HomeFashion & BeautyGO-GETTER: Quanyin Young, of @SBBoutique, Explains How Her Love of Fashion Turned Into A Business Ms. Bels Friday, May 16, 2014 Fashion & Beauty, Feature, Runway Xclusive, The Vault Meet entrepreneur Quanyin Young. She’s the owner of SB Boutique, which is located off of Chapel Hill Road in Douglasville, GA. Quanyin has been in business now since September 2013. But way before SB Boutique opened its doors, she previously operated a shoe store alongside her sister. Unlike many entrepreneurs who go into business for the first time, Quanyin gained experience elsewhere prior to starting her own. The business of fashion can be a rewarding and tricky. As Quanyin told me during our recent interview, the way she’s been able to stay ahead of the competition is by being different. She explained that staying away from trends, for example, has helped her maintained her store financially and it has helped her gain some notoriety in the public and with celebrities. Quanyin, herself, is a fashionista. Her love of fashion was present throughout her life and recognized by many of her closest love ones. One in particular is her mother who passed away from cancer in 2012. She says that her mom was the motivating force that made her decide to open SB Boutique. From that point on, Quanyin has created a successful business which has garnered loyal customers like KeKe Wyatt (“R&B Divas”) and also the daughter of Bishop T. D. Jakes, Sarah Jakes. In our interview below, Quanyin goes into detail about her motivation to open SB Boutique, how she’s been able to capitalize off of her customer base and social media tactics, what’s hot for the spring/summer, and shares some advice to those who want to enter the fashion merchandising business. Tell us about SB Boutique… The purpose of the store was really just, to pin point it, to satisfy the socialite. When I first wanted to open up my store, I wanted to provide services for the socialite whether it was clothes, shoes, makeup, hair…everything. I wanted my store to be a full service boutique. Right now, I don’t have hair. I’m in the process of looking for a makeup artist to work inside of my store, but of course when you’re playing on instagram and when you’re just looking at how things are right now everybody is a socialite. It’s the biggest thing going around right now in Atlanta, is social life. So that was one the biggest things I wanted to do. I wanted to cater to the socialites and be their go to store and boutique and that’s kind of what we have been doing lately. It seems like you love fashion. When did you decide you wanted to open up a store? Yes I do I love fashion. Probably like five to six years ago, my sister-in-law had a shoe store out here in Douglasville, where I’m located. I pretty much managed the whole store. I ran our social media and our website. I pretty much just ran the whole store. She decided to open up a store just out-of-the-whelm, but didn’t realize all that it was going to take to come with opening and running a store. So, I pretty much stepped in with that. I joined a partnership with her with another store and we had opened it in Harbor Place Mall. When the economy changed, our area changed and our life was changing. It was just a lot going on so we decided to close the store. Within that time frame, I was pretty much just taking care of my mother who had cancer and she was diagnosed with that in 2009. All the way up to 2012, I was literally her full time caretaker and my mom always felt we closed the store – or I kind of stopped what I was doing when It came to fashion because of her – and that was one of her biggest things when it was all said and done, that I continue with that drive with my passion when she passed in 2012. I mean I took care of her for twelve years. I didn’t know what to do. I was an at-home mom taking care of my mom and I said you know what I am going to open up a boutique again and here we are I did it. What makes SB Boutique different from other boutiques in Atlanta? I think what makes us different is definitely, for one, our customer service. The fact that we do carry different items. I believe that we don’t tell our Instagram and our social media does not tell the same story as other boutiques that are here in Atlanta. We cater to a different crowd sometimes. We have a lot of different items. I’m one of those. I’m the opposite when I see a boutique that’s carrying a green dress although the green dresses could be very popular. You come to my store I may have it in yellow. I’m just typically trying to do the opposite of what’s the normal. Just trying to set a trend just letting people know we have different things. We deal with a lot of local Atlanta designers, as well, that we kind of keep them in our back pocket and some of them as a secret. But, we have a lot of custom pieces and we deal with a lot of designers. One of our biggest designers now that we deal with is Nicci Hou and that’s like a really big huge collaboration. Due to the fact that, right now a Nicci Hou Collection is not sold anywhere besides the fact if you get it from her directly or get one of our custom pieces that we worked together to design at our store. What is some advice you’d give to someone who want to open a boutique? I think the biggest thing right now is finding your area. Know your area that you’re in and know that it’s ok to be different. It’s ok to set a trend. Right now, with all the boutiques out in Atlanta it’s very competitive and it’s easy to get it caught up in what’s going on and what’s trending. Just as long as you know it’s ok to be different, be confident in what you’re doing. Just go for it. That was my biggest thing, getting over the fear of feeling like I may not be able to fit into what I’ve been seeing some of the boutiques. What is the spring/summer trend this year? Yes right now I’m noticing that I’m not a white person, like wear white. But white has always been around. It’s always had certain rules, but you always see the trend of white shoes. They come and they go. Then over some years, you will see white being real popular. You see people not really wearing white shoes. I’m finding right now that this year white shoes, white heels, and white is really becoming really popular this year. Along with neons, the pop of colors neon orange, the pinks, the yellows, those are really hot this season. And things that kind of go with that too I think are retro too as far as the skirts, printed skirts, the knee length skirts, even the longer ones. You starting to see that classy run of the 60’s look starting to come back. So something like a white shoe and a pop of color because it is pretty popular right now. Do you carry men’s clothing? No, we don’t sell men’s clothes. We are strictly a women’s boutique. Mostly our sizes go from a small to a 3x depending on the style or designer. What is a key piece to wear as an accessory? Necklace. I’m a big necklace person. I think right now if you have that really big necklace piece, I think that’s really popular. I think it’s really cute, it’s an added accessory that you could add to pretty much anything. The big necklaces as well as clutches. Just a fun pretty clutch…something floral. Floral because I feel they match pretty much anything. What about shoes? What are hot now? Right now, I have a shoe. I actually have a shoe that’s called the LB. It’s a shoe that we worked with Ryan Christopher a lot sometime when you styling different clients. One of them is Erica Dixon (“Love & Hip Hop Atlanta”) and we had a white shoe. I want to say the name of it was LB. Literally, that was the fastest quickest shoe ever sold in my store and she wore it and posted it on her Instagram page. We sold out of that shoe in two days. I mean I get people either on Instagram or emailing us asking for that shoe back. They loved that shoe and then I also had another shoe. I don’t have a website but on our social media page, I have a shoe called the Gun Smoke. It’s like a pewter color. It’s like a bootie on one side it looks like your foot is inside of a bootie and on the other side it’s out. I have literally sold out of four cases of that. I can’t keep that shoe in my store right now. What are your price points? Are the items sold in the store affordable? I mean, if you have a hundred dollars, I believe you should be able to get a full outfit. You should be able to get a dress. You should be able to get shoes and you may be able to get a top. My price range kind of just varies. Like my normal items, I have as far as like clothing. I mean I have clothing as low as $19 all the way up to $89. Some of my custom pieces or some of the pieces that we get from designers, now those items can range anywhere from $100 to $280 and depending on you know who made the piece like if it’s a Nicci piece, I’ve had Nicci Hou pieces selling for like $400 bucks. It just varies. What are your thoughts on online boutiques, especially on Instagram? I think that what’s on Instagram is great. It’s a great opportunity for those who are starting out, who would like to start and get a feel of their customers, and get a following. Now that I’m in my store with my overhead, sometimes I look at my Instagram because right now my Instagram sales are higher than my in-store sales. I have those moments when I’m like, we’re shutting down, I’m closing down and we’re doing this out the garage. I think it’s a great opportunity for those. Even when I was renting an old store five to seven years ago, we didn’t have social media as much as we do. It was strictly word of mouth and the word getting out about your store, your prices, and what you were carrying. There were plenty of days me and my sister had to buy Douglasville and Cobb County mail list just to get the word out. I mean we were putting stamps on print outs just to get the word out. So to see how social media has kind of helped market/brand and advertise, I think it’s a good thing if you use it correctly. It is different, it is definitely different. It’s a lot of Instagram boutiques out there, but it’s an opportunity. I think it’s definitely a great opportunity for those who starting. Please name some of your celebrity you’ve dressed thus far. We’ve had Keke Wyatt. She is a big supporter of ours. She lives out here in Douglasville so we see her a lot. The biggest thing that’s trending is Sarah Jakes. She is on a major book tour for her Lost and Found books. That’s kind of our biggest thing going on right now with us dressing Sarah Jakes. Those are just a few of who we’ve dressed so far. Where can people come visit the store and/or follow you on social media? My address is 2750 Chapel Hill Rd, Suite 1100, Douglasville Ga., 30135. I’m located directly behind McDonalds and the Starbucks. Our Instagram page is @sbboutique. It’s the same on Facebook as well (Sb Boutique). I just got a Twitter page and it’s @shopsbboutique and those are the ways you can contact us on social media. We’re in the process of getting our website so keep your fingers crossed that my husband get this done ASAP.