IxD x Shar Shelton w/ LikeNu Boutique
Sunny morning, bright and early, donuts and mimosas - can't forget the mimosas. A studio full of creative minds, vintage pieces and two very gorgeous models. The shoot is on. Shar Shelton, creator of LikeNu Boutique, sits in with us as we make magic with her brand and discuss how her Powerhouse in the making came to be.
Shar Shelton on creating LikeNu Boutique: LikeNu has now been going strong for 4 years! Back when I began, I was expecting my second child and I didn't want to spend "boo-koo" money on maternity clothes, so I started thrift shopping. During my frequent visits to local thrift stores and Goodwills, I became addicted! I started finding one of a kind vintage and gently used pieces that I knew I could never fit, yet I wouldn't dare leave them at the store. I began bragging to anyone who would listen about my savings and how my closet was full of designer clothes purchased for a fraction of the usual costs. My family and friends started to follow suit, the stories pouring in from my uncle and mother who loved telling me about their deals that they'd gotten at thrift stores.
I started to accumulate quite a stash and started selling vintage clothes online through my Instagram page which blew up fast! Apparently vintage was a really hot commodity across the country, including Guam! Selling clothing through Instagram turned into a great stream of income for my family. Wanting to take this to the next level, I had a bright idea to get a mobile truck. However, an opportunity for the retail space in the newly developed Fair Deal Village was presented to me and I couldn't afford to let that offer pass me by! LikeNu was inspired by the idea of looking fly for a dime, literally. The boutique prides itself in serving women in the community between the ages of 18-45 with unique, vintage and affordable contemporary pieces. LikeNu vintage pieces have literally lasted over 20 years, so quality is never a factor.
My original idea when starting my Brick and Mortar was to have a full on vintage store, however, times evolve and I need to stay current so I sell a combination of vintage and new unique pieces! I personally search high and low for the clothes, never leaving a city without going to at least 2 of their thrift stores. Initially I wanted to do consignment, however, with 160 sq ft. it's not really feasible. I generally don't buy from people or take donations because my space is so limited and although I know it's hard to believe, there is a such thing of having too many clothes.
Work life in the Fair Deal Village: I am so privileged to be one of the first tenants in the renovation of North Omaha; it's truly a blessing to be a young, black woman-owned establishment in the heart of my community! I have received so much support from the people in the community who are genuinely happy that we are here. In the short time that myself and the other business owners have been in the Fair Deal, we have all become more like family. This is a first for us all, maybe not our first business, but each tenants' first brick and mortar retail space, so we are all working together to reach higher levels of success. We all communicate really well with each other and are always brainstorming new ideas to continue to evolve. There is no competition in the Fair Deal, there is no underlined agendas, it's all love.
Transitioning from basement to retail space has been a rewarding challenge. I overcome obstacles daily, and it is all worth it when my customers post online or tell me how much they love my boutique. I love being in a position to make other women feel beautiful and I love to put on for my city! I have a t shirt line - LikeNu T's - and people have been really receptive to them. Of the two designs thus far, one is for my sista's and reads "No, you cant touch my hair!", and it's funny how many people can relate! I also have an "I Am North Omaha" t-shirt. I love to wear that one, showing people what North Omaha really looks like, in spite of the backlash that we face daily via the media. North Omaha is a community full of hard working, well deserved families and business owners who deserve clean shopping centers, restaurants and grocery stores in their neighborhood. I have also collaborated with two other local black women-owned businesses and offer their products in store. Mood Candles are soy based candles that are locally made by Dionne Moody and they smell so yummy. Shea Plus, a natural Shea butter line by Schmeeka Simpson, offers natural based whip Shea butter which keeps your skin silky smooth! In the future I hope to collab with more local business owners as well as coordinating a minority female scholarship next Spring and creating a social group called MAB (Minorities about Business) that will provide a space for networking and building.
My advice for anyone wanting to go into any business - make sure that it is something that you would do for free. If you have a passion for the business, a genuine love for it, money will come. If you don't, you'll quit before you see a reward. I would also tell any aspiring business owner, always keep going. I've fell short so many times, but I always got back up! Never stop learning, I read many books and listen to audibles and podcasts daily. I just want to be a better me.
To see more of Shar and her boutique, visit: