[blockquote quote="My goal is for every women to leave the shop feeling beautiful." source="Amanda Kuhn, Pink Pearl owner" align="right" max_width="300px"]The frustration of customers being treated like numbers, rather than being respected as people, while shopping at large retailers led Amanda Kuhn to launch her own independent women’s clothing shop in Richland.
The Pink Pearl offers a large variety of clothes, footwear and accessories at its 707 The Parkway location. “I worked as a manager in retail for almost 15 years and the corporate world got to where it wasn’t fun anymore,” said Amanda Kuhn. “My customers are people, not numbers. I love when they come by to shoot the breeze or to chat when they’re having a bad day. The relationships are most important; those bonds are what mean the most to me.”
After years of hearing his wife talk about opening her own clothing store, her husband encouraged her to put her entrepreneurial ideas into motion by issuing an ultimatum three years ago. “My husband said ‘You need to do this or we aren’t going to talk about it anymore,’” Kuhn said.
She left her job shortly thereafter, was a stay-at-home mom for a bit, found her perfect location at the beginning of February and opened The Pink Pearl three weeks later. “We really like The Parkway,” Kuhn said. “It’s amazing how many people comment they didn’t know it existed. It’s a hidden little gem, just like us. It’s off the beaten path where we offer things you can’t find everywhere else.”
Unique inventory is integral to her business, Kuhn said, as offering styles to fit individual personalities is her mission. “We usually only buy six items of one style and when they’re gone, they’re gone,” she said. “We try to find things that are unique and fun, not the everyday things you can buy at the mall.”
She does stock staples like leggings and long tank tops, although colors change based on season. Kuhn said she orders new items regularly and because she moves her limited inventory quickly, there is always something new on the floor.
“We really want to help women feel beautiful,” she said. “My goal is for every women to leave the shop feeling beautiful.”
Kuhn stresses to her employees that every woman who comes through the door needs to leave feeling beautiful. “Our job is to help them find a part of themselves that they may have lost,” Kuhn said. And she gets frustrated when that doesn’t happen.
“I really want to make everyone happy. From a customer’s standpoint, we want to have something for everyone,” she said. “I really hate it if a customer leaves unhappy because we didn’t have a color or size they really wanted.” One of her favorite experiences was helping a mother move past feelings of inadequacy and a lost sense of style.
“A beautiful and amazing lady, on the inside and out, came in and said she didn’t feel like she even knew how to look good and wasn’t even sure what she liked anymore. She was lost,” Kuhn said. “Helping her find that was so satisfying. We became great friends and being able to help her find herself again was amazing. In addition to playing a part in boosting women’s self-images, being an independent retailer has other perks, like determining
“We get to decide what we want to do. For instance, we’re never open on Thanksgiving to allow our employees that time with their families,” Kuhn said. “That was really hard for me working in retail; I was away from my family all the time.”
Now, Kuhn can have her kids come to work with her if needed and she treats her employees like family. “They know their families come first and I will cover for them if their kids are sick or anything,” Kuhn said. The Pink Pearl staff includes Kuhn, a full-time store manager, Michelle Assink, and eight part-time employees.
“All of them are college students, moms or have other jobs; they get to come here to have fun,” Kuhn said. When The Pink Pearl first opened, Kuhn ran the shop by herself for the first three months before hiring an employee. “Farmers’ Market started the first week of June and it got crazy! For us, it was great because so many people found out about us through visiting the Market,” she said.
The Farmers’ Market foot traffic through The Parkway gave The Pink Pearl the exposure it needed and the customer base began to grow quickly, and much faster than anticipated, Kuhn said. “I had to hire five girls by the end of that summer,” Kuhn said. The store originally opened next door to its current location, but the rapid growth spurred Kuhn into moving to a larger retail location next door.
“We were always running out of space and having to set up the entire store when new merchandise arrived,” Kuhn said. “We still have some issues with space, but we make it work.” Kuhn has experienced success in her venture, with profits increasing about 30 percent since the end of the first year. Employee payroll is higher due to increased business, she said, so the profit increase is definitely impressive.
Kuhn has short- and long-term goals for The Pink Pearl.
She would like to get more involved within the community and support special events. Recently, she participated in an expo for domestic violence awareness and will soon take part in a holiday event. “It’s great to get out and meet people,” Kuhn said. “We were also asked by a school to spend an afternoon in the teacher’s lounge. Being able to take our products to customers is a fun experience.”
She looks forward to helping holiday shoppers and will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Black Friday, which will mark one year at her new location. Regular hours are Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The shop is closed on Sundays. Call the store at 509-713-7121. The website is www.pinkpearlfb.com or find them on Facebook.
For more information about the company, go to https://pink-pearl-fashion-boutique.myshopify.com/.
Daily and Monthly NewsSign up now!