It’s Good to be King
Boutique owner Sarah King on Blush, her new consulting business and the STL shopping scene.
Since opening in February 2006, Blush has captured the attention of the local fashion community, garnering numerous accolades while cementing the store’s reputation as a favorite on the STL boutique scene. Blush owner Sarah King’s sense of style and business savvy have also earned her personal recognition, including Business Person of the Year from the Kirkwood Des Peres Chamber of Commerce, and most recently, Fashion Group International’s coveted Rising Star Retailer Award.
King, who’s cognizant that women’s retail has the second highest rate of failure, attributes much of Blush’s success to really knowing her customer and consistently delivering what she wants—all in an atmosphere that’s comfortable. “There was kind of this stigma out there that boutique shopping was for a very small niche of customers—very high end, and not really something that the average woman could afford. There was also a notion that boutiques weren’t necessarily a very welcoming shopping environment,” King says. For seven years now, Blush has crushed that perception, making the boutique a second home to fashionistas of all ages and incomes.
Now that King feels comfortable with the boutique’s image, growth and stability, she’s ready to take on her next challenge. In an effort to get back to her creative roots, King has decided to turn one of her lifelong passions into what she’s hopeful will be another successful endeavor. After a year and a half of researching, the young entrepreneur has decided to take the plunge and launch her own consulting company, Source Consulting. The primary focus of King’s new venture is visual merchandising, including appealing window displays and functional store interiors—all designed to draw traffic, sales and more revenue for prospective businesses. For someone like King, who doesn’t mind “sharing the love” with other local shops, consulting is a natural next step.
Seeing the fashion landscape evolve in St. Louis has been a genuine treat for King, who gets excited just talking about its growth and development. “There are so many different places to shop now, not only in the independent retail circuit, but also in the major sector—like everything that’s gone on with Plaza Frontenac in the last couple years, and its beautiful renovations,” she says. “We also have Neiman and Saks bringing in some really well-known, high-end labels that we didn’t have before. Plus, now we have two Nordstroms and a Nordstrom Rack. The reason these businesses are coming here is because people are putting their money into retail—things are starting to really stir in St. Louis, so that’s exciting.”
No matter what the future holds for King, one thing is certain—she’ll always be enamored by her first love of fashion. “In junior high, I went through a box of my aunt’s old clothes from the ’70s and found a pair of dark indigo high-rise mid-flare jeans that I lived in for the next two years,” King recalls. “It was the beginning of my love affair with the high-rise.” Although her taste has evolved over the years, she still favors a sophisticated boho-chic aesthetic, perhaps partly inspired by her aunt’s hand-me-downs. Her current must-haves for spring? “Black and white; a bold, patterned skinny pant or jean; a peek-a-boo cut-out top or dress; bold stripes; and shorts suits,” she says. Take note (because we certainly are).
Photo credit: Photos courtesy of Sarah King