Jean Marie’s Boutique offers class (and sass) on a budget
By: Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
Jean Marie’s Boutique is a dream come true for Bonnie Barker and her mother, Debbie Jenkins. The duo have wanted to start their own business for a while, and the end result of that dream – named for Barker’s grandmother – tries to offer a little bit of something for everyone, from casual clothing to fancier fare, and from gift items and books to home decor.
“It’s something we’ve kind of always wanted to do is start our own business, but we never really had the funding to do it,” explained Barker. “But we kind of decided to just go ahead and take the plunge and do it, and so far it’s been going really well. Trying to just offer a variety of things to people at a lower price.”
They held their ribbon cutting and grand opening last Wednesday, and in that time they’ve already sold out several of the clothing items, and had to place two more replacement orders.
“We’ve already had to order new clothes,” Barker said.
She said the gift side of things, particularly bereavement gifts, have also gone well.
“Word’s gotten out about our bereavement gifts. We hate that it happens, but we’ve been able to deliver several of those already,” she said.
They offer free delivery of bereavement gifts to funeral homes in the Olive Hill area, and will deliver to Grayson and Morehead as well for a small fee.
They also sell “unique furniture pieces” and other home decor items. Many of the furniture pieces are designed and built by Barker’s husband, or refinished and updated by him from pieces that are found at flea markets, auctions and estate sales. They’ve already sold many of the pieces that are currently on display in the store, but hope to have new items soon.
“We’re focusing on unique furniture pieces, redoing all of those, and we hope to expand every aspect in the store,” she said.
“We plan on having some one-of-a-kind things,” she said of her husband’s furniture building. “He’s working on some Kentucky signs right now. There’s really nothing else like it in Olive Hill, to just stop in if you need a coffee mug or a candle for a quick gift.”
On the clothing end of things, she noted that they “got a little bit of a lot of different sizes,” but based on customer feedback so far they are looking at adding more dress type clothing, of the type that would be appropriate for church or work wear, and also looking at adding more plus-size items as well.
If it seems eclectic, it is, but the inspiration for the store comes from its namesake, Jean Marie.
“My grandmother’s name was Bonnie Jean Marie,” Barker explained. “She was kind of the hero in the family. Kind of kept us all together. So when we were thinking of a name, we were brainstorming back and forth, and when we said Jean Marie’s it was just, that was it. And she was kind of classy on a budget, and that’s kind of what we modeled the store after.”
“There’s a picture of her there,” Barker said, indicating a young lady in a black and white photo, teasingly showing off a bit of her knee beneath a stylish patterned dress. “As you can tell she’s a little classy and sassy.”
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