Building a business that has become a place for women to feed their souls – while dressing for the times of their lives – has been a dream come true for Mainstream Boutique owner Anitra Mitchell. After celebrating the Winston-Salem store’s fifth anniversary this past fall, the sky’s the limit for a future of bringing her own brand of love and camaraderie to every customer.
“Over the next five years, I hope we are still empowering women to go out and put their stamp on the world,” says Anitra, who balances a whirlwind life of family, faith, and fashion, all with a smile and a kind word.
A SHOPPING DESTINATION
So much more than earrings and a brand new outfit, at the heart of Mainstream Boutique is a true desire to lift women up and embrace both their inner and outer beauty.
“I pray each morning that we are able to build women up so they can go into the world and make a difference,” says Anitra. “If they happen to purchase an outfit along the way, that’s great. If not, that’s fine, too.”
At Mainstream Boutique, you’re not simply flipping through clothing racks, hoping for a great find, but you’ll be treated to as much personal styling as you’re comfortable with, and always an encouraging word when something is a fabulous fit. This is a team that wants every one of their customers to leave looking their best, and feeling like they just went shopping with their closest friend. Catering to young women, mothers, and grandmothers alike, Anitra is loyal to what each generation of her client base wants, not to particular brands. Whether it’s the latest super cozy pull-over, completely irresistible lounge pants, stylish boots, or inspired jewelry pieces (think Blessing Bracelets or Whispering Prayer bracelets), there’s something here for every taste. If you’re like most of us, you’ll also be taking home the cutest new travel cup or witty cocktail napkins, as a little indulgence for yourself!
“When we started out, we were in our basement, and I look back six-and-a-half years later and think, wow, what a ride!” says Anitra. “God truly put us where He wanted us to be.”
This past fall Mainstream Boutique celebrated its fifth anniversary, just off Stratford Road on Oakwood Drive, where they are blessed with 10 wonderful employees. Six equally amazing employees make up the Mooresville location, under the management of Anitra’s mother and business partner, Charlotte Parris. Everything about Mainstream Boutique is a family affair. You may even find Anitra and Brad’s two boys, Cooper and Turner, at the boutique.
“I love spending my days in the Winston-Salem location with the women in my community, while my mother, Charlotte, feels the same way about styling the women of Mooresville,” explains Anitra. “I handle the buying for both stores while my husband, Brad, is the man behind the scenes who actually runs the business,” she says, noting that Brad often jokes to their two sons that he works for their mom. “That couldn’t be farther from the truth!” says Anitra. “Without him being the mastermind behind the actual business side we would not be here today.” Their parenting is definitely a tag-team effort, via rotating schedules with boutique travel and a home office where they often catch up on work together late at night.
Keeping their inventory fresh and on trend is easy says Anitra because she works with so many amazing companies, but the true challenge of running a successful boutique is being able to bring customers what they want to see, and having a feel for which trends will be a hit in Winston-Salem.
“I love to work with the women who enter our doors because I can get real feedback on what they like and don’t like,” says Anitra. “By early last spring I knew velvet would be a huge trend for fall, so I brought in a few pieces in July to test the waters. Even in the heat, this trend was flying off the racks, so I immediately increased my orders to keep up with the demand of our customers.”
As a savvy businesswoman, Anitra also knows the importance of weighing what’s most important to her customers right now. Comfort and style, for example, were not always as crucial as they are today.
“I have to think, while I’m working away at home in my leggings and cozy sweater, how happy I am the fashion industry has figured out that women find comfort and style both very important,” she says, also admitting she went for years without wearing denim. “I couldn’t bring myself to spend the money on premium denim that still may not offer the comfort I was looking for. That has changed! We now carry the most amazingly comfortable denim, and women of all ages and sizes can’t get enough of it!”
THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR
As the crazy month of December rolls in, Anitra says she loves the special “buzz” in the air as customers search for the perfect gift for someone they care about: a snuggly sweater, a statement necklace that can fit with nearly every wardrobe, or even a gift certificate, are top picks.
“I absolutely love working in the store during the holiday season (and every other season!)” says Anitra, because it’s often a time her regular customers – despite busy schedules – end up finding special items to treat themselves.
“When they feel guilty for not keeping focused on their holiday to-do list, I often remind them they probably don’t get out much to do something special for themselves, so it’s good to throw in a little self-pampering, too.”
ALWAYS IN TOUCH
Every business owner knows how quickly social media changes direction, and how effective it can be in today’s retail market. Anitra and her staff know their customers have unlimited resources to choose from when shopping for clothing and accessories.
“Through social media, we are able to show in real time some of the many new items that arrive at the shop daily,” she explains. “Since there’s no way our customers can get here to see every arrival, we do Facebook Live videos a few times a week, and we have attracted customers from all across the country.” Customers see this as a much more individualized way to shop online, seeing the details and color options of the latest arrivals up close. For the Mainstream team, it’s a real benefit to show their customers how to style new pieces in a variety of ways.
“If a customer lives far away or simply can’t make it to the store, we also schedule private virtual shopping experiences!” says Anitra, with outfits pre-chosen beforehand, based on the client’s requests.
That simply makes Mainstream Boutique the best of both shopping worlds!
Visit Mainstream Boutique at 110 Oakwood Drive, Suite D, Winston-Salem, NC, for some of your best holiday shopping, and see why you’ll find yourself becoming a regular there in the coming New Year. Holiday hours are Monday through Friday 9:30 a.m. – 7 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sunday 12:30 p.m. – 5 p.m. Reach the shop at 336-448-1485 and follow these amazing ladies and their love of fashion on Facebook and Instagram. Visit the Mooresville location at 126 Mooresville Commons Way, Suite C in Mooresville, 704-662-9306.