This is the first interview in our series highlighting the makers and designers of our favorite southern brands. Deep South Social sat down with Heather Quinn, the owner of Louette Boutique, to discuss her thoughts on entrepreneurship, inspiration, and tradition. This lifestyle boutique is situated on the idyllic Hilton Head Island where Heather calls home.
What inspired you to open your own small business?
While working in marketing in Atlanta after college, I had the opportunity to create relationships with many different types of businesses-- big and small. As a person who has always worked a "million" jobs at a time, I got involved with event planning and worked with some local boutiques. I became inspired by shops that were their own little world, once you stepped through the door you were in a different place. I loved the idea of opening a lifestyle boutique. Fast-forward about six years... some tough life experiences led my husband to say, "why don't you do what you have been talking about for the past few years and work on opening a shop?” So... I did (with his total support and love). My inspiration for the look and feel of the shop came from my Grandmother, Louette. She has always been beautiful, classy and a bit complicated. "Grandy" was never the grandmother waiting with hot chocolate chip cookies for us growing up. Rather she was the Grandmother that spoke about great achievements and going out and "doing". Starting a business has been the scariest, most rewarding and most frustrating process I have ever been a part of, but all of those feelings keep me going and "doing".
What was your initial vision for Louette?
My vision for Louette has always been to create a shopping experience, and not just sell "things". Everything in the shop has been carefully thought out from our clothing racks made from reclaimed doors circa 1920, to our lines that include an array of familiar brands mixed with local and regional designers. My Grandmother, whom the shop is named after, is an artist. I keep the creative aspect of running a business at the forefront of my decision-making. We handcraft the majority of our displays and work really hard to create a space that is inviting yet inspiring. We want anyone, no matter your age or background, to find that perfect, special "something" at Louette.
Who gives you inspiration? Where do you see Louette in the future?
I am extremely lucky to have an army of creative and strong women around me. My grandmother's style and mother's work ethic have shaped my vision for Louette. I am also really lucky to have close friends in the business that have been mentors for me. She would not like me giving her a 'shout out', but my dear friend Jessica owner and designer of Breathless Paper Co. has been a huge support for me. Everyone needs a cheerleader and she has been that for me.
Louette is ever evolving. My hope for the future is that we keep changing and evolving-- I think our Louette customers like being part of the journey. I would love to expand the number the independent and local designers we carry in the shop. My belief is that it's imperative to support local artists-- it builds the local economy and community-- not to mention there are so many talented folks out there with amazing ideas and goods to share.
Why do you carry southern made goods?
I get super awe-struck by anyone that can create and turn that creation into a business! Many of the Southern designers we work with are women who own their own business-- which is amazing. These women inspire me to work harder and just when I think I can't manage my business while having babies (literally), my family I come across an amazing product that has been designed by a "momprenuer" from the South. It keeps me on my toes and keeps me motivated!
What is your favorite southern food, tradition, and town?
My favorite southern tradition comes from the Lowcountry-- there is nothing better than a good Lowcountry boil! I have lived on Hilton Head Island for over eight years now and have truly fallen in love with the mystique of the Lowcountry. From the Spanish moss to the water, it is a truly beautiful place to call home.
Louette’s creative approach to retail creates a wonderfully unique experience for every customer. We are truly thankful that Heather opened up her store to us to discuss her traditions, stories, and perspective. We look forward to seeing how Heather will continue the Louette name.