I remember when I worked retail in college, as much as I didn’t consider myself good at the sales aspect of it all, I loved being around the clothes and finding out what the next big trend was. In fact, I first became interested in fashion during my freshman year of college when I worked at Intermix on South Beach (I was going to University of Miami at the time). What I don’t think I realized at the time is, while it’s fun to be around such fabulous clothing, it’s also a lot (as in A LOT) of work to run a boutique. It might look glamorous on the outside, but, spoiler alert, there’s a lot that goes into it behind the scenes.
This brings me to today’s interview. Terin Matlock is the Owner of Luxington Boutique, which is a fashion forward women’s boutique based in Houston. But what you won’t believe is that Terin not only owns this store; she also still works her corporate job. Yes, really! This woman is BUSY (and the definition of a #girlboss). She always had the goal of owning a store, and she made it happen. She saved up and worked (and continues to work) insanely hard. One of the many things I love that she talks about below is how important it is to love what you do because it makes the bad days good and the good days great. And that, my friends, is what it’s all about. So, keep on reading for what inspires Terin, what a day in her life looks like, what she loves most about her job, and much more.
How long has Luxington Boutique been around? And what inspired you to open it?
Luxington is still pretty new. We have been open for about 8 months. I was inspired to establish Luxington because, as a consumer, I wanted to shop at a store that was ultra fashion forward, super chic and not overly expensive. Often times, it was really tough to find all 3 attributes in one location.
What were you doing before you opened the store?
Before Luxington (and even still while Luxington is open) I worked a corporate job as an IT consultant.
How would you describe Luxington Boutique?
Luxington is a fashion forward women’s boutique and is a true representation of me – it’s street meets chic. There are little subtle nods to my personal style expressed throughout the store. For example, I love denim so in Luxington we dedicated 10 feet of space to construct a full denim wall with various washes and fits. While we offer jeans, we also offer some dresses to command the boardroom and ensembles for a night out to dinner or drinks We try to cover all spectrums of a women’s everyday life.
Did you always know you wanted to own a store? If not, when did you decide this is what you wanted to do?
Yes, that was always my goal. I knew that I wanted to open a store, but I needed money. Immediately after college I joined my corporate company and saved money for 4 years in order to open Luxington.
What is your favorite thing about your job? Most rewarding? Most challenging?
By far, my favorite thing about my job is getting the opportunity to meet so many amazing women and getting the opportunity to add to their wardrobe with my own style spin on the pieces they purchase.
It’s the most rewarding when women come in and tell us that they are so happy they found us because hey had been looking for a store that has some of the styles that we have. I also enjoy when a customer comes in and says ‘how would you style this; I need help’. That is music to my ears because it gives me the opportunity to create several looks for the customer and give them pointers on how to stretch pieces throughout an entire week. I appreciate that my customers look to me for fashion advice and really apply what we create in-store.
The most challenging would be when a customer comes in looking for something specific and we have it, but not in their size. I hate to let anyone down so I take it personally when customers don’t get what they came in looking for. I want every customer to come in and leave happy so it’s challenging when I think that I have purchased enough inventory only to find that I maybe should have purchased one more size of a style.
Walk us through a day in your life!
My day is really hectic. Since I still work full time at my corporate IT job, I often find myself balancing 2 worlds. Below is a typical day:
6AM-8AM – I start the day answering emails from my corporate job and joining phone meetings with our international counterparts in India as sort of, like, a hand off of the day. They pass on the work that they have completed to us so that there is continued 24-hour work for the client.
10AM – I always try to get to Luxington at least 1 hour before we open so by 10am I am at Luxington, completing a walkthrough of the store, reciting my mantra and looking at totals and pending new in-store arrivals.
11AM – Luxington is open and while the Luxington employees are working in the front, I am researching new brands, reviewing sales reports and setting in-store or showroom buying for the store.
1PM – This is, by far, the busiest time for Luxington Monday – Friday. Since we are situated right next door to a restaurant that is notorious for its lunch and dinner menu, the foot traffic is awesome, so we always get a huge rush of customers just after the lunch hour. This means that its all hands on deck from 1 – 2PM.
2PM- While the store is quiet and the Luxington Ladies (Luxington employees) are managing the front of the store, I spend a few hours joining meetings and answer emails for my corporate job.
5PM – We get ready for the dinner crowd. Typically, there is a wait for dinner at the neighboring restaurant so ladies often spend their wait time in Luxington. We are also able to really talk to customers and get to know them because they are not hurrying back to work and often times they have a glass of wine with us while they shop since we offer that to our customers.
7PM – Luxington is closed but we still need to clean and organize the store for the next day. This usually takes an hour and we are heading home by 8pm.
10PM – I close out my day for my corporate job and do one final sweep of email replies before closing my laptop for the night.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to open their own store?
No one can prepare you for the amount of tears you will shed during the entire entrepreneurial process. Starting any business is hard, but I’ll venture to say that retail is, by far, the hardest. If I had to give anyone advice I would give the following:
-Research and ask as many questions as you can. Even when you ask one thousand questions, there are still two thousand more that you had no idea about.
-Remember that you don’t get what you deserve; you get what you negotiate. I had to learn this one the hard way, so have an attorney look at everything and don’t be afraid to speak up if you have no idea what’s going on!
-Have fun and really love what you are doing because when you do, then the bad days are not so bad after all, and the good days will be off of the scale!
-Know that you will make some bad decisions and maybe even some bad investments, but the lesson you learn far outweighs the loss you take. Enjoy the experience!
What inspires you?
I am inspired by other women. I often say that I love Girl Bosses, so I am the biggest supporter of women owned businesses or initiatives and I love gleaning from other women about life, work and the balance of the two. Women are powerful beings and the world is just more fun when women are uplifting each other. This is also incorporated in Luxington. We seek to bring in brands that are owned or creatively directed by women. We work really hard in-store to research fun women owned brands so our customers get to support other women when they make purchases from Luxington. It’s like a beautiful little circle of women supporting women!
What’s your personal style?
I am obsessed with denim. It is, by far, my favorite thing to wear; if I could live in denim, I would! I try to incorporate some sort of denim in my wardrobe everyday, whether it’s a denim shirt, a pair of jeans, or a denim jacket. Because I love denim so much, I would say that my style is street meets chic. I love a classic denim on denim look, but I love to swap out a sneaker for a high heel…. street meets chic.
What motto/quote do you always try to live by?
Every morning before I begin my day, I say: ‘Today I begin with a grateful heart.’ It centers me, reminds me to be grateful for today, and for another opportunity to be better than I was yesterday.
Thanks so much, Terin!
Read past interviews here.