Ileen Girl Boutique | Store Tour
Meeting Ashley was a dream come true. You see, Ashley owns Ileen Girl Boutique, a boutique clothing store for women and young girls over at Downtown Abacoa, and I have always loved her cute, industrial store when I passed by it. For a very long time, my dream has been to photoshoot a store, more specifically, a store like hers, so when the opportunity came up thanks to a friend, I was beyond excited!
I had the chance to meet her family (her husband is an all-star DJ on the side), learn the story behind why she started Ileen Girl and see all the awesome new pieces she was bringing to the store. Ashley started off as a graphic designer, then decided to design clothes for wholesale (to very big brands like H & M!!), and finally opened her own lable, Ileen Girl. What's pretty awesome about this gal is that not only does she design every single clothing piece, but also every single clothes rack, decor and even wall color. Seriously, this girl is what a real #girlboss is all about. Want to learn more about her? Scroll below for her interview, tips and inside look at her store!
1. Why did you start this business?
I started off in graphic design, but my love for clothing led me into fashion design. When I first started a boutique, I use to buy pieces from different wholesalers. However, I always I wanted to design my own pieces. Essentially, I am a designer at heart. Starting my label arose from my need and desire to create and design.
2. Have you always wanted to have a clothing store or was a "spur of the moment" idea?
I wouldn't say spur of the moment, but it wasn't something that I thought was in my career path. After my two initial boutiques and the success of my wholesale business, opening a boutique that only carries the clothing created by me under my Ileengirl label, seemed like the next natural step.
3. What was the biggest challenge you overcame and feel so proud of succeeding over? It's OK to show off a little!
As a designer, you always want to stay true to yourself and your aesthetic, but you also have to make sure you are on top of and ahead of the trends. Making sure that my designs reflect who I am as a designer and remain current and modern is always the most important part of what I do. When large brands like H&M and Forever 21 first purchased my designs through my wholesale business, I would say that was very proud moment! Now, I am happy to also create my designs with high quality materials and manufacturing for my Ileengirl label that I sell at The Ileengirl Boutique.
4. What would be the #1 advice you can give to any small business owner?
Treat your customers like gold! I always make sure that I remember their names and little tidbits about their lives. I also think that it is important to surround yourself with people and employees that you trust and admire.