In one short year, Bloem Kind, a Ladies and Girls Apparel Shop, has blossomed.
"We started last year and thought we would do an online boutique. We had no intention of doing a retail store," explained owner Rachel Carlton.
However, Carlton's dream, thanks to community support, evolved from working the expo circuit, to now having a large retail location at The Mill at Lebanon.
"We were doing expos and people said, 'Where can we find your store? Please don't go away.' We moved into a 400-square-foot space in The Mill and thought we would see how it goes. We had a phenomenal December and moved into this space in February," Carlton said. "We grew our store from two racks to this. It has been a huge blessing."
Part of Bloem Kind's appeal is its feminine, flowy merchandise that looks good on all body types. That's right, all body types.
Bloem Kind carries sizes from small to large and extra-large to 3X thanks to Carlton's personal experiences clothes shopping after having her daughter, Alexis, now 7.
"After I had Alexis I wore an extra-large in clothes. I'm a Nurse Practitioner by trade. I couldn't walk into a boutique anywhere and find an extra-large. If I could, it would be on one little rack that was picked over. I wanted boutique-quality clothes that I could wear that was at a reasonable price," she explained. "We found a number of vendors who carry extra-large and up and found our niche with that."
Just don't refer to that niche as "plus size" clothing. Carlton prefers the term "curvy clothing."
"When you get into curvy clothing, as we like to call it, it is very common for them not to fit properly. It may say 3X, but fit more like an XL. We try to pick up brands that have a good fit," she said. "We want women to feel good about what they are wearing."
In addition to quality clothing, Bloem Kind offers accessories, shoes, and gift items. They have the local contract for Toms - stylish footwear which donates a pair of shoes to someone in need for every pair purchased.
"We carry those in ladies sizes, as well as youth sizes," Carlton said.
Carlton's mother, Amanda Baird, is her partner at Bloem Kind.
Baird said it was important to them when opening the store to offer some local products.
"One of the things we wanted to do was to give local artisans a venue to sale their goods We have several things made by local artisans, rather than picking up gift lines from Market," Baird said.
These include lines like Maple Hill Beard, based in Murfreesboro. Maple Hill Beard offers beard butter, T-shirt and candles. According to Carlton, new Maple Hill Beard products are coming soon.
"We also have a local gentleman here in Lebanon who makes wood items - wine bottle stoppers, pens," she said. "He is about to bring in some Christmas ornaments."
Baird and Carlton are both passionate about using their success to give back. They've supported human trafficking survivors as well as ladies whose lives have gotten "a little off-track" by dressing them for job interviews and more.
Visit Bloem Kind at The Mill in Lebanon Tuesday thru Friday, 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.
Staff Writer Sabrina Garrett may be contacted at email@example.com.