Local Boutique Owner Shares How She Got Addicted to Fashion | Prosper
Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Dakota Warfield emerges from the pandemic as a new business owner. Launching the business last September has also helped the single Chicago mother, who has been single since she was 12, to face and overcome some of her deepest fears about her family and herself.
“I don’t know what a pandemic looks like. I don’t know if that’s a blessing or what, when I was in my glory days and had $1,000 dinners, the big corporations were taking a beating and then they started closing a lot of places and many of them have filed for bankruptcy,” Warfield, who has lived in Mansfield for 12 years, said.
“And then you have a lot of small business owners like me, that’s when we came in. We’ve been able to make a significant amount of money to reinvest in businesses like we’re looking to get real estate here in Mansfield,’ she added.
On a somewhat slow Monday night before the holiday rush, where she had unpacked and tried on clothes, Warfield changed into another of the fashionable jackets she had selected (among the many eye-catching extra pieces she sells) and sat down and explained more about how she got addicted (to fashion).
Addicted Boutique, located in Suite 702, inside the Richland Mall, also known as She Addicted Boutique on the internet, is literally the name of the specialty store with a strong online presence (which is by its design because Warfield has a degree in business marketing as well.
With a welcoming attitude and a warm smile, she explained how her business started from very humble beginnings. An origin story, which included going back and forth to her hometown of Chicago and selling Christmas onesies and other clothes out of the trunk of her car.
The experience then evolved into greater aspirations to work for herself and eventually morphed into a brick-and-mortar business with a chic, urban twist.
In 2019, a baby fell in her lap, Warfield explained. “And when I say fell on my knees, child services had separated the two (mother and child) and they were going to take like this five-week-old baby (from the parent) and I was like, no, I I will care for her,” she said.
“And my work schedule was so demanding that my children are already grown up,” she said, referring to her two sons Jaden and Jakarri, who attend college. “I didn’t know what it was like to have to hire a babysitter, so it was all really crazy,” she explained.
Warfield found another job in hopes of getting a more convenient schedule that would allow him to care for the baby in his care.
Unfortunately, things didn’t exactly go as planned and she was fired from that job within a month. As a result, she thought her world was coming to an end.
Although she did not mention the name of the employer who fired her, she explained that the dismissal took her by surprise because she had not received any notice and was never written for anything.
“She fired me right before Thanksgiving,” Warfield said.
“My parents are deceased, so my children don’t have grandparents. I had about $1,000 in my checking account. Notice, I still got that little baby.
She also had not informed children’s services of the termination.
Warfield said she didn’t know what to do, but knew she had to make some adjustments in order to continue supporting the children, because she couldn’t just sit there and risk the baby falling on her. be entrusted. She also thought her older children would be okay with the changes because they were used to being well-nourished.
“So long story short,” she said, “I went and invested in a lot of these Christmas onesies,” which she pointed to on a shelf in the store.
“I didn’t pay any of my December bills and took every dollar I had in my checking account and then reinvested the rest of the profits,” she said. She also caught up on her bills.
“So once I reinvest the profits, we roll into 2020. So, as you know, we roll into 2020 and the pandemic hits. I took all my income tax refund check and put it in with all the profit money because after the onesies I had only done New Years Eve outfits.
Warfield said she came up with the concept of shopping for the New Year’s Eve outfits from her time working in retail at TJ Maxx.
She said the retailer orders its items by season and “they order by holiday, whatever comes in is what they cater to,” she said.
Warfield said all the dresses and extra items she purchased were sold out. So she took that money with her income tax refund and invested it all in the business.
Then the pandemic shutdowns started to hit.
“The world eventually shuts down, you know they shut everything down. Once they shut everything down, I got scared again because I’m a hard worker and I’ve always worked since I was was old enough to work,” she said.
“I was terrified. I have a degree in business marketing, but I have no experience in the field, so it’s hard to get a job marketing someone else’s home “, she added.
That said, the young mother, who had also helped raise her younger sister, found inspiration for a possible lucrative business while she was at home watching TV during the lockdowns.
“I was just watching the news one day and saw that everyone was outside in my hometown. Everyone was still outside in Chicago, like they never played by the rules. I put away my car. I put my car away because I have to feed my children,” she said.
“Like, I’m risking my life, but I had to make sure they were taken care of. So I went to Chicago and sold clothes in my car,” she said, adding that she does pretty well on weekends.
“I was clearing at least $1,000 a day. So, I did amazing things there, I constantly saved,” she said.
Nonetheless, Warfield began to tire of the grind.
“The problem I had, I found I was chasing the money. You know, I woke up, I barely saw my kids because I was still in Chicago. And it was constantly chasing and in pursuit of sales,” she said.
“So I decided in February of this year that I didn’t want to do this anymore, that I had to rename my business and figure out how to present my business in front of customers who wanted to see my business. Customers are chasing me instead of me chasing customers,” she said.
Warfield began analyzing its analytics and researching the best days and times to maximize online publishing. As a result, she was able to determine the days of the week to get the most sales in her area.
“So if I know I’m making the most sales in that part of the world on a Friday, I’m going to pay for ads for that part of the world,” she added.
She went from struggling to earn $700 in a month to earning around $6,000 a month online after trying it out.
“I didn’t leave my house, I was with my children, I felt like life was good. Let me see if I can double that next month. I made about $8,000 in May and $11,000 in June. In August, I was making about $20,000. And once I started making $20,000, I obviously outgrew my house,” she said.
The entire other side of his duplex was filled with inventory. At that point, she began to question her next steps. Either way, I’ll have to pay for storage. Or should I just open a store? Anyway, I’m a monthly expense,” she said.
Warfield began researching locations in Ontario, then contacted and spoke with the manager of the Richland Mall, who showed him the current suite occupied by the business.
“I liked the mirrors. I liked the space,” she said, calling it unique.
For mall-goers, who may feel like they’re experiencing a bit of deja vu when they come to see what’s on at the store, the business is housed in the original space that was once owned by retailer Bath and Body Works.
Although there is no sign of the former retailer who moved to the other side of the mall, there are reminders of Warfield, who is also the face of the company. An area of a wall on the right side of the store literally features a sign with a picture of his smiling face. His likeness also adorns his stunning business cards.
Upon entering, customers are greeted by walls lined with jackets and coats. There are also shelves filled with merchandise. In addition, a space with shoes and boots. Warfield also sells accessories as well as eyelashes in addition to the suits that initially helped get its business aspirations off the ground.
Customers can also shop online for swimwear and sunglasses as well as a myriad of additional clothing items for men and women. The site also offers a catalog. Click here to visit his Facebook page, in the past Warfield has offered drawings to new subscribers.