My Biz: Combining fashion, furniture proves successful for Mount Vernon shop

Scarlett Boutique owner's new focus revives business

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By R’becca Groff, correspondent

Tasha Erickson knew it was time to step out of the box and try something new with her successful clothing boutique.

“Scarlett Boutique has been here for nine years,” she said, “and when I opened, it was strictly a boutique with women’s clothing, jewelry and other accessories.”

But when a lull in that end of the business became apparent, the added focus of repainted and updated furniture proved a smart move.

Everything inside her shop is for sale, from the “modern vintage” women’s fashions — as she describes them — to the freshly repainted and designed furniture from days past that share space in the updated boutique.

Erickson named the furniture side of the business REVIVED. It not only describes what she does with the old worn pieces of furniture, but what it did for her business overall.

“I have an aunt who loves to renovate and revive furniture and she really encouraged me in this,” she said. “She was very good at this kind of stuff, so she’s taught me a little and we started adding a few pieces at a time. They kept selling, and the more we added, the more attention we were getting from people.”

Erickson said she has always been on the handy side, so it was a natural fit to move into renovating and painting vintage furniture.

The women’s fashions in the store include unique women’s tops, sweaters, jeans and accessories that are found in the typical mall stores and blend in nicely with the store’s new theme.

“My inventory is ever changing,” she explained. “We only get six to eight of each item, so my customers won’t meet themselves walking down the street. When the item is gone, it’s gone.”

Erickson said her customers like that because they are seeing something new every week.

“I try to keep my furniture pieces priced reasonably, and that goes for the clothing as well,” she added. “I want to keep things moving out the door.”

Erickson said her family plays a key role in locating the unique pieces of furniture from the 40s, 50s and 60s that she reworks using chalk paint, a type of paint that gives furniture the flat finish vintage feel that is popular with younger homeowners.

“We go to the St. Charles Flea Market in Illinois to find our pieces, as well as estate sales around the area,” she said.

Friends and family have jumped on board in her search for interesting pieces.

“It’s become a team effort,” she laughed. “They’ll be out browsing and send me pictures from somewhere — ‘just saw this — do you want it?’”

While REVIVED does not do consignments, Erickson does do custom work, charging an hourly rate plus the cost of the supplies for a particular piece. “They can pick the paint color and the style for what they want done.”

She hosts a special shopping girls’ night out event at the store about every six weeks, serving wine and munchies and offering discounts on the fashions in stock.

“It runs from 5 to 8 o’clock on those Thursday evenings,” she said, adding that she posts the specials and details of the offerings for those nights on her Facebook page.

AT A GLANCE

Owner: Tasha Erickson

Address: 110 First St. SW, Mount Vernon

Phone: (319) 895-0500

Website: www.thescarlettboutique.com

l Know a company in business for more than a year that would make a good My Biz? Contact George C. Ford at George.Ford@thegazette.com

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