The results of Sonny and Dot Boutique, a welcome new addition to Previous City previous September, was manufactured achievable in aspect by a job decline and a shared shopping practice.
“Boutique purchasing is our beloved pastime,” mentioned Amanda Kozitza, 38, who operates the manner-ahead keep with her mother, Elizabeth Mueller, 68.
With a qualifications as a youthful retail associate at Maurice’s, plus 7 several years of working experience as an office manager for a lawn care business, Kozitza was perfectly positioned to develop into an entrepreneur when the sudden transpired.
“When COVID hit and business enterprise suffered, they had been chopping back again and I lost my occupation,” Kozitza explained.
“Mom and I had constantly talked about how entertaining it would be to open up our personal store, so she reported, ‘This is a sign—we need to have to do this.’”
Kozitza and Mueller are best friends as effectively as family Kozitza adorably spills a tale depicting their partnership.
“On Monday nights, ever since I can try to remember, my dad would go to Bible review and my mom and I would go purchasing,” Kozitza said.
“If we acquired residence before him, the baggage could arrive into the home if we received household immediately after him, they stayed in the truck until finally the future working day.”
Together, Kozitza and Mueller are tempting some others to abide by their lead by building boutique buying in Mankato irresistible.
“We have women’s clothing, add-ons and footwear, and the other 50 % of our retail outlet has giftware and dwelling decor,” Kozitza mentioned.
“Offering all sizes, from XS to 3X, was critical to us. It appears that in addition-sized outfits is usually far more high priced, but we needed to carry modern products in all sizes in an array of designs and at economical prices.
“Thirteen-yr-olds to 70-year-olds are at ease searching with us simply because we’re large on wide range and affordability.”
Kozitza implies it she’s a 30-something, Mueller is in her late 60s and Kozitza’s own 13-12 months-aged daughter freely gives a Gen Z perspective.
“We’ve acquired the generations coated,” explained Kozitza, a 2002 Mankato West High College graduate.
Heading into spring, Kozitza states bright hues are incredibly hot.
“It’s been entertaining to changeover from winter neutrals into the brilliant spring lines,” explained Kozitza, mentioning that pastels are current—and Sonny and Dot is also highlighting a “super cute” warm-pink blazer she claims would boost any wardrobe.
No 1 requires to encourage devoted Sonny and Dot client Brittany Bowman, of Mankato, to end by she’s been all-in because Mueller and Kozitza broke floor with an on the web store in January 2021.
“I was their first purchaser,” claimed 38-yr-old Bowman. “I’ve supported Amanda’s desire from working day a person and I’m a walking billboard for Sonny and Dot with the dresses I wear and the store postcards I give out.
“They have a full assortment of dimensions and there are so several kinds to select from.”
The reasonably rapid success of Sonny and Dot’s on the net shop led the mother-daughter duo to find a brick-and-mortar website.
“Over the summer season, we hunted for a area and this was the final spot we appeared,” stated Kozitza of the new storefront they landed at 511 North Riverfront Push, Suite 10, in the coronary heart of Mankato’s Old Town.
They really like the area and have taken more steps to lure prospects, apart from retaining an online existence and getting common retail outlet hrs five times each individual week.
“We provide just after-hrs ‘Sip and Shop’ get-togethers for private groups, usually of 10 to 20 folks,” Kozitza claimed.
The store homeowners supply a personalized-to-preference charcuterie board, attendees are invited to provide drinks of their alternative, and Kozitza and Mueller participate in host as women casually shop, cling out and get pleasure from each and every other’s firm for a pair of several hours.
“We’ve experienced teams in for birthdays, bachelorette functions and girls’ evenings out,” reported Kozitza, mentioning that social gathering hosts acquire discounted premiums based mostly on the amount of money of revenue rung up in the course of their collecting.
Seasonal, nearby appears
This spring, Sonny and Dot has stocked swimwear (unusual for boutiques, Kozitza reported), a “nice line” of footwear, sandals and slippers ranging from casual to unique-celebration styles and “a ton” of new dresses for warm-weather months.
“A whole lot of women from the colleges have been in hunting for graduation dresses, and we also have dresses you can wear to the seashore, for a day evening or to a marriage ceremony,” Kozitza explained.
Kozitza and Mueller make a concerted energy to locate clothing, add-ons and giftware that are U.S. products and solutions, if not locally or Minnesota-designed.
“We check out to preserve it community, but a ton of times that’s hard with garments,” she reported.
And Sonny and Dot demonstrates Mankato-flavored flair.
“They have definitely cute ‘Kato’ sweatshirts and long-sleeved shirts, and a hat that has ‘507’ on it,” claimed an additional appreciative purchaser, 45-12 months-old Kelly Miller.
“I enjoy the Kato attire and other primary objects since I’m a Mankato supporter, and it is interesting to see Aged Town have these great shops.
“You can halt at a person, wander down the road, get a espresso and store some additional.”
Miller is also a lover of the store’s selling price position, which she says is in the mid to reduce variety among area boutiques.
Kozitza and Mueller’s Sonny and Dot partnership is produced attainable by the intersection of their collective ability sets, which contain Mueller’s ordeals as longtime bookkeeper for the family farm and her decades as a pharmacy technician blended with Kozitza’s retail operate and youthful generation computer savvy.
“We dove in, did a lot of research and went to trade displays,” said Kozitza of the gearing up approach.
“And the good news is, mainly because a good deal of Aged Town companies are females-owned, there’s a actually pleasant neighborhood of aid below.”
And how about that identify?
As stated on their web site (sonnyanddot.com, in a natural way), Sonny and Dottie had been her dad’s (Jeff Mueller) aunt and uncle, who lifted him at their Springfield farm when spouse and children circumstances expected their assistance.
“They were the sort of real, down-home farm folk who considered relatives was almost everything and that difficult get the job done was an vital worth,” shared Kozitza of the late couple.
“About 10 many years ago, Mom and I were strolling via a store, joking about what our store’s identify might be, and we mentioned ‘Sonny and Dot.’
“The title is our tribute to them, and they are normally with us in spirit. They ended up these types of good people and I want they were being all-around to see their names in lights at the keep.”
Honoring her fantastic-aunt and good-uncle, Kozitza displays an attitude of gratitude for the boutique’s keep track of file to day.
“We’ve experienced such an wonderful response from our consumers, and when I see returning clients appear in with smiles on their faces, it warms my coronary heart and places a smile on my face, too,” she stated.
“I watch absolutely everyone who comes in as a new friend who is far more than just a buyer to me I like building a new relationship with them, and their company means the world to me.”
A modern unexpected Doordash shipping of espresso and a box of chocolates displays that Kozitza’s positivity is actually contagious.
“The unsigned note claimed one thing like ‘You’re these kinds of a vibrant light-weight in this entire world retain performing what you’re accomplishing,’ and items like that are so encouraging,” Kozitza mentioned.
Moreover enjoying the guidance of her spouse, Kurt, 10-year-aged son and 13-calendar year-previous daughter, Kozitza and Mueller have just one other specific individual in their corner: dad and husband Jeff, who formerly analyzed Scripture although they shopped.
“Now he sees it as a blessing,” laughed Kozitza. “My dad has actually been our No. 1 cheerleader, and he’s normally a easy particular person who will explain to you if you’re remaining absurd or not — and he mentioned to go for it.
“He constantly has excellent tips,” she continued, “and he’s quite proud to have Sonny and Dot’s names connected with us.”