A fashion and beauty power-partnership, Bestie Boutique (a clothing boutique offering cute and affordable clothing for ladies) and Salon 304 (a full service salon) have joined teams to provide Lake Mills residents with services and products to help them feel awesome! We had a Q&A with both sets of business owners, who share the 304 W Main Street location, but first let’s introduce you to the boss ladies!
Salon 304 has been a salon in Lake Mills since 1976, but acquired new owners in 2014. New business owners and managers include Lori Brekken and Kati Smalley. Lori’s established clientele and beauty expertise merge with Kati’s trendy style and spa training to cover the full spectrum of beauty needs! When asked how they decided on this career path, they responded “we both enjoy making people look and feel beautiful and being salon owners helps us do just that!”
Bestie Boutique was established in November of 2015 by “besties” Stephanie Storby and Katelyn Tenold after their love of shopping made them wish there were more small-town shopping options in the local area without the boutique price tag! “We both love shopping for clothes! One day after a failed shopping trip, we had a conversation about how there were very few options in our area to find boutique clothing at an affordable price. From there we decided to take action and open a boutique of our own where we would be able to offer cute AND reasonably priced clothing – Bestie Boutique was born! Within a few weeks we were able to begin selling clothing at our monthly “pop-up” events and have since been able to have a permanent display in Salon 304.”
When Bestie Boutique says they want to offer affordable clothing, they mean it! Unlike many other boutiques, all of their clothing is priced under $35, with the average cost of an item being around $24. Bestie Boutique also focuses on exclusivity, only ordering a limited number of each item to keep that “one-of-a-kind-boutique-find” feel. “We also add a fun little twist by giving a name to each of our items. We believe it is an amusing feature that allows our customers to feel like they are leaving with a new “bestie” each time they shop with us,” said Katelyn.
When asked about the more enjoyable parts of being a small business owner, both businesses mentioned impacting the community they live in as perks to the job. “We love being able to offer our small community a unique option for clothing. We enjoy having a personal relationship with our customers and take any suggestions on what styles they would like to see offered,” said Bestie Boutique. Salon 304 said
“You really get to know the people in your community. In a small town it is very important to know and understand your existing and potential clients and what they would need out of a small business.”
The pair decided working together could boost both of their businesses. “When we heard from the Bestie Boutique ladies, we thought it would be a great opportunity for them and us to have clothes sold at the salon,” said Kati. “We offered to have them keep their stuff at the salon to help them out. They get a good deal on rent, and we bring in a few new people who have maybe never stepped into this salon, or bring back ones who haven't been here in a while!”
As a new business, teaming up with an established one really makes a lot of sense! “We both have young families and full-time jobs outside of Bestie Boutique, which can be a bit of a struggle at times,” said Katelyn. “Being able to work with Kati and Lori at Salon 304 has been extremely helpful for us. They have a wonderful client base which creates great exposure for the boutique.”
The dream of starting your own business may seem like a daunting task, but with a little creativity and networks with other local businesses – the process doesn’t seem so scary! Take it from Kati! “Don't give up! It takes time to get people to keep coming back sometimes and that's okay. Running a business might be your dream, so don't give up on that and keep pushing through!”
Kati Smalley, Salon 304
Follow Bestie Boutique and Salon 304 on Facebook, or stop in at 304 W Main St. and check it out for yourself!