Klassy Kloset Boutique, based in Phoenix, Arizona, is on track to become the go-to and top-rated destination for all things online fashion shopping. Offering a variety of impossible-to-find but affordable pieces, this mother-daughter combination works in tandem, providing their strengths, love, and passion for fashion to bring a unique shopping experience tailored to both millennials and the older woman. The boutique consists of hand-picked, versatile pieces that can create chic looks for a woman on the go. Whether she’s working full time, going out for a social event, or just working out, Klassy Kloset Boutique covers the gambit of every facet of a woman’s style choices as they represent the multifaceted, modern woman of today.
In my interview with the fashion trio, matriarch, Tequilla, older daughter Janet Swan (30), and younger daughter Tara Swan (28), we discussed how the boutique was started, why they love working together, and how they see the boutique changing the course of the fashion world.
Tara: Seeing our mom in cute clothes growing up is where my sister and I got our love for fashion. She always wore different high heels and dresses. Because we shop so much, I felt like we needed to start our own business. Also, as black women, I knew we could be just as successful as other businesses and take our sense of style and utilize it.
That enjoyment for shopping but not always seeing the clothes they liked or clothes that fit them well was the catalyst for facilitating their drive to go into business for themselves. Janet, the more reserved of the sisters but still confident, whose style is more comfortable but chic, transparently shares this:
Janet: I wasn’t always at the weight I am now. I used to be 50lbs heavier. We’re all different and, we have different shapes and sizes. So, we wanted to base our brand on something for the everyday woman. We felt it was important to have something for everyone.
Tara, the more outgoing of the two as younger sisters usually are, who loves all things sparkly and likes to always stand out in a crowd, adds:
Tara: Growing up, we would go to certain stores and, because we had a different body shape, it was hard to find something that looked good on me. Some looks would fit me around the waist area but not in the legs or butt. Women have different shapes – some are curvier, some have a longer torso, etc. That’s what’s unique about us because we’ll travel and shop around to find pieces that you won’t see in other stores. Because the 3 of us are of different sizes, we try on the clothing we want to carry in our store to make sure that it looks good. We never want someone to shop at our store and feel like they can’t find anything for themselves.
Working with family members is not always easy and can be more difficult to operate than non-family-operated businesses. When I asked them what their secret was to navigate such a challenge, they credit their success to their willingness, to be honest with each other. Because they each bring their strengths to the table and know and understand each other well, they can utilize that for the good of their business. This allows them to take autonomy and ownership of their roles and pursue them confidently. Tequilla has a background in finance. In addition to managing the finances, she also does the shopping, finding unique pieces for the store that are also trendy. Janet handles the business aspects, meeting with local customers and setting up their events to showcase the boutique. And Tara models the clothes and manages the boutique’s social media pages and engagements. She explains the intentional decision for them to do the business together
Tara: We’re a close family. Some people think it would be tough to work with family, but I think it’s easier because we know each other very well and, we wanted to utilize the qualities that each of us has to work together and make our dream come true. We trust each other so; our working together was intentional because we knew we could do it together.
During our conversation, I asked the trio why they didn’t take the road most traveled when delving into the fashion world – starting a clothing line. Cost and expense were the reasons shared.
Tequilla: When we decided to do this, we wanted to be smart about it. To start a clothing line requires a lot of money and what I find is that when people start with creating a clothing line, it’s usually a little of something taken from other lines and then merged. We wanted to get into it and learn the business first. Taking the time to learn the business, attend conferences, and learn about things, such as sourcing, has helped us tremendously.
Although they still face some common issues like sharing the same distributors as other boutiques which, can lead to having the same or similar pieces of clothing as said boutiques, the ladies remain creative. Exercising their resourcefulness, they work with vendors across both the east and west coasts to ensure they are finding original pieces not seen in other boutiques. Adding to their individuality as a business, the ladies were excited to share their newest venture, set for release this year their very own collection of original pieces to be sold exclusively through their boutique. Tequilla expounds more on the venture.
Tequilla: We’re planning the official launch and event for the collection. We’ll start with 4-5 pieces which will consist of pants, a gown, something fun for nightlife, a pair of high-waisted jeans above the ankle, and because we’re looking at spring/summer, we want to have a cute short set in there as well. So, we want to hit on each area, something formal, something for everyday wear, and something for summer.
With such a busy schedule ahead, they look to the future of where they would like to expand Klassy Kloset Boutique within the next five years. Tara sums up their dreams and goals.
Tara: We want to have thousands of pieces designed by us and we want to showcase them at New York Fashion Week. We’d also like to be featured in Vogue and Essence magazine as the number one thing you see on fashion websites. We want to be everywhere!
Klassy Kloset Boutique provides style for the modern woman. The modern woman of today has a career, family, social life, and she travels. All facets are represented in the Klassy Kloset customer. She’s a woman on the go with a lot of different responsibilities. Tequilla, Janet, and Tara understand this well. They have combined their intellect and fashion sense with their passion and experiences as shoppers to provide not only stylish and versatile clothing to their customers, but looks that are true to size, are of good quality, and are on-trend. Most importantly, they are an inclusive brand, providing a need within the fashion industry of making sure no woman is left behind and that she feels seen, confident, and excited in her fashion journey.