CHARLOTTE – Dawn Talley has a thoughtful approach to serving customers at Mainstream Boutique.
She realizes that some women are in the store celebrating a special occasion, while others may need a pick-me-up. The brand’s mantra is to empower, strengthen and celebrate. She also wants its aura to be welcoming, uplifting and full of love.
“It’s definitely been very rewarding,” Talley said of running the store. “I’ve met a lot of fabulous ladies. That’s the best part of it – just the women who come in. Everyone has a different story. We’re here regardless of what the story is. We’re here to make things better and to make them feel better.”
Talley opened Mainstream Boutique in August 2017 within the Waverly shopping center. Prior to that, Talley had been a loyal customer of the brand for 20 years – back when it was a trunk show.
When the brand opened a brick-and-mortar store in Winston-Salem, Talley and her mother would travel there to shop. It was the owner of that shop who encouraged Talley to consider opening a store of her own.
Having worked in the corporate finance sector for many years, she was ready for a change.
“I wanted to do something different,” Talley said. “My father used to always say, ‘you get one trip around the sun.’”
Mainstream Boutique carries reasonably priced clothing that appeals to multiple generations of women.
The layout is much different from other boutiques in Waverly, such as Fab’rik, Ivy & Leo and Scout & Molly’s. Talley’s staff designed it that way to make shoppers feel more at home.
Talley tries to find pieces for her store that are interchangeable. A lot of the displays feature complete outfits with a top, bottom and jewelry to show off the inventory’s versatility.
Each spring, the store donates 10% of a week’s worth of sales to the Jamie Kimble Foundation for Courage, which works to stop domestic violence. Talley knows the Kimble family, so helping the foundation really hits home.
The store also presents a fashion show in December for Saint Nektarios Greek Orthodox Church, which helps the congregation give back to various charities.
The store has brought in celebrity stylists like George Brescia, author of the book, “Change Your Clothes, Change Your Life.” Brescia has worked with top names in fashion, such as Ralph Lauren and Donna Karan.
The store also partners with artisans, including a Charlotte teacher, that create one-of-a-kind handmade jewelry.
All of these factors show why South Charlotte Weekly readers voted Mainstream Boutique as Best Women’s Boutique during the 2019 Best of the Weekly reader’s choice campaign.
Talley recently hired a full-time manager to help her achieve a better work-life balance. She hopes to use some of her free time to network more in the community – something she did for 11 years as a volunteer with the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce.
But for a self-professed shopaholic, Talley may find it difficult to pry herself away from the store.
“I have always loved clothes,” Talley said. “Opening my own boutique was like a little girl’s dream.”
Want to learn more?
Mainstream Boutique is located at 7314 Waverly Walk Ave., Suite E-5, Charlotte. Call 704-844-8248 or visit www.main streamboutique.com for details.