After less than a year in operation, Segrid Knight of Fairview has seen her fledgling boutique business take off and win two state awards.
Recently, Knight’s online shop, Willow Run Boutique of Fairview, was named 2018 West Virginia Overall Boutique of the Year and 2018 West Virginia Online Boutique of the Year by shoppers. More than 300,000 votes were cast.
According to a news release, the Boutique Awards is the only global recognition event for independent boutique retail owners in the fashion industry, hosted by The Boutique Hub.
The information states that the awards “recognize and celebrate the best boutiques across all 50 States in the US, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.”
Knight’s boutique carries “Western and Appalachian-inspired clothing, jewelry and unique pieces, catering to ladies of all ages,” where they find items “inspired by nature, perfected throughout time.”
Its selection of items is described as “Western flair with a hint of Mountaineer, where your cowboy boots meet mountain roots.”
Knight, 28, said she was kind of “shocked” over winning the awards “because you have to be nominated, and I just joined The Boutique Hub.” She joined The Boutique Hub sometime around December/January.
“Whenever I realized that I had been nominated, it was really kind of a shock because there’s so many boutiques on there,” she said.
“It’s kind of like, I’m a very small-town girl and then they are a very big nationwide organization,” she said.
She said “pretty happy” doesn’t even begin to describe how she feels about winning the awards.
Knight was further thrilled to win because it’s her first year in business, and her boutique isn’t even one year old yet.
“I had high hopes for myself because I always push myself to do bigger and better, but I never thought that when I started this, that that’s something I could have done in such a short time,” she commented. “And it’s taken a lot of hard work. I have a little girl, so…my main priority is being a mother. This has come second, and it’s like my second baby, but I didn’t realize that it was going to do so well, and especially, though, for where I am: Fairview. The population of Fairview is 411.”
In her news release, Knight said, “I hope to bring the love I have for my boutique to others by sharing the styles and unique taste in clothing and jewelry I enjoy! I am extremely grateful for my husband Jared, my sweet little girl Elliena, my family, friends, and my ‘shopsmall’ shoppers who have supported me and my desire to do what makes me happy. I hope to continue serving my community, the state, and those I reach beyond here with my great products, prices, exceptional customer service, and unique sense of style.”
She doesn’t know who nominated her for the awards, though she is curious. The information is kept anonymous.
Knight recalled the genesis of her business, which officially opened in early January this year.
“I got married, was working different jobs,” she said. “I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted to do. I loved what I was doing, I did great at everything I was doing, I excelled at what I was doing. I got moved up in positions. I just wasn’t really happy.”
Those jobs included an event planner position. Another was in quality control and construction monitoring with an engineering firm.
“I loved that, but it just really wasn’t something that I was completely passionate about,” she said. “And so I had always thought I wanted to do something of my own, but I didn’t know what it was.”
Knight gave it further thought when she became a stay-at-home mom to her daughter, who was born a couple years ago.
“So, whenever I became a stay-at-home mom, I thought, ‘you know, I would really like to kind of help out with the family here,’” she said. “I was doing a good job being a mother, I still am, I love it. I don’t want to do anything else but be a mother, but I wanted to still do something for myself.”
Then, she made a decision last Christmas as she thought about what she was going to do with her life.
“I thought, ‘you know what, I’m going to open up a boutique,’” she recalled. “I had done research, though, many, many months before, but I just didn’t decide to do that until that day. So, I got my tax ID number. I was registered with the state on Christmas Day. And that was kind of a gift to myself.”
Knight promotes herself on Instagram and through marketing materials, like posters and business cards.
“I’m always networking,” she said. “I’ve sold things off my body — jewelry, pieces like that — whenever I’ve been out.”
Knight said her business, which she runs out of her home, keeps her busy.
Her customers are from all over the country. She has shipped to Texas, Utah, California, Montana, Wyoming, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico and Florida, as well as West Virginia.
She makes some of her items that she sells, and some are made by other people. She also buys items wholesale.
Knight has plans to open a mobile Boutique in 2020, which she could take out West to events like rodeos. She also is considering a physical store location further in the future.
The news release states that Willow Run Boutique can be visited online via www.willowrunboutique.com, or during one of its select events inside the Gump Studio and Gallery of Fine Art (Fairview) or at a future pop-up shop location – all of which will be announced on the website, social media, or in the Willow Run Boutique newsletter.
Willow Run Boutique can also be found on Instagram or Facebook @willowrunboutique/
Eric Hrin can be reached at 304-367-2549.