In moving to the Lowcountry 2.5 years ago, I found myself in a place that was beautiful and generally pretty friendly; but having come from a city where I spent years building friendships and getting involved, it was tough not having that “community.” Trying to figure out my business in a new place was daunting, and I felt I was forever “on.” You know what I’m talking about – that sense of smiling through the anxiety and never letting people know you’re totally FREAKING out on the inside and asking internally Pleeeeease be my friend. (And putting on pants – I didn’t go into #creativeentrepreneur to put on PANTS so much!)
In navigating the social media landscape of the area, I stumbled on a page for Gigi’s Boutique of Bluffton. Their stuff was ca-yute. And it definitely had a special touch of the Lowcountry style I was so eager to adopt. After an early morning of meetings and errands in Bluffton, I decided to pop in there and check it out.
Instantly, I felt welcomed. And relieved.
It felt familiar, cozy, and with no pretense. After so many interactions that felt stiff with a Botoxed looking smile, I felt a sense of ease walking through the door at Gigi’s. There was no judgment when I admitted I just wanted to aimlessly browse and no pressure when I eventually did take a handful of items to try on (because, c’mon). They gave me honest opinions when things jusssssst weren’t working. The “small talk” wasn’t forced or weird – I felt like they really wanted to know more about me.
And of course, THE CLOTHES. And the shoes. And the accessories.
The styles felt fun and effortless. The prints were bold and colorful while their collection of neutrals felt classic and chic. And duly impressive are the more upscale styles seamlessly paired along more youthful pieces – and price points for us gals on a budget but also to #treatyoself. I found it amazing the variety in there while also feeling so cohesively “Lowcountry chic.” I also loved they supported so many small and local brands in their store.
I began to find myself popping in there more regularly, of course to explore their new goodies (my girl Katie who works there will get you in BIG trouble with all she posts on Instagram stories) and also to get the latest on what’s going on with the ladies there and the Bluffton area in general. The more I got to know them, and specifically the owners and also sisters, Anna and Emily, I discovered more and more of the Gigi’s story.
They grew up in Bluffton, surrounded by family and loving life in the Lowcountry. However, something was missing in their little coastal community, and they saw an opportunity to bring a unique shopping experience to the area. Armed with a love of family, the community, and fashion, Gigi’s came to be. Wanting to know more, I recently had a chance to spend the morning in the store with them and ask them more about their “success story” and what they love most about what they do.
Why did you choose the Hilton Head-Bluffton area? – Bluffton was an easy choice. Being born and raised here, we wanted to open something our small town didn’t have. This town is our home.
Describe what success means to you. – We love our store, but we’re family first. Success can take on different meanings different days- getting laundry completed and dinner on the table is definitely a success to us. Making it through a challenging parenting day is success!
What is something you’re really excited about with the store? – Our 10 year anniversary is this Fall and we’re so excited! We opened in 2008, right before the recession really hit. Those were some hard times and we honestly weren’t sure if we would be able to make it. But going through all of that makes this 10 year anniversary even sweeter so we’re planning on a big Lowcountry style celebration.
If your business/store/product had a theme song, what would it be? – “Life’s a Dance” – John Michael Montgomery: Life’s a dance you learn as you go. Sometimes you lead. Sometimes you follow. Don’t worry about what you don’t know… The longer I live, the more I believe you do have to give if you want to receive. There’s a time to listen, a time to talk and you might have to crawl even after you walk.
What mantra/quote/concept has been most important to your success? – There are a few we could choose from here, but we wouldn’t be able to keep up the business without the employees. So, though it may sound simple, “treat people the way you would like to be treated.”
In collecting their answers, it confirmed what I already knew in my little blonde heart about Gigi’s: Treat everyone like family. The guests, the employees, the vendors, the mailman… y’all, when I was there that morning, they were wishing Good Morning! to the lawn people blowing the leaves outside with a big smile.
And, of course, they just “get” my favorite looks:
(*major probs to Katie M. who helped get me in-front of the camera)
Little did I know that over the course of the last 2.5 years I would be able to shop for pieces that were just perfect for events and travel, but also that I’d feel supported in my endeavors and make new friends. It truly is the best time of way to feel fabulous. Because being nice never goes out style.
Hugs & High Fives,
PS. Bonus: This scarf pattern is called “Celia” – I think it’s pretty on point. 😉