HER Style

The Sentinel-Record - HER - Hot Springs - - Contents - Story by Lind­sey Wells, pho­tog­ra­phy by Richard Ras­mussen

Twenty-year-old col­lege stu­dent Brandy Roark opened Sim­plic­ity Bou­tique at 3539-E Cen­tral Ave. in mid-Septem­ber and has quickly be­come known for her af­ford­able prices and com­mu­nity aid. She is work­ing on earn­ing a busi­ness de­gree from UALR.

What made you de­cide to open a bou­tique?

Brandy Roark: It’s kind of a long story, but I’m only 20 years old and I was in col­lege and I orig­i­nally started off go­ing to col­lege in town and then I trans­ferred to UALR to fin­ish my busi­ness de­gree. I felt like I was kind of wast­ing my time in a class­room so I fig­ured that I could be mak­ing money while do­ing class­work, so I take on­line classes now and do all my work while I sit up here and run a store.

What kind of mer­chan­dise do you sell?

BR: I have cloth­ing, so tops, dresses, jeans, pants, shoes, and then I also have some home goods. I’ve only been open a month so I guess this is kind of pro­jected — I do have bath stuff like soap, scrubs, bath grits, which are kind of like bath salts, just a dif­fer­ent name. Can­dles, that kind of thing, but I will also have some fur­ni­ture, dé­cor, small gifts and lit­tle knick­knacks. And then my grand­fa­ther; I sell some of his jel­lies and honey and that kind of thing.

What are your best sell­ing items?

BR: I would say cardi­gans, pre­par­ing for the fall. It kind of just de­pends. I would say cardi­gans and comfy, loos­e­fit­ting tees, like the dressier ones. V-necks, slouchy, comfy, cute tops.

What are some of the cur­rent fash­ion trends?

BR: Com­fort­able, slouchy, and that’s what I go for. I started with tar­get­ing my age group but I re­al­ized I should be tar­get­ing older women, too, be­cause they don’t have any­where to shop, so I try to hit the teens up to all ages. Comfy, laid back, but dressy. It kind of goes with the name — sim­ple cloth­ing.

What has been the best part of own­ing your own busi­ness so far?

BR: I’m a peo­ple per­son. I do dis­counts with Na­tional Park Col­lege and the lo­cal schools like Lake Hamil­ton, Lake­side, and I also do Henderson stu­dents. If they have their col­lege IDs I give them all 15 per­cent off. So I guess I would say help­ing the com­mu­nity with more af­ford­able cloth­ing, as

long as they have their ID. I coach vol­ley­ball, like a trav­el­ing vol­ley­ball team. I’m re­ally in­volved in the com­mu­nity so that’s why I tar­get those girls, plus I’m in col­lege so I know it’s hard to spend $40 per item at a nor­mal bou­tique in town, so my price range is com­pletely dif­fer­ent. They’re more $35-55, and I’m like $20-35. The most ex­pen­sive item would be jeans, and that’s like $55 or so. I try to be way more af­ford­able.

What has been the hard­est part?

BR: Be­ing so young. It’s kind of hard know­ing the busi­ness back­ground of it. My fam­ily owns busi­nesses in Hot Springs, as well, so I kind of have a back­ground and more knowl­edge about it, but def­i­nitely the whole as­pect of taxes and li­censes and things and just not know­ing be­cause I’m so young.

Do you have any ad­vice for other young women who want to open a busi­ness?

BR: If they have some­thing in mind, to go for it, be­cause it never hurts to try. If you fail, what do you re­ally have to lose? At least you tried. For young women, re­ally, if you have your heart set to some­thing, or your mind set, as long as it’s fi­nan­cially pos­si­ble, don’t be scared be­cause a lot of women are in­tim­i­dated. I’ve heard so many sto­ries since I’ve been open about, ‘Oh, I would love to do this but I’m so scared.’ Be­ing a woman, you get in­tim­i­dated eas­ier be­cause not a lot of women are able to go out and do things on their own and that’s just our cul­ture. I’ve al­ways said to just go out and it’ll never hurt to try.

Where do you see your busi­ness in the fu­ture?

BR: I changed my ma­jor from Busi­ness En­trepreneur­ship and In­no­va­tion to just a nor­mal, ba­sic de­gree now be­cause it re­ally wasn’t worth it for me, be­cause I al­ready kind of knew how to do a lot of things and I didn’t re­ally need the mar­ket­ing side of it be­cause I’m not look­ing to work in a huge com­pany or do any­thing like that; it’s mostly just things on the side, side jobs on my own. I would say this is more of a hobby than any­thing. I en­joy it, I’m do­ing it for my­self, I’m do­ing it while I’m in col­lege so if it takes off — I want to have it as long as I can but, re­ally, it’s just to do while I’m in col­lege as a fun lit­tle side job. I sit up here, do my class­work and make a few bucks on the side. But if it takes off — I hope it does — then hope­fully I can pro­vide and stay open and ex­pand and do a lit­tle bit more un­der­neath my name. Right now it’s just Sim­plic­ity — I didn’t tie in any­thing else, it’s just Sim­plic­ity so that I could ex­pand in the fu­ture if I needed to.

Sim­plic­ity owner Brandy Roark

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