Dayna Melton spent 23 years being a stay-at-home mom. A year and a half ago, she decided it was time for a change. In August 2012, she opened Hillary’s Boutique on the corner of Will Rogers and Lynn Riggs, in partnership with daughter Hillary Melton. (Wonder where the name came from? Kidding.) Keeping in step with downtown Claremore’s newest trend, the store featured primarily painted furniture and gifts. Additionally, they had a few small racks of clothing items.
By January 2013, they wanted to establish themselves as an apparel-only store. It was a big change, and a frightening one. One of those, “Hope there’s a net to catch us!” decisions. It turned out to be the best decision they could have made (other than opening the store to begin with, of course!).
That March, they launched their website to accept online orders. According to Dayna, they felt that it was not only the next logical step, but more of a calling. They simply had faith that it was what they were supposed to do. And they were right. They have shipped orders to nearly all 50 states, as well as Canada. They recently got an order from Europe! They also have customers travel from Arkansas, Missouri and the Oklahoma City area to shop in the store.
The next several months were a whirlwind for Dayna and Hillary. The online orders were taking off, and they poured every dollar they made back into the store. No paychecks. No vacations. Just Hillary’s Boutique. They hired two employees to help with the surge of business, Emily Litterell and Cheyanna Basks.
I asked Dayna and Hillary what they believe to be the secret to their success. It boils down to these simple ideas: Treat your customers as friends. Do what you truly enjoy. Love what you do.
Hillary’s Boutique carries contemporary apparel, as well as accessories, including jewelry, scarves, bags and shoes. They also carry an exclusive fragrance line called I Am. I was curious if they carry specific brands or product lines, and they said no, with the exception of I Am; they scour markets all over the country and order what they believe their customers would want to buy. They do a terrific job of keeping up with trends, to keep every lady looking stylish.
They recently moved from the original location to a new storefront just four doors down on Will Rogers. The new space is clean and bright, featuring white walls with some exposed brick. The idea behind the white walls, explained the Meltons, is that it lets the clothing be the star. In a way, the color of the store changes based on their inventory. It’s a new shopping experience for Claremore, for both locals and tourists. Set in a traditional Main Street filled primarily with furniture stores and antique shops, Hillary’s is a unique and inviting storefront filled with beautiful merchandise and bright colors. (They also have these really sweet deer heads that I’m jealous of. They’re not real. Don’t worry.)
Future plans for Hillary’s Boutique include a second location, but those plans are in the early stages. But in a closer timeframe, the Meltons will be using their former corner space to open a children’s boutique in mid-April. The store will have a selection of baby gifts and children’s couture, but will follow the original Hillary’s Boutique strategy of keeping prices as low as possible.
Next time you’re downtown with some time to kill, or next time you’re looking for the perfect top or dress to wear, stop by Hillary’s Boutique. It’s fun, it’s welcoming, and the staff is friendly. And the prices are perfect.
Keep it local, Claremore.