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Nikole Christian exudes a passion for fashion.
She is the owner of Pretty Little Things, a women’s clothing boutique selling the latest upscale trends at an affordable price in the King’s Harbor mixed-use shopping and dining center, a bustling hub of activity in Kingwood.
Christian, not coincidentally named best dressed in her senior year of high school, was attending the University of Houston, when she felt a desire to start a business. She became a small business owner at age 23, opening her store in 2012, and never looked back.
“The boutique world was kind of popping up, so I did an internship and took a year after college to do a business plan and look at some places,” she said. “I felt like I knew the most about it and I liked that it was ever-changing, changing with the seasons and styles. It’s always something new.”
Pretty Little Things offers clothes for all ages, including dresses, shirts, blouses, sweaters, pants, boots, and accessories. Currently, the store is stocked up for the fall season and that will eventually shift to the holiday season.
“I’ve always said that anyone from 16 to 60 could shop here and that’s absolutely true,” Christian said.
Christian travels three-to-four times a year to Las Vegas to purchase the items for sale in the store, largely eschewing online purchasing. The hands-on approach is key for her to help drive the success of the shop.
“Obviously, everything has switched to an online marketplace but I like to touch and see and feel things still,” Christian said. “You meet brands at market that you like their products, so you trust buying from them online. We want really great quality and prices, so it’s important to me to see what I’m buying.”
Keeping up with the trends can be a job unto itself. Christian is aided by her young, all-female staff members who either attend local high schools or colleges and have their finger on the pulse of the latest fashions, which enables her to stock the hippest, most sought after looks.
The store also stays relevant by utilizing social media to push out new looks and special events that keep the shopping experience fun for all customers. For example, Christian makes several posts on her Instagram a day so potential buyers can see what an item looks like on a model. The store hosts annual Summer and Fall Fests to unveil the latest looks for those seasons and gives dedicated fans of the store the first chance at scoring unique outfits.
“We’re different because we have limited quantities of each piece,” she said. “So if you don’t come in and get it or put it on hold, it’s usually gone within a few days. That’s nice because you use clothes to express your individuality and you don’t want to match anybody.”
On top of successful sales, Christian’s hard work led to recognition by the Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce as one of its 2018 Top 4 Under 40, an awardee at the Family Time’s Women of Achievement banquet for the entrepreneur category, and was recently nominated for Best Small Business by the Lone Star College Small Business of the Year, the winner to be announced in November.
“There never really was a back-up plan,” Christian said about starting Pretty Little Things. “We were profitable from the first month, which is crazy. But I see this as my livelihood, so I will continue to work hard to have the best store we can have.”
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