The Best Kind of Friend
I met Cindy where I meet almost everyone I interview-the coffee shop. That's because everyone I am fortunate enough to come in contact with always feels like an old friend who I am catching up with over a hot cup of caffeine. And frankly, Cindy was no exception. Which makes so much sense when you consider her store Grace & Glory. "If there were one word I would use to describe my store," Cindy told me, "It would be the word 'relational.'" I was surprised by Cindy's response. I was expecting a fluffier word to depict the ultimate charming store in Uptown Beaufort. I anticipated something like chic or maybe even swanky. In fact, those are the words that I would use when describing Cindy's masterpiece of apparel sales and fine gifting. So, I asked her what she meant. "Well," she began, "Shopping at the store is like shopping with a bunch of girlfriends. I have three amazing employees, Pattie, Jill, and Judy, who treat the store like it's their own. And, they treat each customer with the care and concern of a good friend." I immediately had an image of what it's like when I shop with a trusted opinion and confidant. It is someone who will tell me when I need a different color option, for example, but also someone who will tell me when I look good, and then help me pick out shoes to match. That is the best kind of friend.
When Cindy began recounting how she made her way into shop ownership, I was mesmerized by her matter-of-fact way of storytelling. As if what she did wasn't incredibly difficult, creative and bold! "Well," she began, "I have just always been crafty." I was astounded by her meek charm, because developing Beaufort's largest boutique apparel collection from the ground up takes a driven, talented visionary. Not to mention the near 14 years of fruition and improvement the store has maintained! Cindy's humilty in her success makes sense when you discover what the name of her shop actually means. Although Grace & Glory was named for it's original sale items of Civil War memorabilia and beautiful home decor, it's real meaning serves as a reminder to her family to give all the glory to God. What a beautiful business model!
As drinks ran empty, I asked Cindy what she loved the most about her boutique. She brightened up in pride, knowing that what she presents is very unique to her clients. "Well, our store is full of surprises!" She told me, "And we offer a very warm welcome." Cindy handpicks each item that is in her store. With the amount of beautiful clothing, jewelery and gifts, I wondered how she had time for anything else! Also, the store is completely rotated out every six months. Cindy and her staff take great pride in marketing to the locals, getting to know their names and tastes, keeping a record for returning clients to make reordering and style decisions easy, providing one-of-a-kind items so each customer can own their style, and staying up to date on the fashions with their corresponding seasons. This boutique sounded almost too good to be true.
So I went down there myself.
I walked into two very cheerful faces ready and willing to show me around. I took a few pictures of the store and they quickly realized I was with the magazine. They pointed to the fall collection so I could take a photo for the article. And then I saw a dress that caught my eye. I tried it on and the first thing I heard as I was heading to the dressing room was, "You must come out and show us how it looks!" When I walked out of that dressing room door, you would of thought I did a back flip out of it with the reaction I got from them. In a moment I felt beautiful, when only moments prior I was sludging around in a baggy tee and messy bun. All I can say is, thank you. You truly are relational and I will be back soon!
Typical Day: Cindy calls it interval working. "It isn't pretty!" She exclaimed laughing.
Funny Moment: I asked Cindy to tell me something interesting about herself. She said, "Well, I don't play the African flute!" After reading that one of our featured women from last month was very talented in this area. It seems as though each woman Pink features is surprised to find themself singled out for their unlikeness.
Surprised to Know: Cindy is a closet parrot head. Which means she is a huge Jimmy Buffet fan!