Corey Bee’s retail career has involved a lot of hard work and learning an industry from the ground up. He decided to forego the school route after having trouble finding the right program. He believes, “When it comes to fashion, I feel like you can’t be taught. It has to be your passion and driving force.” At 19 years old he decided that the best way to get educated and gain the necessary business skills to open his own boutique would be to work his way up the corporate retail ladder.
Corey initially launched Righno boutique online to gauge consumer’s responses to his merchandise. After a successful reception from online consumers Corey decided to make the big step into leasing a storefront. “Having a storefront has always been a dream of mine.” To balance the financial risk of opening his own boutique, Corey still maintains his full-time management position at a store in Clay Terrace, continuing to learn the lessons of retail there and then applying them to his own business.
When asked about the inspiration behind the boutique’s name Corey reveals that he’s always been fascinated with rhinos and their perseverance. “In spite of being poached for their horns, rhinos are resilient and never give up. In a way I think of myself as a rhino because I’ve been through a lot of things business wise that haven’t necessarily succeeded but I’ve never given up.”
Located in a shopping center on the corner of 11th and College, Rhino Boutique is a quaint store with modern, handmade fixtures that were crafted by one of the store’s employees. The shelves are stocked with a wide range of men’s goods. Corey wants ever man that enters the store regardless of their age or personal style to find a quality product to take home with them. “Righno has something for everybody. You can come here and get either skincare, underwear, shoes, or socks. We have at least one thing you can walk out with.”
Righno’s merchandise is handpicked by Corey and showcases international brands, national brands, and his own brand BASE as well. Corey’s emphasis is on unique, quality clothing that are staples in men’s wardrobes for many years. Corey says that his hometown Columbus, Ohio is more boutique driven and he hopes that Indianapolis is moving in that direction. “Where I’m from there are a lot of boutiques there that are so nice, I feel like Indy doesn’t have that.” He also believes that the lack of diversity in apparel might be part of the reason why Indianapolis carries the dreaded nickname, Naptown. “By keeping boutique merchandise local you are not expanding the horizon of Indy, which is why I think everyone calls it Naptown. It stays the same, so I’m trying to bring in new brands and styles.” Corey feels this diversity of apparel also helps other local boutiques as well. “Instead of boutiques competing we should be helping each other out, sending someone to another boutique for something that you don’t carry. If we all have the same merchandise then how are boutiques different from the mall?”