Small Business,

Big Mindset  Podcast



Episode #20

Opening and Scaling a High-End Boutique Post-COVID and Arson

Imagine you own a beautiful brick and mortar boutique, a gem of the neighborhood. COVID-19 hits, you face a mandatory shutdown of your business. Three months later you are preparing to reopen, getting all safety requirements in place, abuzz with excitement. Then a phone call at 3AM, a mere two weeks before the reopening date, changes everything. The neighboring business that shares a wall with yours is on fire. You race down there to find the worst has happened. This is the reality that Alta Alexander, owner of the gorgeous boutique Altatudes, is facing. Below is a quick overview of our important discussion.

Opening and Scaling a High-End Women's Boutique

  • First and only African-American owned upscale women's boutique in Austin
  • Located in the heart of historic East Austin
  • Curates gorgeous apparel locally to globally

COVID-19 & Fire Disaster Impact

  • Mandatory shut-down on March 18, 2020
  • Was hopeful to reopen around June 15th
  • On June 1st, a fire broke out in the business next door
  • Smoke, soot, and water entered her shop destroying her merchandise
  • Austin Fire Department has deemed the fire to be arson
  • Looking to rebuild the brick and mortar shop while also focusing on building out ecommerce presence
  • To support the rebuild: Go Fund Me or PayPal

The Strength and Resilience of Entrepreneurship

  • The heart of her shop was to help women feel confident
  • Felt as though her dream was demolished with the fire
  • Hopeful to rebuild via support of insurance and community
  • Prepared with the necessary PPE and social distancing options
  • Working with manufacturers and designers to curate pieces 
    • Had pieces from local designers such as Nina Means and Amberleaf 
    • Curated from countries in addition to the U.S. such as France, Spain, Denmark, Australia, UK, Canada. 

Advice and Insight to Fellow Entrepreneurs

  • Push through fear - procrastinated before originally opening but just jumped in
  • Launch your business during COVID regardless of fear an uncertainty
  • Building through fear builds your confidence to accomplish the next thing
  • Ensure your ecommerce platform is up and running
  • Build social media presence

Building Clientele

  • Leveraged earned media strategically
  • Worked with the community 
    • Take Heart shop created a map for a boutique tour for the area 
  • As President of the East 12th Street Merchants Association, she encourages everyone to shine some light on other merchants 
    • CNBC reached out to do a piece on Altatudes, Alta worked with them to create a piece on E. 12th Street as a whole. Check out the video here

Moving Forward - Goals and Vision

  • Graduating with her MBA this year
  • Rebuilding her brick and mortar shop
  • Building out her ecommerce presence further

Muscle Creative Wrap-Up

If you could listen to only one music artist for the rest of your life who would it be? Beyonce (although Brian McKnight is a favorite too!)

 Where can people find you online?

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