When opportunity comes knocking, you better answer the door. The opportunity to follow her passion of fashion has led this Humboldt, Iowa entrepreneur to buy a boutique clothing store from a previous owner.
Running several businesses out of one shop benefits many customers, but as Chantel puts it, “You can’t make everyone happy” which leads her to trying new things constantly.
Dive in to learn more about Carbon Boutique, and store owner, Chantel.
Where are you located? Tell me a bit about your journey owning a brick and mortar business-Carbon Boutique.
We are located at 630 Sumner Ave in Humboldt, Iowa. I worked at the store for the previous owner for about a year. The opportunity was presented to me to buy it, though I was scared, I am so happy I took the leap. I absolutely love what I do.
What does your family look like? Humans and not.
Mitch and I are the proud parents of 2 very active boys Walker (9) Walton (7) and one also very active black lab who isn’t quite 1 yet, named Ace. We live in the country where there is plenty of room to ride 4 wheelers, side by side and even a pond to fish in. We also have some chickens
Iowa State Cyclones or Iowa Hawkeyes? (Or favorite team?)
What made you decide to start this business?
I have always been an entrepreneur at heart. I honestly don’t think my mind works any other way. My wheels are always turning on new things I can bring to the business new ideas etc. In my younger years I ran a dance studio, but when I started having children of my own those hours were very tough. I made the decision to step down from that, and when the opportunity arose to buy this one it just made sense.
Why has this been a good fit for you?
As I stated previously, the night hours of running a dance studio were very hard with children. Our store now is open Tuesday- Saturday. I have some great employees that can work Saturdays when the kids have sporting events, and even in the afternoons so I am available to get them from school. The latest we are open is 6:30 so that is much more manageable. I have always had a love for shopping, fashion, and helping people step out of their box and find them the right outfit.
If you could choose one treat what would it be?
Ice cream for sure
What have been some struggles with starting this business?
I didn’t actually start this business, I bought from the previous owner, but I have tried to bring in new things. I think it is a lot of trial and error. Sometimes you think something is going to sell well and it doesn’t or vice versa.
What has been the most rewarding part of your business?
Definitely when someone sends me a picture of themselves in their outfit they bought for an event and they are so happy with it. Or of their daughter since we do carry some children’s clothing now too.
Beach or mountain? Why?
Beach for sure, BUT I have never even been to the mountains. However, I don’t think I would change my mind. I absolutely love the ocean!
How do you do what you do with your business? How does it work?
I am constantly shopping for the store, and do most of it from my phone. We typically get new arrivals weekly. Once those new arrivals come in they need to be put into inventory and usually steamed and then placed throughout the store. When we put the items into inventory that also automatically updates them to our website too.
Most importantly-helping the customers find an outfit when they come in! I pride myself and my employees on being honest with the customers. Some pieces of clothing fit better on people’s body types than others, and some colors look better with different skin tones etc. I want to be honest with my customers so when they wear that new outfit they look their absolute best!
What hasn’t worked?
Sometimes the things you think are going to sell great don’t and vice versa. I try to buy for a wide variety of ages and sizes and like I said before we have some children’s clothing now too. So sometimes you take chances on certain items and they just do not go over well, but it is a risk you just have to take sometimes!
What else are you doing that is awesome?
Along with the store I also do spray tans, the perfect thing to compliment your new outfit. I have been doing customized airbrush tanning since 2019. There is a room in the back of the store where I do them. Once a week I teach dance fitness classes similar to Zumba. I do all of this in between running my seven and nine year old around to practices!
What have you learned now that you didn’t know before?
Even though our “open” hours are Tuesday-Saturday I am working a lot. I am always on the lookout for clothes to bring in and my mind is always thinking of new things!
Favorite thing to do in your free time?
Go on vacations or concerts. I also like to support other small businesses by shopping/dining or what have you there! …but there isn’t much free time. We spend a lot of time at wrestling or baseball tournaments on our weekends.
What piece of advice would you give to yourself when you started this business?
You can’t make everyone happy. That is also what I tell other entrepreneurs when they are starting up!
What is the next thing you are wanting to pursue?
A big goal of mine in this new year is to do more with my website. I have already run a couple sales and it has been amazing. When we have to close our doors due to weather that means no income to us, and that is hard for a small business. These past few weeks I have been forced to promote my website and it has been great!
Favorite thing to make for dinner?
Pasta whether it be spaghetti or fettuccine, give me all the carbs!
What is something unique about Carbon?
We offer plus size clothing and kids clothing!
How do we find out more about you? Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Etsy, etc.
Our website is www.carbonboutique.biz
Facebook is Carbon Boutique
I’m cheering you on! If you want to find out more about some of my other entrepreneur friends, visit them HERE!
This is the start of something GOOD! (I can tell!)