What’s your go-to accessory, if you had to choose one?
Definitely earrings. Studs, hoops, big statement earrings. Even if I’m dressed down casual in sweatpants, I have to put on a pair of earrings.
Where do you go locally for the best finds?
Earth and Fire, which turns crystals into jewelry. Another one is Wild Moon Child. I love her one-of-a-kind handmade accessories.
How would you describe the fashion scene here in Indianapolis?
It’s pretty diverse. I know people think, You’re in Indiana, you all have this neutral fashion sense, but it’s not that at all. It can go from someone who’s super chic to someone colorful and lively to someone down to earth. I don’t think you can say, “Oh, this person is from Indianapolis.” Also, different areas of town have different styles. For example, Fountain Square has a unique, laidback, eclectic style. It’s a very artsy location, and I see that in the fashion.
Let’s talk about your online store, Zurri Boutique. What inspired you to open a fashion boutique?
Three years ago, before opening the boutique, I was blogging about women’s style, trends to look out for, how to be size-inclusive. Everyone was asking me where I got my clothes and for tips on how to dress. I had been blogging for three months, and I was like, “I want to open a boutique.”
Why the name Zurri?
The name came to me years ago. “Zuri” means “beautiful” in Swahili. My boutique’s name is an original spelling of that.
What niche does your online boutique serve?
It’s a contemporary clothing store ranging from small to 3X with a focus on hats and accessories for the everyday-chic woman. I include sizes up to 20–24, so that people over the size of 12 can find something trendy and cute that doesn’t make them feel like they’re wearing a potato bag. Every woman should be able to find something trendy they can wear and not feel left out.
What’s the hottest trend for shoppers this fall?
Last year was very minimalist because of the pandemic, but this year the fashion is in your face and people are maximizing their styles. The feather trend will transition into fall and likely winter as well. I don’t see color going anywhere, but it’ll focus more on jewel tones rather than bold pops of color. Also, cutouts. Everyone can wear the look. They just have to find the right cut.
You’re a one-woman business, right? Choosing the items for your store, modeling them, photographing them, promoting them on social media …
I’m also still working a full-time job in a hospital as a caseworker with the Ryan White Services Program, working directly with those who are living with HIV. I’ve finally been able to hire a sales associate recently.
You work in two very different industries! What have been your biggest challenges as an entrepreneur?
My biggest challenge has been not being able to afford a photographer. That’s why I bought my own Canon camera and learned how to take my own pictures. And sometimes I don’t feel confident enough to take pictures of myself in public.
How about the flip side—most memorable success?
I did an Express campaign last summer, and Rent the Runway featured me as one of their ambassadors in a video on their page. I also partnered with Indiana Fashion Week last year and had a booth at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.
Advice you have for others hoping to start a business?
Just do it. Don’t let anyone discourage you or put their doubts and fears on you. Stick to your vision and keep going.