Owner of Mount Vernon's Scarlett Boutique revitalizes her business

Tasha Erickson, owner, prepares items for a chalk paint event at Scarlett Boutique in Mount Vernon on Tuesday, Jun. 20, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Tasha Erickson, owner, prepares items for a chalk paint event at Scarlett Boutique in Mount Vernon on Tuesday, Jun. 20, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

Tasha Erickson hit a turning point a few years ago.

She was a single parent raising two teenage boys while running a clothing boutique with jewelry and accessories called Scarlett Boutique that had flatlined.

“That’s why I decided I had to start changing things,” she said. “They got more expensive.”

For a hobby, Erickson enjoyed restoring found objects in her down time, often furniture. They’d come from flea markets and family members who started to learn her taste.

She would then take the restored furniture — dressers, shelves, end tables and other items — and use them to display merchandise in the store.

Customers, though, were more interested in the furniture than the merchandise. So she started putting price tags on furniture, and the pieces kept selling.

“They were selling like crazy, so I started adding more and more and more,” Erickson said, noting she added knobs and moldings.

The restored furniture was one part of the change.

The second was adding chalk paint, which has a chalky finish, dries very quickly and comes in a wide variety of colors. It works well for creating an aged, distressed look.

More specifically, Scarlett Boutique become a retailer of Annie Sloan, which is a favored brand for this style of paint.

Retailers are spread out to have a wide territory, Erickson said, which helps draw customers from all over Eastern Iowa to her store.

“The last two years really changed everything for me,” Erickson said. “Adding furniture brought in a new customer, and adding paint brought in a whole new customer.”

Joe Jennison, director of Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Development Group, applauded the success.

“She reinvented herself and her business,” Jennison said.

The boutique still carries clothes, accessories and jewelry, but also offers furniture, paint, classes and events such as wine night workshops.

“I am now reaching more people,” she said. “I’m much busier than I’ve ever been.”

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Scarlett Boutique

WHERE: 110 First Ave. SW, Mount Vernon

HOURS: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

DETAILS: (319) 895-0500, thescarlettboutique.com

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