Good Tuesday morning everyone! We are now in week 3 of our Home Area Features. If you checked in to Facebook yesterday you saw that my travels took me over to Mt. Ayr last week. Specifically, to The Daily Flair! I have loved watching many new clothing and boutique shops open in our small towns over the last few years. Each town had 2 or 3 when I was young. Sadly they started dying out, just like many other businesses in our area. But shops like The Daily Flair are making a come back! Let’s get on with the feature and let me show you just how awesome this place is!
Chelsey Daily owns The Daily Flair in Mount Ayr, Iowa. She and her husband Eddie make their home in Mt. Ayr and have three children. Eastyn (6), Daxtyn (4) and Collyns (1).
When Chelsey and her husband, Eddie were first married they were living in Bondurant, IA. Shortly after the birth of their first son, they made the decision to move back home to be closer to their families. Chelsey is a Mt. Ayr native while Eddie is from Lamoni. Chelsey has a degree in Health Care Administration but found limited job opportunities in the area.
One of my first questions in my interviews is ‘How and why did you start your business?’. She said owning their own business is something she and Eddie had always talked about doing. So, in April of 2016 Chelsey bought her first batch of clothing and started selling.
Chelsey had this to say about how a little thought and prayer changed everything.
“Eddie was traveling quite a bit with his job and I was staying at home with our new baby! After prayer and thought we decided before jumping all in that we would go ahead and start very small. We lived in a little, little house and Eddie’s office room closet soon became storage for our first few runs of clothing!”
Soon after they decided that office room closet wasn’t going to cut it and they needed to find a larger space. A whole storefront in uptown Mt. Ayr is what they found! In December of that same year they rented a space and moved on in. A change of building ownership lead them to their current location.
“Keith & Jamie Miller owned the old jewelry store in town and were renovating it and it was just a total God thing that we were able to work with them to purchase our current location! Keith & Jamie own Jamie’s Coffee Mill here in town around the corner from us and Keith (Doc) is the Vet at Hilltop here in Mount Ayr -- so be sure to stop and support their wonderful business when you make a trip to Mount Ayr!”
For a while Chelsey had a few different part timers to help her out at the store. But her store was really gaining momentum so she wanted to find someone who could help out more often and take on more responsibilities with her. With a quick post on Facebook, 5 minutes to be exact, she found Chelsea Armstrong to join her.
"We have one employee who is INCREDIBLE! Chelsea and her family also moved back home a few years ago and we both have 3 children (same gender and ages!). Again, Hello God! It was meant to be! I immediately took the Facebook post down because I knew Chelsea was exactly what we needed! She has become not only a “co-worker” but my absolute BEST FRIEND and we spend a lot of time together outside of the boutique, too! We do a lot of family things together, travel, pray for one another, and so much more! Our customers love her!”
I loved my time in the store with them! So sweet and kind, they are a rare duo to find these days!
I am always interested in how owners come up with the name of their businesses. I suppose the 'Daily' in the name is obvious, but it became of play on words and perfect for a clothing boutique if you aske me! I guess it was easier than I thought!
"Honestly…Google! HaHa! I knew I wanted to incorporate Daily! I knew I could do so much with it and I just started googling “other words for style”! When I saw ‘Flair’ I knew that was it! "
I asked Chelsey to describe her shop in a few words.
"Cozy!! We have a very rustic feel with tin walls, barnboard, and industrial pipe shelving! We hope everyone that comes in feels at home and welcome in our boutique!"
And yes it is cozy! Warm sunlight coming in from the windows, a lovely smell from a scent diffuser, racks full of beautiful clothing, and gifts and accessories galore. A shoppers dream I tell ya!
Chelsey and crew take a lot of pride in the fact that they carry different lines of handmade jewelry pieces from other small business owners. Firewife Fashion, Ebloom Designs, and Purposefully Created are all lines that are made by some amazing ladies. All of these women have pieces that are each unique and represent their customer base. They have a wonderful variety. Just take a look at the possibilities!
I love shops that carry Iowa made items, and The Daily Flair is another that does! Some of the candles that they carry are hand poured in Iowa. So many lovely scents to choose from. They currently stock "Dirt Road Candle Co." of Atlantic, Iowa and "Faith & The Farmhouse" of Gowrie, Iowa.
They also carry men's gifts, because you know they love to get special gifts too! I could see that working in my house. 'I went shopping today honey, but it was for you! I just happened to find something(s) for myself while I was there. LOL!'
Items include body wash, deodorant, shave soap, snack mixes, and rubs for grilling.
And what boutique wouldn't be complete without accessories. Sunglasses, belts, wallets and I even found some super cute pillows!
There is also another sweet smiling face to see in the shop a few days a week. Beth Larsen of Clearfield owns Sweet Escape Tanning & Massage. I didn't get back there to photograph, but let me tell you I have had a massage from Beth. She is awesome and has a very relaxing room tucked away in the back!
"We are so happy to also have Beth Larsen with Sweet Escape Tanning & Massage in the boutique with us! Beth and I both rented sections of the building our old location was at and when we had to relocate we were both crushed! We wanted to stay together but didn’t know if we could make it happen! With lots of hard work we built some walls in the back of the boutique for her to continue her business with us and we have a blast working together!"
Beth has one tanning bed, a full service massage therapy menu, and also offers spray tans. Beth is also a certified Essential Bodywear specialist and can help fit you to the perfect bra while you are there.
I make a point to ask each of these businesses one big question. How are you overcoming the difficulties of owning a shop in a rural area? Chelsey had this to say about that.
"We live in a very small, rural community. Something that we are working towards is getting the word out about how many amazing shops we have in town for groups to make day trips for shopping and lunch out! We are very lucky to have amazing business owners in town to provide us with more than a lot of other surrounding towns have."
Another great way Chelsey stays competitive in her market is by having a purchasing website. I arrived an hour before they opened that morning and she was already busy packing orders for shippment that came in through the last evening and night.
"In 2018 we launched a website and we now ship all over the US coast to coast! We have a lot of repeat customers states away that we have never even met but I feel like I really know them! All our customers (in store or online) are so special to us and thank you will never be enough. They mean the world to us!"
It is very evident that these ladies care very much for their store and all of their customers. Chelsey even went on to say that the best part of owning a shop in a small town was that these customers become like family to them. Hop on their facebook page and it will be obvious. They are on almost daily with updates and specials and most all responses are more like chatting with an old friend :)
I asked her to share a fun story with all of us. I bet there are many but here is just one that has to do with all of the friendly small town help.
"Well, when we first opened our first location one of my racks fell out of the wall while my husband was out of town a few days before our opening day! Talk about a major meltdown from me! Friends to the rescue!!
What's Next for The Daily Flair?
Hopefully Spring is going to be here VERY soon. I am NOT a fan of winter. So I was curious when they might be stocking their spring/summer items. They have started to roll out some items already. She mentioned that it's hard when we have those wonderful negative Iowa temperatures though! But they do have some in stock especially for those that take winter trips where is sun is actually shining!
I love to see if a store has plans for something more. Bigger? Better? More? I always wonder just how far a small town entrepreneur can go! Ahhhh but she didn't want to quite let on just yet...
"…..stay tuned we always have something different in the works, but there is one thing we are really focusing on in 2020 and can’t wait to share!"
I want to thank Chelsey, Eddie, Chelsea and Beth for having me and being patient with a camera in their faces :) If you haven't been into their store or even ventured over to Mount Ayr lately, you really should. It's a wonderful place with caring people to help you find what you need.
They have many ways to get in touch and visit them!