BURLINGTON — Kimberly Abruntilla launched Hendrix Boutique on Church Street this summer, offering women’s luxury clothing and making a conscious commitment to her community.
This is the first business venture for Abruntilla, who graduated with a business degree from St. Michael’s College earlier this year, but the entrepreneurial drive is not new.
“I’ve wanted to do this since I was a little girl, so I did it right out of college,” Abruntilla said. “Life is short — why not start my dream now?”
Located in a second-floor shop above Ken’s Pizza, Hendrix offers women’s fashions from designers based in New York, Miami, California and Australia. “I go to trade shows in New York, and eventually would like to add Las Vegas,” Abruntilla said.
Describing her customer profile, Abruntilla said, “It all depends on your style. A lot of sorority girls love us, but grandmothers come in and love it, too. I’m aiming for all women — I try to have younger fashion, but more classic styles as well.”
Abruntilla’s business approach is highly personal.
“My shop is about uplifting women,” she said. “Growing up and knowing women — so many have self-confidence issues. I feel bad about that, because I see them as really beautiful. When I was younger, I loved doing people’s makeup, because they’d say it made them feel beautiful. It felt good to have made them feel that way. Everyone deserves to feel good about themselves.”
A shop Abruntilla visited in Australia helped inspire her business’ name and some of its interior style, including rustic wood garment racks.
“It was called Hendrix & Harlow, and I liked everything about it,” she said, adding she also hopes she’s re-creating a bit of that shop’s “vibe” with Hendrix.
Abruntilla said her store’s clothing line is largely driven by personal tastes.
“I’m going to pick out things I love and am sure others will. That has been the best for sales, too,” she said. “There had been a couple times where I carried a product that I didn’t particularly like, but I thought others might. They didn’t sell, so I’m not doing that again.”
Hendrix is primarily focused on clothing, but Abruntilla does carry a selection of organic, Vermont-made beauty products.
“I want to support other local businesses, so offer Vermont-made, or at the very least, U.S.-made products,” she said. “I’d like to help the economy grow — as much as I can as a small-business owner — even if it’s just a little bit.”
While she also plans to expand her inventory of shoes and accessories, Abruntilla is growing her inventory intentionally. Part of that is not wanting to over-extend a new business financially, she said, “and part of it is I’m just really picky with shoes and accessories.”
During the holiday season, she is offering sales of up to 40 percent, Abruntilla said, and plans to offer online orders once a website upgrade is completed.
As a business owner, Abruntilla is committed to connecting with, and giving back to, her community. She wants to be active in local business associations and to connect with and support other local business owners. She also wants to offer assistance to neighbors in need, particularly children, through her program, The Hendrix Initiative.
“I want to give back in ways that make an impact,” Abruntilla said. “I don’t want my business to just be a place where money is exchanged. Behind the scenes, I’m trying to get involved in things like Make-A-Wish, and giving boots or jackets to children in need. Giving back is a core principle.”
Hendrix Boutique is located at 73 Church St., Burlington VT 05401. Abruntilla said hours are flexible, though the store is typically open 11 a.m. to early evening. Call 999-7279 or visit the store on Facebook. The website at www.hendrixboutiquevt.com is under construction.