Mari Alstin never gave up on her love for fashion. After years of customer service experience, she decided to take a chance — quit her full-time job and open her own boutique, Take2Chic.
Take2Chic, located at 547 N. 20th St., carries women clothes and accessories that Alstin handpicks with the mission to provide women with stylish merchandise at an affordable price.
“I thought, ‘what could I do to give girls a way to get cute clothes and accessories at a very affordable price?’” she said. “Something local where they don’t have to go down to Market Street to grab a quick shirt — providing this store was a great avenue to give girls a quick and affordable way to go out and still have family dinner at home.”
As a new, African-American storeowner, Alstin noted there’s diversity in her customer base and a great deal of support from the neighborhood.
It was not an easy decision for Alstin to take a chance in opening her store. She previously worked for Bank of America and Marriot but eventually came to the decision to step out on a leap of faith, as she describes it.
“I’ve always wanted to do something on my own and open my own business,” she said. “I wanted to put the hard work that I’ve been putting into these Fortune 500 companies and do something for myself, with the years of training I had in customer service and my background of loving fashion.”
Alstin still currently works part-time at night while she continues to build the Take2Chic brand.
The store’s grand opening was last month on July 1 and Alstin and her team are hopeful for the store’s sustainability. The customers have been enthused and supportive of this neighborhood store, while willingly sharing their feedback on ways to build revenue and various marketing strategies.
Alstin describes the clothes and merchandise at Take2Chic as very versatile, catering to a wide range of customers.
The idea behind selling these items started with a website she created back in February. Her initial plan for Take2Chic was to have a site where customers solely bought items online. When her site didn’t get as many hits as she anticipated, she redirected her energy towards opening a store.
The meaning behind the name Take2Chic, has had a few different meanings, but now stands for the idea, “it’s so affordable, you can take two.”
Alstin wanted to make her store affordable to cater to her customers in these hard economic times.
“My customers are always extremely thrilled when they look at the price tag,” she said. “Being able to do that for the community is really fulfilling.”
Alstin believes affordability is important, especially when it comes to jewelry. She reasons, customers would be more at ease after the loss of an earring or necklace, if their purchase was inexpensive. After a conversation with a woman who called this “disposable jewelry,” Alstin decided it was important to combine style and affordability.
In an effort to reach out to the community, Alstin will host “Girls Night Out,” a wine and cheese and fashion event, at her boutique Aug. 24 at 8 p.m.
With maxi dresses, handbags and “disposable jewelry,” Alstin constantly researches recent trends to give her customers a stylish, yet affordable option.