AMORY – Kaitlyn Williams always wanted to open up a boutique, and when she couldn’t find a job as an occupational therapist right out of college, the timing was right for her to live out that part of her dream.
She opened Kella Boutique in 2016 and went full time again with the boutique in January.
“The store has been growing ever since 2016, and I love it,” Williams said. “I quit my job with OTA earlier this year so that we can keep growing the store even more.”
While Kella is primarily a women’s boutique with clothing, shoes and accessories, the store has expanded to also carrying household items such as pottery and bath products, including soaps and bath bombs. Accessories it offers include sunglasses and higher-line jewelry such as gold products.
The lines Kella carries are all sister brands to Free People, which include Mystery, Others Follow and White Crow.
“They are all the same style as Free People, but less expensive,” Williams said.
Williams tries to use lines that sell exclusively to Kella to keep the boutique offering different items than other stores in Amory.
“I don’t see the other stores as competitors because we all offer different things, and there’s no need in us all offering the same,” Williams said. “You want people to have a variety to shop from. My style is a little bit different because I don’t always go with the trendiest thing. I kind of branch out a little and have a little different items.”
Kella already had an online presence, using Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, but the closures due to COVID-19 forced Williams to ramp up that presence, something that she said has been beneficial to the store.
“It definitely made me step out of my comfort zone, because I always wanted to ramp up my online presence but never did it or pushed myself,” she said. “Having to close forced me to say, ‘I have to do something.’ It definitely helped me, and I am thankful it made me grow.”
Through the closure, the store started to advertise more on Google and ship more, shipping items to Washington and Georgia recently.
Another avenue Williams started to use even more was Kella’s Facebook VIP group.
“I started doing even more [Facebook] Lives in our VIP group while we were closed. It made me become even more comfortable doing those because before, I was not a Facebook Live person,” Williams said. “I show them sneak peeks of everything first, and sometimes stuff sells out on there before it even hits the floor. I also do extra sales and stuff.”
In addition to a strong online presence, Kella’s has had a booth at the Amory Railroad Festival and also visits other festivals across the state.
The boutique also participates in First Friends Respite Center’s annual fashion show and held its own “Ladies’ Night Out” during Valentine’s Day, featuring free massages for its customers.