The thing I love about boutiques is the intimacy. Unlike large department stores and chain retailers, there’s the advantage of a customized shopping experience, your chances of running into your piece elsewhere are slim to none, and you have an opportunity to really find clothes that bring you joy But, the best perk is getting to know the owner.
This happened to me when I visited Divas and Diamond Boutiques located on 3939 South Sherwood Forest, Ste A. The owner, Venice Holiday, is certainly dedicated to making sure you look your best but she also has values and charm that will easily make her one of your favorite people.
I think you should get to know her.
Venice is a native of Baton Rouge and she’s been in the business for five years. “I was blessed with this business 5 years ago from my good friend.”
Choosing the name of the shop: “My friend, Rochelle Williams – Mason, gave me the business 5 years ago and it was just ‘Divas.’ When she gave me the business I didn’t want to take ‘Divas’ off so I added my grandbaby’s name, Diamond.” Venice says of a name that represents good friendship and family.
Her idea of ladies style: You dress to impress! “Something sexy but nothing overexposed.”
What does the brand represent: Tastefulness. “Contemporary with a flair.”
What types of people visit the shop: Teachers, policewomen, ministers – the scale is large. “I recently retired as a teacher so lots of my customers are former and current educators.”
How she picks her pieces: Research!
“I try to look at what’s current, in magazines. And I watch a lot of popular shows, like Empire. And TV personalities to see what they wear. For example, I watched Black Girls Rock and Gladys Knight had on a necklace with medium and large pearls that I sold.”
Getting into roadshows: Again…research!
“I just started looking for conferences and festival online.
What she really likes about her job: Giving advice on how to accessorize.
“What I really, REALLY enjoy about what I do, especially on the road, is that a lot of ladies don’t know how to accessorize their jewelry with their clothes. I do jewelry consultation.”
She also offers private showing at the customers’ home. “It makes them feel special. I want them to feel that. ”
Who is on her team: Usually she’s a one woman army but when times call for extra muscle she calls in her husband and a friend.
“I’m a loner mainly and very particular but when I need him, my husband is my set up guy. And there is Natasha. She has a great personality. She knows how to sale, she’s very approachable and knows how to approach people. She’s been in retail for a long time. She calls me ‘Mom.’ I do Mistletoe Market, a two-day show at the Belle of Baton Rouge, and she helps me there when I need two people.”
How she feels about social media: Don’t just “like” it and get in there and BUY it!
“Social media is good but sometimes I get frustrated. My daughter says I have to post something every day and I get that, but it’s frustrating not seeing every day results after I take out my time to share things online.”
Putting family first: What I love most about Divas and Diamonds is its family element.
“I have my grandchildren involved in the small day-to-day operations at the shop so they will know what having their own businesses entails. I let them help rearrange the merchandise, sweep the floors, label items. I’m still teaching. I will always be a teacher no matter where I go. Teaching doesn’t necessarily have to be in a classroom, it’s just sharing with others.”
Advice to entrepreneurs: Fear nothing and try everything you can think of.
“You don’t know until you try it. I did a roadshow in Lake Charles last year, in November. It was very disorganized. When I called for details all they said was, ‘just be here for 4 o’clock.’ My husband and I walk in, everybody is already setup and they didn’t have a table or place for me. Finally, they place me across from a business from Opelousas, which was RIGHT at the door of the conference. The man across from me never spoke until when everyone is coming out of the conference some people remembered me from a previous year. The man says, ‘She comes here late but everybody goes to her booth!’ But that motivated me. Sometimes you don’t know what you are walking into but personality, proper merchandise, inviting display and fearlessness are what you should try to bring into everything.”
Being able to see a business proprietor as another person reminds you that there are human beings behind your favorite clothes. You see that they have families, responsibilities, and aspirations. They make you feel special and allow you to see that you need each other. They put clothes on your back and you put clothes on theirs. And it makes your dollar feel that much more appreciated.
*Visit Divas & Diamonds on Instagram and Facebook to view their newest pieces.
Photo Credit: Tamara Williams | Model: Dynasty Jacobs