Amy Jones oozes with energy, and she needs every ounce of it to keep up with her double career.
She was already busy with her business as a hair stylist in Raleigh when her husband encouraged her to think about a women’s clothing store. Jones threw herself into research, taking a trip to the Atlanta Apparel Market.
“It was overwhelming!” she says. “There were 13 floors.”
Time spent at smaller markets helped her narrow her focus,and in July she opened Envie Attire in Cary’s Maynard Crossing. The location is ideal, she says.
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“The Kroger is one of the busiest,” she said. “We get good traffic at this shopping center.”
Her concept for the store includes inventory that appeals to all ages.
“I’ve had sixth-graders in here shopping,” she says. “I’m a shopper. I want some juniors and some missys. So far, that has worked well.”
Jones says one of the most important factors in selecting pieces to carry is tailoring the inventory to the region.
“We can have cool mornings and warm afternoons,” she said. “The big-box stores buy the same inventory for Florida to Maine. It doesn’t make sense.”
She looks for plenty of three-quarter length sleeves and breathable fabrics.
“I’ve been a seamstress since I was 8 years old,” she said. “I know fabric, and I use that knowledge to buy inventory.”
Tops displayed in Envie reflect the desire for comfort. Soft fabrics and flowy designs can be worn casually or dressed up for a more formal occasion. Prices range from $29 for a top to $200 for a jumpsuit.
“The fun part is people coming in and trying on a piece and getting excited that they found something,” Jones says. “I’ve tried very hard to make this store different. Why carry brands that everybody else has?”
Envie – the name is a hat tip to Jones’ enjoyment of high school French – offers wardrobe consultations at no charge.
“I am working hard to build a clientele, and image consulting is part of that,” she says. “We can help you get dressed from head to toe with accessories. If you’re going to look different, you’ve got to try different things.”
As much as Jones enjoys outfitting her customers, it’s the behind-the-scenes work that presents the biggest challenges. She waded through construction obstacles on the way to realizing her vision. Once open, she was faced with coordinating employee shifts and her own demanding schedule.
“Buying clothes has been fun,” she said. “Trying to get the construction done and juggling employee schedules is not as much. But it’s getting more fun.”