Career Profiles: Boutique Owner Kim Kendall

Anja Asato, Editor In Chief

Kim Kendall followed her dream by opening Clothes Minded, a local fashion boutique, earlier this year.  After working in the fashion retail industry for 25 years, she decided to become her own boss as the entrepreneur of a local small business: “I knew I had the skills and qualifications to do it. I just had to know if it would be successful.”

Kendall worked as the manager of several other boutiques before opening Clothes Minded, but being the owner is a completely different experience. “You have to be an expert at so many things. There is so much to owning a business that you don’t realize it involves,” shared Kendall.

“You have to be assertive and able to talk to people,” said Kendall, who believes this is absolutely necessary for owning and operating a business.

Kendall utilized support from the community by joining Local First, an organization for local businesses, and the Chamber of Commerce in the process of launching her store. “I try to get help where I can,” she shared as she discussed the different community organizations to promote local business.

For Kendall, being the boss doesn’t mean sitting back; she does everything from helping customers, predicting trends, merchandising, marketing and even cleaning.  “You have to be really motivated and driven,” she said.

She also believes in sticking with her principals as a business owner. “I believe fully in being ethical and honest,” shared Kendall who constantly works to keep customers happy and build a reputation in Ahwatukee.

However, the work doesn’t even seem like work for Kendall: “I love fashion,” she exclaimed looking around her store filled with an array of brands, accessories and styles.

For Kendall, a typical day includes opening the store, arranging merchandise, processing new clothing, updating the store’s social media, meeting with designers who are selling their pieces, talking with customers, and then closing the store at the end of the day. “I love talking to people and sharing my passion,” she said. Her day doesn’t end when the store closes each night. At home she researches trends, stays updated with the fashion world, and envisions how she can bring the biggest trends to the store.

Social media plays an important role for Clothes Minded. “It is absolutely fundamental. I couldn’t exist if I didn’t have it,” said Kendall regarding the impact social media has on her sales and marketing. Social media is an effective tool not only because it reaches customers immediately, but it is a cost effective way to connect with them.

Kendall majored in fashion merchandising and although some of what she learned is now outdated, “It gave me a good broad vision for what the industry is all about,” she said.

The necessity of education for the fashion industry is often questioned, but Kendall still believes it is important. She realizes that, “Everything in the textbook isn’t necessarily useable in the real world,” so gaining real world experience and qualifications are very important. “Everyone should definitely have an internship before they decide what their career path is going to be,” said Kendall.

Kendall agreed that she would be more likely to hire a college graduate than someone who lacked a college education.

Kendall took the risk to become a small business owner, and continues to grow her store and customer base by staying up to date with the fashion and retail industries. “[Opening my own boutique] has always been my dream,” she said as she looked around her store.