaking on that subject. The event is free, but donations to the organization will be gratefully accepted.
For more information about Adored Boutique, visit their website at www.adoredboutique.com