The charm of local boutiques is that each shop tells a story and is curated in a unique way. Meet Tamara Netsch of Shine Boutique, hear her story, and peek into the life of this fashionably local boutique owner.
Tamara Netsch: SHINE BOUTIQUE
OWNER SINCE: May 31st, 2016
Have you always loved fashion?
My mom and dad both love fashion and each has inspired me in different ways. My mom really loves jewelry which is why I gravitate to jewelry and accessories first. I’d go through her jewelry boxes when I was little. She had a non-traditional style that I consider very gypsy-bohemian. She was very much her own person which I appreciate more today than back then. She’d discover these obscure pop-up places and flea markets and we’d dig through and find amazing things.
My dad was a shopper and very into fashion. I remember him telling me that someday I’d become a buyer. At the time, I didn’t know what that meant, so when he explained it to me I thought, yes I’d like to do that!
How did you get started in the business?
When I was fifteen Melanie Bascom (owner of the former Melanie’s Boutique) hired me to work in her Columbia, Missouri shop. I grew up in Columbia and she had a boutique there in addition to the one in Frontenac. I eventually moved to St. Louis and worked in her store here. When I moved to Minnesota with my husband, Melanie referred me to the owner of a local shop that had four locations and had been in business for over sixty years. I worked at that shop for fourteen years as the apparel and accessories buyer and learned a lot about the business during that time.
When Melanie decided to retire she contacted me and asked if I’d take over her shop. Being a shop owner was my dream, so my husband and I decided to move along with our daughter back to St. Louis and work for her during the transition. I didn’t end up buying Melanie’s and I had to quickly switch gears and come up with a plan B. I’d been looking at the space where my shop is currently to move Melanie’s so this is how Shine came about.
The customers of Melanie’s knew me as the person who was taking over the shop, so when it closed and I opened, there was some confusion. I’ve had to work really hard to be true to Shine but not disappoint the customers that we’ve gained from Melanie’s.
I’m incredibly grateful that the wonderful women who worked at Melanie’s are now working at Shine with me. I’ve known these ladies for most of my life, so I really trust them. The were invaluable during the transition.
What is the idea behind the name Shine?
Because of the change in situation, I had to act fast. Coming up with a name is like getting a tattoo. You really want to think it through before you do it. Unfortunately I didn’t have the luxury of time, but the name Shine kept coming back to me in my head. It was important that the name had a positive vibe and it worked because when you feel good, you shine!
What is the favorite part of your job?
When we first moved here my preteen daughter said, “Mom, you are doing your dream job!” but I don’t think I would have opened my own shop had I not been pushed by the turn of events with Melanie’s. My favorite part is definitely working with customers. You really get to know people when they shop with you and I’m definitely a people person.
What are you most excited about with Shine?
The store has been evolving since we opened. I like to think that we have something for everyone with a mix of price points and styles. Right now I’m most excited about the pop-ups that we’ve had to showcase local designers. It’s a win-win because we are supporting each other. The trunk shows keep things new and fresh in the store. They give me a great read on what people like and what will sell. We’ve gotten to test market several of our new lines this way. Our trunk show with Mark Jenkins Footwear was so successful that we now carry this local brand in the store!
What is your style?
A little bohemian and little gypsy.
What would you be doing if you didn’t own the shop?
I’d still be in retail because I love it and I love working with people. Maybe I’d stand outside dressing rooms and hold people’s babies while they try on clothes and give them style advice. I guess my title would be “babysitter stylist”.
What is your advice for anyone wanting to open up a boutique?
Even though I’ve worked in retail for most of my life, it’s such a different animal when it’s your own. I think it’s important to get to know your customers in order to understand what they want. Keep your head up, because there will be bad days. Be open to change and be prepared to evolve and grow, all while staying true to who you are as a store.