Retail 101: Boomerang

Felicia Kiesel is the owner of Boomerang Boutique, a clothing, accessories, and gift shop on Massachusetts Avenue which opened its doors in the fall of 2013. Prior to her career in retail, Kiesel received her cosmetology license, created floral designs, and worked in the recruiting industry. The cheerful boutique owner thrives on finding unique quirky purchases for Mass Ave shoppers!

What do you sell in your store? Clothes, accessories, & home decor with over 60 handmade and local artists!

Why did you decide to open your own storefront? I have always wanted to own my own boutique. I had been planning it out on paper and in my head for years and years. One day I was sitting at my desk job and hating it, and decided that it was time to stop dreaming and just do it!

Do you have an online store as well? Yes I do! As well as an Etsy store for my t-shirt line. I also offer free shipping all the time on my website and on Instagram! The website doesn’t have everything we have in store because there is just so much. So we offer free shipping on Insta, and that has been working really well. If a customer sees something they like on Insta, they can just comment/DM/call and we’ll send them an invoice and ship out next day!

Which came first the online store or the bricks and mortar store? Brick & mortar in Nov. 2013. I have slowly grown my online shop since May of 2014.

List five skills/qualifications that you think are important to have before launching a storefront?
1. Work Ethic
2. Passion for the Job and What You’re Selling
3. Financial know-how
4. Customer Service Skills
5. Kindness (it gets you far)

What’s more important when opening a storefront: Location, having a nice cash cushion, or having a lot of retail experience? Location, Location, Location!!! Foot traffic is huge for gaining customers.

Most effective marketing tool you’ve been using recently? Instagram

How do you decide which vendors/products/brands you want to carry in your store? Everything in store is handpicked by me, and I base those decisions on whether or not it will fit the Boomerang aesthetic. Boom is a fun, trendy store with bright colors and quirky pop culture merch. There is no real system in place for buying — just what my gut tells me!

Do you work with vendors on a consignment basis? No, I find it easier to just purchase wholesale from everyone and resell!

Do you carry any local vendors/brands? Yes! Lots of them! Customers love local or handmade items. They are unique and are items you can’t just find anywhere! I carry over 60 handmade & local artists and bring on new artists all the time!

What’s the biggest challenge you face in running your business? Rude people… I have put my heart and soul into this business, and it’s disheartening when strangers come in and say negative comments about something. I don’t think people realize that being a small business every single thing in this store from the merch — to the wall color and window decor is done by me. Just because it might not be your style, doesn’t mean others don’t love it!

What advice would you give to anyone thinking of opening their own storefront? Go for it! If you have your finances in order and you are willing to work 24/7 (that’s not an exaggeration), then go for it! Make sure you are making wise decisions and have a passion for what you are selling and doing!

What advice would you give to an up-and-coming brand looking to build a strong relationship with a retailer? I would suggest starting out with an email. In the email include pictures of your work and links to your website or social media pages. Include your wholesale prices, because a lot of our buying decisions are based on our price point we have in store. We might love your stuff, but it might not be a fit just because of pricing. I always love getting tester items in the mail too. So I can see and feel the item. Just be kind and don’t get discouraged if you’re not a fit for everyone! Keep trying!

Are there any online resources that you regularly visit to help you run your business better, or keep up with the latest industry trends? Honestly social media is great for all of that. You can see what the new trends are by your peers posts as well as celebrities and read articles on what’s up and coming!

Shop Boomerang in-store and online. Follow Boomerang on Instagram

Photography by Aubrey Smith.