PHOTOS BY JODIE BRIM CREATIVE
Since the March 2021 opening of her South + Main Boutique storefront in Advance, Thim Phommavanh has been blessed beyond measure, given the chance to share her love for local style with a thankful entourage of loyal customers.
CUSTOMERS & COMMUNITY
Developing a positive presence in the local small business community is a dream come true for Thim, and she’s very focused about transparency as a business person. As she has from the very beginning, she’s quick to tell you there aren’t any items in the boutique she wouldn’t wear herself, and how important it is to stay true to yourself, no matter what!
“I pride myself on standing behind everything I bring into the store 100%. I don’t bring things in because they are on trend and will sell easily – if I bring them in it’s because I would personally wear that item or use that product.”
Thim and her staff genuinely want customers to love what they are buying, and she’s sure those loyal customers know she is always going to be honest with them when it comes to discussing sizing and quality.
She’s honest about that, and honest about the ups and downs – and ultimate joy! – of being a boutique owner.
“There are really great days, and really hard days, but it’s important to be consistent, even on the difficult days! I don’t fake it, and my customers appreciate my honesty, and they know I care,” she says. “They care about what’s going on with me just as much as I care about them.”
She also strives to personally interact with customers – and happily meet new ones – keeping up-to-date with any big life events they have coming up. She also loves getting acquainted with new markets, and sets up frequent pop up shops from Raleigh to Charlotte.
It’s a creative mix of women’s clothing lines that you’ll find at South + Main, always available in an array of sizes, from catchy, quotable tee shirts to romantic dresses, and there’s always the opportunity for personal styling. Just ask!
“If a customer walks in and desperately needs a specific piece for an upcoming occasion, we pull what we think will work for them based on their body type, and what we think will look best,” says Thim. You’ll also leave with the perfect accessories to finish the look, often from other small businesses nearby.
“The small business community is unlike any other,” Thim explains. “Even at our pop ups I’m able to find more resources, and I love carrying products from local vendors in the boutique.”
A die-hard believer in community over competition, Thim says she has built the boutique’s Tiktok platform around helping others who want to know more about the industry, and how to start one of their own.
“I know I was not the first to start a boutique, and I won’t be the last.,” she shares. “But if I can help start a business that will help someone build the life they’ve dreamed about, then I’m happy to do it.” She’s also learned some personal truths along the way, and enjoys sharing some words of wisdom for other business owners.
“Your journey is not someone else’s journey,” says Thim. “It’s easy to compare yourself to others in the same industry. For example: So-and-so has this many followers but I only have this amount. They are able to do this, but I can’t yet. You can’t compare your business to someone who has been in business longer because you aren’t at the same point in your journey. Social media followers do not define how successful you are!”
She’s also learned that helping someone open their own dream boutique won’t take away from her success at South + Main, and that small business owners need to work together to build successful strategies.
As fall edges closer and our closets need a refresh, South + Main Boutique offers the following fun events: September 24: Girl Tribe Pop Up at the Charlotte Convention Center , October 1: Forsyth Woman’s Tour De Boutique – where they will have Hope Anchored Designs Permanent Jewelry in the store from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., and October 15: A Patiently Rooted Pop Up in the store from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Schedule some “me time” (read: shopping time!) soon, to get to know South+Main Boutique for yourself! They are located at 246 NC HWY 801 N in Advance, NC. Boutique hours are Monday through Friday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Reach them at 336.941.9744, shop online at southandmainnc.com, or follow them on Tiktok, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook – @southandmainnc. Download the free South + Main app, and explore their Facebook VIP group .