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Black Boutique Owner Cynthia Davis: ‘How I Started My Business With Only $100’

How did you turn $100 seed money into $1,000 worth of merchandise?

I would do a budget, if I bought a piece for $5 and sold it for $25, I would buy another piece for $5 and keep the $20 for profit. It’s about turning the money over, so the accounting methods have to be good. There are so many things now that you can do for yourself; I made my website on VistaPrint. I got with a photographer that was willing to work with me for a good price.

How did you get started?

I got started in 2005 by selling accessories on the weekends. I worked from 9-to-5, [after work] I would get accessories and I would go to the local nail shops and hair salons because women, generally, when they’re in the nail shop, they’re thinking, “OK, what am I going to wear to this party tonight?”

I would go with a selection of jewelry that I think people would like and they would just buy it up.

I always had a passion for clothes, but because I was a mobile boutique, [I didn’t know] how I was going to lug clothes down the street from one nail shop to another nail shop, and so I created a website in 2009. I got with a really good photographer because I wanted the site to seem as if they were shopping in Macys.

How did customers respond to your website?

I got a really good response from people who bought jewelry from me, and a lot of local hair salon owners knew me personally and said, “why don’t you come to my shop and do a trunk show?”

And that started with me bringing wine glasses, and offering mimosas and muffins in the morning in addition to selling my clothes. And I would start at a shop that had 15 people, 15 chairs in the salon, and they’re starting work at 6 a.m. and they’re not leaving until midnight. And I would come in there and host a show all day, and while the young ladies were getting their hair done, they were also picking out their outfits, at the same time.

Business was good, but I was tired, it takes a lot.


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1 Comment

  1. USArmy on December 20, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    What?  She didn’t need the government to hold her hand and give her everything.