Making a Fashion Statement
JenDaisy Boutique is Uplifting Women through Fashion
Writer / Michelle Kaufman
Photographer / Brian Brosmer
When Jen Russell walks into her store, JenDaisy Boutique, she enters a customer-focused mindset.
Russell opened the boutique in November 2012. In her previous job in the hotel industry, customer service was the top priority, but the young girls working weren’t really educated on women’s bodies and how they change through things such as pregnancy and weight gain and loss. She also saw similar experiences when talking with her girlfriends.
“I just decided that I wanted to uplift women and that I could do it through a boutique,” Russell says. “I always say JenDaisy’s more about not just selling clothes, we’re about uplifting women and teaching them to dress for their body shape and loving themselves as they are. That’s really important. Lots of other boutiques have opened up over the past few years, but we just try to be different and do our own thing.”
Russell said Greenwood had more of a small-town feel than the north side, and the community has been supporting JenDaisy ever since it opened. Customers can visit the store or shop online, too.
Russell quit her full-time job to become her own boss. She works in her store every day and has three girls who also work for her.
“I’ve worked harder doing this than I ever have in my whole life,” she says. “I thought I’d have more time, I’ll be able to do this and this. There is so much freedom with owning your own business, but you will work harder for yourself and for your family than you will anybody else. That’s one thing that’s been kind of hard to learn to separate JenDaisy from family and discussions at dinner. We try to now keep it to where my husband and I have Sunday meetings and we talk about JenDaisy, not to try to bring that into our entire life.”
Russell shops every day for the boutique online and also goes to market two to three times per year. To decide what to carry, she studies what’s trending, reads blogs and asks customers what they like and want to see at JenDaisy.
“A lot of it is following what your customer’s needs are, and then I like to bring in some different things to take women out of their comfort zone,” Russell says. “I have some favorite designers that I watch what their prints and trends are, and then I try to incorporate that into JenDaisy in an affordable way. If I see something similar, it’s in the store. When I’m at market, you’re able to feel and touch the fabrics, and that’s what I do. It takes me a long time, that’s one thing I do love — when I can go and hand-pick everything.”
Without hesitation, Russell said her favorite part about owning JenDaisy is her customers and the relationships she has with them. A lot of her customers have become her friends, and she gets to know the families and when their kids are born.
“I know pretty much everyone,” Russell says. “If I see you out in public, I might say hi to you because I remember you being in my store. I’ll sit and play on the floor with their little ones while they try on clothes, try to give moms a break.”
Russell calls the dressing room in her boutique the counseling room. She has older women who come in and say that they’re too old to wear certain items, and Russell once heard a little girl crying in the dressing room talking to her mom about how a pair of jeans she tried on didn’t fit.
“I went in there and I told her ‘don’t ever let a pair of jeans do this to you. It’s a piece of clothing, you’re beautiful,’” Russell says. “I helped her pick out some things, and she left with the biggest smile on her face. It was about her learning at that young age that everybody’s body is a different shape and size. One pair of jeans might fit you, they might not fit another girl but don’t let them make you cry and don’t let that define you.”
Russell wants to continue growing her website but doesn’t have plans to open a second store or carry men’s items.
“I’m always in my store, and opening another would be difficult, although we have girls wanting us to open on the north side,” Russell says. “I haven’t taken that leap or thought about that yet.”