On August 15th, the Huntsville-Madison County Chamber will honor the success of small businesses and individuals that have made an impact on the community with an Awards Celebration. One of the contenders, Elitaire Boutique, was nominated for Emerging Business of the Year.
The women’s boutique opened in October 2016 at The Garage at Clinton Row and has quickly grown into a Downtown Huntsville favorite. The shop’s success is evident as it reached another milestone—a nomination for one of the Chamber’s prestigious awards.
We recently sat down with Kayla Adams, owner of the elegant boutique, to discuss the nomination, coming events at the shop, and what she thinks makes for a winning business.
How does it feel to be nominated for this award?
We are very humbled, excited, nervous—all of these feelings! But ultimately, we are grateful and honored to be nominated alongside all the other fabulous small businesses. Being a finalist is already a win for us.
Tell me a bit about the 2017 Small Business Awards.
Like I said, just being nominated is a big deal to us. Every year, the Chamber honors businesses in several categories; we were nominated for Emerging Business of the Year.
The 32nd Annual Small Business Awards Celebration will happen at the Von Braun Center on August 15th. I am really looking forward to honoring the amazing businesses that have thrived in the Huntsville area. Everyone is a winner in my book.
What do you believe makes for a successful business?
First and foremost, I believe that you have to offer excellent customer service. Without our customers’ support, we wouldn’t have made it past the first day. Providing them with our absolute best is something we continually strive for.
Secondly, you need an amazing, unique product offering. All of our brands are new to the Huntsville area. We want customers to be able to find something exquisite and exclusive without sacrificing style or quality.
And last, but not least, I truly believe in community over competition. This is the mindset in which my husband and I have built Elitaire. It’s also the second reason why our brands are new to the area. As a small business owner, I don’t want to carry a brand that is already being represented in Huntsville by another small business.
I focus on providing something different and giving our customers more shopping options in our city. By doing this, we are also able to refer our customers out to other stellar, local boutiques in Huntsville. This encourages them to keep shopping local.
What do you think customers love about your shop?
I think our customers love our store because it offers women the chance to find their own sophisticated style and feel beautiful—but with unique, high-quality clothing you can’t find anywhere else in town.
We will always be a store that is classic and sophisticated, but we love adding an unexpected, eclectic edge that makes our customers feel avant-garde. We want our customers to leave with a certain “je ne sais quoi” they can’t find anywhere else.
Speaking of customers, do you have any events lined up for them in the near future?
Yes! We are having a free pop-up yoga event coming up on the last Saturday in July. It’s a great way to unwind in a beautiful space with friends. We offered the same event earlier this year and it was a huge success.
In the Fall, we will also have jewelry trunk shows. And stay tuned for a fashion show (or two)! We have a few other surprises up our sleeves that I can’t announce quite yet, but just know it will be an experience you won’t normally find in a retail store.
You said you have several unique brands available. Are there any you’d like to highlight?
I come from a nonprofit background, so it’s very important to me that we give back in any way we can—we do that through our “Purpose Brands” that we carry in the store and online.
The Shine Project
The first is called The Shine Project. This nonprofit helps America’s inner-city youth become first-generation college graduates. These students not only make the jewelry, bags, and screen-printed tees we carry, but they also help in the design and selling process. They even answer the phone when I call customer service! These kids are learning excellent communication skills and work ethic that will help with employment in the future.
Another “Purpose Brand” we carry is called FashionABLE. Their motto is, “It is widely known that if we are to end extreme poverty two things must happen. One, we must create jobs for those lacking opportunity, and two, we must do so for women.”
This is the gap that FashionABLE has been helping—women who have been victims of extreme poverty, abuse, and human trafficking in Nashville, Ethiopia, and Peru. These women hand-make beautiful pieces of jewelry, leather goods, and clothing—and they are all original.
E.S.CO is owned by Emma Steelman who is a local, self-taught silversmith and artist. She hand-makes each piece of jewelry out of silver or gold and also uses hand-selected real stones in her design. You will never find two pieces that are alike.
We feel it’s important to support local artists and businesses, and we are always looking to showcase that talent in our store.
What do you love about your job?
Honestly, I love everything about it. But I love my customers the most. The people I am able to meet through this career and the relationships that have grown from it are priceless to me.
We love to provide customers with the best shopping experience possible, so we will always be listening and adapting to what they want while providing our best customer service.
You will always be greeted with a smile when you walk into Elitaire Boutique.
Check out the FULL LIST of award contenders here.
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CRUNKLETON COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE GROUP