Not unlike much of the world, 2020 was a year of change for savvy entrepreneur Thim Phommavanh, who found herself without a full-time job after Covid. But landing on the most positive note possible, she launched a small boutique – out of her dining room – and soon saw online sales really taking off! Fast forward to the exciting March 2021 opening of her South+Main Boutique storefront in Advance, blending a strong business sense with Thim’s love for unique, local style, and an honest dedication to her customers.
As they settle in after celebrating their first anniversary in this location, just what sets South+Main apart from other local boutiques?
“There’s not one item in my store that I wouldn’t wear myself,” explains Thim. “I don’t buy things just because they sell, I buy them because I actually back the product, and I like it!” she says.
She is also thrilled – and personally energized – to be part of the local small business community.
“I pride myself on being very transparent,” says Thim, while acknowledging that being a business owner is far from the fantasy of “rainbows and unicorns!”
“There are really great days, and really hard days. I don’t fake it, and my customers appreciate my honesty, and they know I care,” she says. “I don’t just see them as dollar signs. Our customers are truly the best. 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 how their families are doing (and their beloved pets!) and 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. The boutique carries an inspired mix of women’s clothing lines in a variety of sizes, from catchy, quotable tee shirts to the prettiest dresses, and Thim says they have recently started designing their own pieces! They also offer personal styling.
“For every customer who comes in, we always ask if they are shopping for a particular event,” she says. “If they need a specific piece we pull what we think will work for them based on their body type, and what we think will look best.”
Come for a visit and you’ll also fall in love with the perfect accessories for that new outfit, as well as unique home décor items and gift ideas, such as the boutique’s popular signature candle – hand-poured by Doodlations. At the top of Thim’s list of business goals is carrying local vendors in the store.
“The small business community is unlike any other,” she explains. “Even at our pop-ups, I’m able to find more resources, and I love meeting local vendors that fit the boutique.”
South+Main has recently seen a huge growth on social media – specifically Tiktok.
“I’m a firm believer in community over competition,” she says, proudly. “I’ve grown a following of aspiring boutique owners, as well as veteran boutique owners, who relate to my story and know they can come to me to bounce ideas around, or just for advice.”
She’s the first to say that helping someone open their own dream boutique won’t take away from her success, and that small business owners need to work together to build successful strategies throughout the community.
“I truly hope my outlook can inspire others to feel the same way!”
Get to know what makes South+Main Boutique such a special shopping spot – visit them 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., and Sunday 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 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 facebook.com/groups/southandmainvip.