New space makes for brisk boutique business

Jill Meier/Journal Editor

Amanda Christopherson, owner of beautique, said store traffic has increased 20 percent since relocating from the Cedar Sreet location to their Splitrock Boulevard presence. The move has expanded the store from 2,500 square feet to 4,000. Jill Meier/BV Journal

Amanda Christopherson (front, center) moved her business, beautique, from East Cedar Street to the 1500 block of Splitrock Boulevard in Brandon. The move expands the store’s floor space and staff, which includes (front, from left) Sam Zeutenhorst, Christopherson and Brittney Mitchell, (standing) Stefanie Wheeler, Cheryl Lindgren and Kristen Berg. Jill Meier/BV Journal

Nearly three years ago, Amanda Christopherson moved her home-based online business, beautique, to a commercial retail space on Cedar Street in Brandon.
And nearly three years later, the 32-year-old entrepreneur is on the move again, and this time it’s to a prime location in a new strip mall on Brandon’s high-traffic Splitrock Boulevard.
“It’s just crazy to think how far this has come along in such a short amount of time, and then boom, here we are,” Christopherson said. “Cedar Street wasn’t the most perfect location but it worked, but it was more of a destination location. Since we’ve moved here there’s so much more traffic and in-store customers.”
Prior to the recent move, Christopherson said 70 percent of her previous sales were online, with the remaining 30 percent in store.
“But now it’s more 50-50. It’s improved so much with customers coming in the store, and hopefully it’s not just the newness of it,” she said.
While many of Christopherson’s peers in the independent boutique business have closed their store fronts and gone strictly to online sales, she’s not following that trend. 
“I thought about it because you can do so much online, you can ship to the whole world, but I’d never get rid of my store. I love being able to interact with people and that people can come here, try things on, touch and feel it, see how it fits on them,” she said.
With nearly 4,000 square feet available in the new location – about a 2,500 square-foot upgrade – Christopherson was able to bring a few new outlets onto the sales floor, including lotions, lip balm, sugar scrubs, face masks, and heel scrubs. She’s also expanded her kid’s section and brought in some home décor and holiday gifts.
“For the holidays, we have some men’s stuff coming in, not clothing but gifts like flasks, growlers, and grilling tools,” she said. “We kind of have a little bit of everything here with clothes and kids and accessories and shoes and home décor and gifts, and now beauty; I don’t know what else I would get.” 
Christopherson said she’s also working with a local vendor to bring school spirit wear in the store.
In addition to the new traffic Christopherson has gained in the new space, she’s also elevated her space for inventory and her vast shipping endeavors.
“We designed our inventory up here in this loft to accommodate our growth, so there’s room to grow in here. There I was so limited because I had no more room to put stuff, and you could really see that there was so much stuff; it almost felt like a consignment store,” she said. “With our shipping, I wanted an area that could support our growth so if I end up hiring two to three more people to ship, there’s room for them.”
Eventually, the plan is to add a warehouse separate from the store, she said. “But this is definitely going to work for now.”
Christopherson credits many of the design aspects in her store to Pinterest.
“This is a lot of Pinteresting, two days of Pinteresting,” she said. “I wanted to take the whole rustic, industrial, vintage feel that we had at our old store and bring it here, but I wanted it to be a cleaner look, more organized.
Now, jeans have their own area, our kids have a spot, our basics, our tank tops those have a spot, our shoes have a spot. And that was important to me to make it a good customer experience when I was designing this.”
Similar to her next-door neighbors, Gypsy Trading Co., Christopherson also wanted to put down more permanent roots in Brandon.
“When we were talking about moving, people asked if we were moving to Sioux Falls,” she tells. “No. I would never not have a store in Brandon.”
But just as the dust begins to settle from this move, Christopherson will be expanding her business once again, and this expansion is a move to Downtown Sioux Falls. 
“It’s official! We are going to have a downtown Sioux Falls location on Oct. 1 and it’s going to be on Phillips,” she announces.
When Christopherson takes occupancy of the Phillips Avenue location in October, customers won’t notice a difference in the staff or the merchandise.
The owner of the boutique that’s closing, her gals and even the current owner herself wants to work there” Christopherson said. In addition, she’s purchasing the same inventory as Christopherson is now. “So literally, come Oct. 1, I just have to change the sign.”
But just what the sign will say, that’s yet to be decided. She’s tossing around “beautique on phillips” and “beautique downtown.”
The second location will be separate from her Brandon store and won’t ship.
“There will be different merchandise because it’s a smaller spot, so we won’t have everything there, but it will be fun to have that presence down there and that exposure,” she said. “There’s so many great things happening down there, and DTSF is trying to take it to a new level, and this is just another adventure.”


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