For Midvalley mom Kimberly Evans, fashion has been a lifelong interest. When she opened an online shop to share that love with others, she quickly built up a following and realized she needed a place to interact with customers one on one.
So back in January, Evans opened theKimmy Boutique along Lackawanna Avenue in Olyphant. Not even the coronavirus pandemic could stop her for long. Here’s what she had to say about balancing her family and her working life and why everything you’ll find in her shop is perfect for the modern woman:
Q: What inspired you to open up a shop?
A: I started out as an online fashion retailer in 2018. I built my own website featuring women’s fashion. I hit the NYC garment district to source my products. Eventually, I was able to source products from the LA fashion district as well. The online business is super competitive. I was doing the bulk of my business from my local community, who often wanted to shop in person at my home. It just got too disruptive and too busy to have customers coming in and out of my home workspace. I have to say that it is far more satisfying to dress women in a face-to-face fashion than e-commerce. In 2019, I had outgrown the basement operations in my home. So, my quest for a storefront began. I grew up in the Midvalley and the bulk of my local customers are right here in the Valley. I walked Lackawanna Avenue in search of a property with architectural interest.
Q: Was it intimidating to open a business during the pandemic?
A: The pandemic put the brakes on business. Two days after shut down, I had my online store reopened. Then, came the mask demand. I gathered a few friends who sew. We were able to sew a few thousand masks using my garments and donated materials. I reopened in June with masks and sanitizer stations throughout the store. In order to keep the dressing rooms open, I steam and quarantine garments after trying on. It really was not hard to reopen because my customers were so eager to shop again. The demand for fashion was incredible. I am growing exponentially by the month. Therefore, I have had to increase my inventory.
Q: What did you do before you opened your store?
A: I was a caseworker in children’s mental health until I had my twins in 2008. Then I taught yoga for a few years. I began teaching yoga at the Carbondale YMCA kind of by accident. When my kids started preschool there, I volunteered to teach yoga while they were in school and boom, I was hired after one class. I had been practicing yoga for about 15 years for my own fitness but never considered it as a profession. However, it was so much fun to teach at the same place where my children went to school. It is very much like therapy but with a physical benefit. It benefits mental and physical health.
Q: How did you decide what to sell and how are you getting the word out about your shop?
A: I have always loved fashion. As a little girl, I learned how to sew and construct patterns from my grandmother. I would sew Barbie clothes from scraps of fabric from my old clothes. In developing my brand at theKimmy, I really focused on super soft fabrics in simple classic patterns that are easy to wear. My focus customer is the mom on the go. The middle aged mom is my target. My clothes are picked to be flattering to women in their 20s and up. If it doesn’t flatter me, then I don’t carry it. I am 46 years old and a mom of twins so I have a mom bod. I am very active on Instagram and Facebook. I post every single day. I am the face of the company. I model every garment that I carry.
Q: When you’re not running the boutique, what are you doing?
A: When I am not working, I am the football and baseball mom. I am either at a ball game or practice with my twins, Luke and Ben, and my husband, Matt. We are a total foodie family. We love exotic flavors. So we dine out a lot. I try to take a little time for myself every day to practice yoga.