Young women who go to nightclubs not only want to look good, but they want a unique look—something others won’t be wearing, said Nicole Rushin, owner of Lithonia-based 2 Urban Chicks Boutique.
While Rushin’s online store offers a wide variety of clothing items, aimed primarily at the young adult —ages 21 to 35—female market, she said “club wear” is her most successful line. “Club wear has been huge. Ladies like to wear something that will get them noticed when they go out,” she commented.
“Most retail stores here in Georgia don’t offer the types of fashion-forward items I sell,” Rushin said. “I buy from the major fashion capitals—New York and Los Angeles—where the hottest new fashions come from.”
Rushin started the business with a partner—thus, the name 2 Urban Chicks—but her partner decided to discontinue the association and at present she’s going it alone. “Right now, I’m working full time and operating the boutique online. I’m just getting started, but I’m on track to build my business to what I want it to be,” she said.
Although she operates from Lithonia, Rushin has customers all over the world. “I ship anywhere and let customers return any item that doesn’t work for them as long as they return it in the original condition,” she said.
According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), online retail sales represent a growing trend in American consumerism, as increasingly purchases are being made by those who grew up in the computer age. In a single quarter last year, online sales in the United States exceeded $50 billion.
Rushin, who has a degree in business, said that fashion has been her passion for as long as she can remember. “I like to wear the kinds of things you normally don’t find at the mall. I know a lot of other women like these, too, because I worked in retail stores when I was in school.”
The online business that launched early in 2014 is doing well, Rushin said. “People learn about us mostly through social media,” she said. “I want to get a blog going. Through feedback from my customers I can learn what they like and offer more of it.”
The store currently sells dresses, blouses, shirts, pants, casual ware and such accessories as handbags. “I haven’t gotten into shoes yet, but I plan to in the near future,” said Rushin, who added that generally she has done well selecting items that appeal to her customers. “I did offer some jogger pants that I thought would do well, but sales were disappointing.”
Rushin said she currently offers clothing in the small through extra-large range, but she’s looking at adding more plus-size fashions. “I think there will be a big demand for larger garments that are stylish and exciting to wear,” she predicted.
Featuring items that often are on the sexy side, Rushin said Valentine’s Day was a peak sales period for her. Her business was not alone. According to an NRF survey, approximately 26.1 percent of American Valentine’s Day consumers this year did their shopping online.
At other times, online shopping represents a greater percentage on retail purchases. While Rushin’s business has yet to experience a winter holiday shopping season, if trends hold, she can expect to see a sales spike then as well. The NRA reports that of holiday shoppers making purchases after the first week in December last year, almost 50 percent bought online.
Her online sales success notwithstanding, Rushin said her future plans include opening a bricks-and-mortar store. “I think getting to meet customers and talk with them face-to-face will not only be fun it will help me understand even more what they like.”