Last year, we wrote about Worcester County native, Nicole Chamberlain and her new online shop, Back East Boutique. Fast forward almost exactly one year, and now Nicole, and Back East Boutique, have found a permanent home right here in West Ocean City. We are so excited for these adorable Boho-chic fashions to make their way to Maryland! When we spoke to Nicole last year, there were no plans for a brick-and-mortar location, so what’s happened since then? Some might call it fate.
Like we said, Nicole has never planned on having a physical store. She initiated her online business with no goals or expectations, having never run an online boutique in the past. From inception, she just knew it was a passion of hers and whatever happened, happened. Her first year in business was very successful. She told us, “I enjoyed getting back into fashion and was loving the experience of working for myself.”
The store, as it turned out, was more of an impulse decision. “I was doing pop-ups, lugging all of my stuff to festivals and events. The events could be as little as a small rack at a local bar or as large as a 3,000 person wine festival with tables for all my jewelry, racks of clothing, and a portable changing room,” Nicole continued. “I really wanted a place for my things to shine, and I was quickly outgrowing my small office space at home.” With one possible store location in mind, she told herself if this spot didn’t work out, it wasn’t meant to be. The same day she found out that she wasn’t getting the location she had in mind, a friend reached out to her. The friend asked if she wanted first dibs on her soon-to-be-available studio. The irony in all of this, is that she hadn’t even told anyone she was looking for a physical location. Preparing herself to be disappointed once more, Nicole went over to the studio to take a look.
“I was floored,” Nicole reminisced. The style of the building fit perfectly with Back East Boutique’s branding and the design in the floor tiles even matched the logo. “There was nothing to think about.” And, the next thing you know, after everything was said and done, they were left with only four days to move in. They had custom shelving made from reclaimed barn wood, and the rest of the spot was already perfectly decorated, everything fit together perfectly.
Nicole’s goal with Back East Boutique is to keep up with the latest trends, offering a whole new rack of fresh arrivals every Friday. Nicole tries to go to tradeshows at least twice a year so she can stay in the know and see what’s happening in the fashion industry. She works diligently to offer larger sizes, as well, so the boutique can truly offer something for everyone. Next up, Nicole plans to stock the shelves above the racks with cute gifts and fun decorative items. The number one objective, however, is quality. She has received new items at the store and sent them back because she didn’t feel that the quality of the item was up to par. Working really hard to find affordable items, Nicole wants to make sure she’s offering a good quality product for that price point.
The main reason Nicole enjoyed pop-ups is that she loved working with people and she loved to see their faces light up when they tried something on. This new store will allow her to do just that on a daily basis. Although, not to fear, the online store is going nowhere so you can still shop from the comfort of your own home as often as you’d like. But, if you want to come try on that cute dress before purchasing, you can pop in to the store at 9752 Stephen Decatur Highway any time! Join them on June 19th at 5 PM for their ribbon cutting with the Ocean City Chamber of Commerce or check out their first Sip & Shop (complete with complimentary wine!) a 4 PM on June 21st, we promise you won’t be disappointed!
For a quick link to the store, please click here!