Boutique charms customers online and on Main Street
Story and photos by Candi Helseth
Northern Charm Boutique has attracted online customers from as far away as Louisiana and retail customers from as far as Edmonton, Alberta. Beginning with online sales in January, Northern Charm expanded its outreach in August with the establishment of a retail store open on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Powers Lake's Main Street.
|Tammy Moody, a Burke-Divide Electric Cooperative member, displays some of the boutique’s popular sale items - casual wear with slogans, fashion jeans, and shoes.|
Tammy Moody and her daughters, Mallory Edwards and Morgan Dosch, own and operate the business. Tammy and Morgan live near Battleview in Burke-Divide Electric Cooperative territory and Mallory lives in Powers Lake. They began the business out of Mallory's home, storing products there and packaging and shipping them in response to online orders. Demand increased quickly and the business outgrew Mallory's home.
"The idea for a boutique really started with Mallory," Tammy said. " She had talked about it for a few years. Morgan and I thought it sounded fun. Last winter, we got to the point where we decided to just do it!"
Northern Charm Boutique is a store for females - offering apparel, accessories and giftware for a wide variety of ages. Inventory changes constantly as the owners follow current fashion trends and purchase new stock based on their preferences and customer feedback.
"We try not to carry more than 6 to 8 pieces of a particular style because people who live in the area don't want to all be wearing the same thing," Tammy said. "Working with different companies and going to shows in Minneapolis to pick our products is one of the things we all really enjoy."
Mallory Edwards helps Hayley Allen, Lignite, find the perfect outfit at Northern Charm Boutique, open Fridays on Main Street in Powers Lake. Northern Charm also markets its products on Facebook and through its website.
The women do it all. With none of them having a retail or online business background, their process has been "learn as you go." Mallory and her husband, Cliff, primarily handle the Northern Charm website and its Facebook presence where photographs of their apparel is often modeled by family members and friends. Morgan's specialty is assembling store displays. She says she has learned sales can dip or soar simply from how a display is assembled or where it is placed.
So far, Mallory says, Facebook is their best sales generator. They are fortunate to have a loyal base of supporters who share Northern Charm's posts with others. In fact, that's how a woman from Edmonton - home of one of the largest malls in North America - ended up shopping in Powers Lake. Originally from Lignite, she saw Northern Charm's Facebook ads and loved the clothing featured. Back in North Dakota in August, she and four friends planned an afternoon outing to Powers Lake. Along with much laughter, conversation and trying on clothes, they all left carrying purchases.
"I think that's one of the most fun things for me," Tammy said. "I love seeing people love what we've chosen and watching their enjoyment when they are in the store. I would never have pictured we'd be doing this. We work together really well and that's good, because we spend a lot more time together now. I don't get to be the mom here. I am one of the partners and when I make mistakes they do get to correct me!"
|Mylee Dosch, Morgan’s 4-year-old daughter, loves modeling children’s clothes on Northern Charm’s online site. She also likes helping in the store on Powers Lake’s Main Street.|
While they are thoroughly enjoying their entrepreneurial venture, all three women say they underestimated the amount of time it would take. They are balancing a new business with other work responsibilities and family time. Tammy works Fridays in the store and Monday through Thursday at Tioga Medical Center business office, a 20-mile drive from where she and her husband, Galen, live. Mallory and Morgan rotate Fridays in the store. Morgan works as a registered nurse at Mountrail County Clinic in Stanley 35 miles from her home. She and her husband, Nick, have two girls and two boys. Cliff and Mallory, who is co-director at Lil Ranchers Daycare in Powers Lake, have three boys.
For an up close look at this new business in BDEC territory, go online to Northern Charm Boutique’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/northerncharmshop and to the website at https://www.northerncharmboutique.com. Or visit the boutique in Powers Lake on a Friday!