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Celebrating Every Childhood Season: Wynnie’s Boutique

November 3, 2020

 

Two women sit side by side on the front steps of a boutique storefront, smiling at the camera.

Sarah Beth Davis, mom and lifelong resident of High Point, has always loved her hometown. But after graduating from High Point University with her graduate degree in non-profit management, serving as the Executive Director at High Point non-profit, Go Far, and starting her own family in the city, she started to see a need in High Point.

As a working mom, Sarah Beth often spent her Saturdays traveling store to store, trying to find the things she needed for her growing daughter.

“On the surface, getting cute clothes is fun,” Sarah Beth says, “But as a working mom, I couldn’t always get to Greensboro or Winston-Salem in time to visit a children’s store.”

The more she thought about this time she wasted – time she felt she could be spending with her family – she realized this gap was perfect for a new retail niche in High Point. And she wondered if she might be the one to fill it. The only problem?

“I have zilch experience in retail!” Sarah Beth laughs. “Like a big fat goose egg.”

Yet Sarah Beth couldn’t shake the feeling that she had stumbled upon a great idea, and if she didn’t act on it, someone else probably would. So she took the idea to her longtime friend and fellow High Point mom, Megan Oglesby, to get her opinion.

“Megan kept telling me, ‘You have to try,’” Sarah Beth recalls. The two spent countless hours brainstorming and dreaming up the idea in 83 Custom Coffee, which turned out to be the perfect breeding ground for inspiration.

“The small business community in uptowne High Point is amazing,” Sarah Beth says, remembering how the stretch on N. Main Street served as an inspiration to her. “Our dream was essentially built inside 83 Custom Coffee.”

Storefront of a brick building with glass door that says "Wynnie's."

Inside of children's boutique that has wicker lamps hanging overhead.

But Sarah Beth’s dream was still on pause, as she fought through what she calls “imposter syndrome,” doubting if she would be able to actually pull off what she set out to do. Then Sarah Beth turned to her own a mom – a lifelong role model for how to be a strong, working mother.

“My mom is the one that helped me to see I was more afraid of the regret I’d feel from not trying than I was afraid of trying,” Sarah Beth says. With this motivation, she decided to take another step and reach out to trusted friend and businesswoman, Katy Erickson, owner and operator of Monkee’s.

“Katy was so supportive and really taught me ‘retail 101,’” Sarah Beth says. But Katy didn’t just give Sarah Beth guidance on how to run a boutique. She introduced Sarah Beth to the last missing piece of the puzzle: a business partner.

Because while Sarah Beth dreamed of a children’s boutique, another High Point mom, Anna Cromer, had the same idea. And one day in Monkee’s, Anna shared with Katy that she wanted to start a children’s boutique despite her lack of experience. After a few phone calls to connect, Sarah Beth and Anna realized neither wanted to take on this project alone. The two met for coffee and set a plan in motion to make their ideas stronger together.

“We found a lot of solidarity in the fact that we were both coming from the same place,” Sarah Beth adds. “We were both moms. We both desperately felt the need for this in our town. And we both loved our community… We wanted to do something good for High Point.”

As self-proclaimed “retail rookies,” Sarah Beth and Anna took the obstacles of starting a business – including a global pandemic – in stride.

“We gave ourselves grace every day because nothing goes according to plan,” Sarah Beth says, “but it wasn’t enough to stop us from moving forward.”

Baby carriage sits inside of boutique.

Children's boutique with a shopping shelf display of baby bibs.

Their collective professional experiences include non-profit directing for Sarah Beth and education for Anna, and they’ve been surprised by how well their career backgrounds complement to make them the perfect retail pair. Even better, Sarah Beth and Anna realized their motivation behind this children’s boutique couldn’t be more similar.

“Having little ones can be a stressful time, but it can also be a really fun time,” Sarah Beth says. “We want people to come and get what they need so that they can get back to doing the things that are important, like spending quality time together as a family. Having this place to get what you need for your children makes those everyday moments more special, because you have more time to spend with your family really enjoying life.”

The name for their boutique came easily for the owners. Wynnie’s – the affectionate term Sarah Beth’s daughter gave to Sarah Beth’s mom – became the official moniker for the store.

“The name Wynnie’s is our ode to mothers, grandmothers, families, and the village involved in raising a child,” Sarah Beth explains.

Anna and Sarah Beth were also passionate about making Wynnie’s a place for true community to be built between that village.

“We know it had to be more than pretty clothes and pretty things,” Sarah Beth says. “It has to be about providing value and a sense of community.”

Luckily for Sarah Beth, her dream inspired so deeply by the High Point uptowne community found its home not far from where she and Megan first dreamed up the idea. Sarah Beth had been eyeing the property beside the Grassy Knoll, wondering if the owner would sublease. John, the owner, not only subleased to Wynnie’s, but created an open, shared shopping environment for his store and theirs.

“People come from out-of-town in Winston or Greensboro,” Sarah Beth says, adding that they often ask for recommendations of where else to shop. “It’s so nice to send them down the Main Street corridor.”

Sarah Beth notes the walkability of the uptowne shops, and how the growth of small businesses in the area have incited a new exploration of Main Street.

“I’m excited for the growth of the small business community now that I’m part of it,” she says. “The more we have in uptowne, the more incentive there is for people to get out and explore.”

In an age of Amazon Prime and Door Dash, it can be easy to forget the value of brick-and-mortar stores like the ones cropping up throughout High Point. But for Sarah Beth and her customers at Wynnie’s, the value of in-person shopping has only been heightened.

“The pandemic has highlighted the value of brick-and-mortar stores. I have missed personal interactions!” Sarah Beth exclaims. “To come and have personal interaction, to receive personal customer service, and to see a friendly face… That’s the value brick and mortars provide.”

Wynnie’s tagline, “A curated children’s boutique for every season of childhood,” speaks to the way Anna and Sarah Beth hope to support their customers in celebrating for years to come.

“Childhood to me is seasons,” Sarah Beth says. “Our customers have their highs and their lows, and we want to be here for every season – from the milestones to the simplicity of the ordinary days. We want to grow with families.”

So when a new mom comes in seeking advice on the right size, or when a dad comes in need of some guidance on how to spoil his daughter, or when a new grandparent comes in to buy their first grandchild a baby gift – Anna and Sarah Beth are ready to help them celebrate.

“It feels more like a service than a business to me,” Sarah Beth says of those moments. “Maybe that’s just from my experience in a non-profit for so many years, but it feels like if we’re doing that, we’re on the right track.”

The co-owners of Wynnie’s also hope that their moment of courage to take a leap of faith serves as the launchpad for more new businesses in High Point.

“We want to be the catalyst for others who have the next big idea,” Sarah Beth says. She remembers Katy’s wise words months ago as Wynnie’s was being built.

“She said the key to success is to find something no one else is doing,” Sarah Beth remembers. “Find the need and meet it. When you simplify it, it makes it more tangible, more doable, and more rewarding.”

“I didn’t want to be anywhere else,” she concludes. “And I hope others feel the same way. If you live in High Point, you don’t want to be anywhere else. You just want to take advantage of what’s here.”

Keep discovering our High Points,

The HPD Team

Find Wynnie’s online at https://wynniesboutique.com// or on Facebook.

Photography by Maria West Photography

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