WAXAHACHIE- Bringing big city style to downtown Waxahachie is what the owner of the downtown boutique Multitudes, Kelly Hale, has strived for and achieved.
Hale moved to Waxahachie 12 years ago with her husband, Tom Hale.
“I’m originally from Keller and my husband is from South Houston,” Hale said.
After 22 years of teaching, Hale found her new calling in life.
Despite no prior experience as a small-business owner, she opened Multitudes in April 2014 after her last final day of school.
Hale’s father sold Tony Lama boots the majority of her life, so it is safe to say she was raised around retail and marketing. The experiences with her father during her youth is what first planted the entrepreneurial seed, Hale said.
“When I left teaching, I had a friend who owned a boutique in the Bishop Arts district, and I worked with her. She worked with the clothing and I did all of the antique things in the store. I found out that it was fun and that I enjoyed it. When I left there, we decided to open a store in our hometown.”
Although she was hesitant at first, Hale overcame her worries and opened the soon to be successful boutique.
“The first time my mom and I went to market, we came home, I totaled up what I had bought and it scared the heck out of me. I went back the next day and canceled half of the order. The day of our grand opening, we sold over half of our store,” Hale said.
Multitudes recently moved to a larger location. Although, the store’s original location was also located downtown.
“The older store just wasn’t big enough. I loved it and I miss it. We often had a line at our dressing rooms so I felt like we needed more dressing rooms,” Hale said. “We didn’t have good workspace and with the launching of our website, we didn’t have much packing and shipping room either,” Hale said.
After about a year-long search, she found an opening on College Street.
“I feel like God talks to me through my gut feeling. When we opened Multitudes, we didn’t really know what we were doing, but it was such an easy process. We kind of knew we we’re heading into the direction we were supposed to go. Sometimes I feel like when things fall into place it helps you know that that’s the direction you’re supposed to go in. When you try to move a direction and it’s constantly pushing back and it’s a fight to make it work, I think it’s time to realize that’s not the direction you’re supposed to go,” Hale explained.
Multitudes' new location opened on July 1.
“When we found out about this space. It was just like clockwork. We had a month to get the new store ready and our landlord was generous enough to let us get in and work on it early. He knows from my other store that I need to make it Multitudes-ready,” Hale said.
During that month, she and her husband, mother and father worked together non-stop to have the store ready in time for the opening.
“We basically lived here through the month of June. I couldn’t have done it without my dad, my mom, and my husband. My dad is a part-time designer and full contractor. Mom is our practical brain and kind of keeps us up with new ideas and keeps us focused. Tom helps us with all of the new technology and keeps us straight on finances. It’s a team effort,” Hale said. “We’re a family business even though I own it. My mom and dad work here. My Aunt Jan is my caterer and helps with all of my events.”
Two years ago, Hale, her husband and their four children purchased a nearly one 100-year-old home on Main Street where they would eventually re-do.
“During the re-do, we kept all of the extra lumber because we knew we were going to move our store. In Multitudes, all of the wood on the walls and the check-out counter is from the house. The stained glass we have in here was from the attic of the house. The posts were from the porch,” Hale explained.
She describes her boutique as fashion forward as well as trendy.
“I’ve always been one to follow a trend, even though I like to have classic pieces that go with that trend. That’s always how I’ve dressed and that’s what I want for the store. We’re going to try to offer you some basics, but at the same time we want to put you in something that is fashion forward,” Hale said. “There is kind of rumor out there that we’re for the younger girls and I think it’s because my models and workers are young. I’m from a family of women, we have one in almost every decade. So when we buy, we try to buy with all of those ages in mind. Sometimes I don’t have time to run to Dallas to get what I want and what I need, so what I’ve been trying to do is bring Dallas to us. I try to bring the big city here.
As well as a boutique owner, Hale is also the president of the Waxahachie Downtown Merchants Association [DMA].
“We’re very active in that organization and are constantly putting on events downtown. For example, we have a ladies night out the second Thursday of every month. We always do a giveaway or gift with purchase, but every store does something different. A lot of us serve wine and snacks. We have a lot of fun,” Hale said.
Hale expressed her gratitude towards the great relationships she has within the DMA.
“What’s so great about the DMA is that we all get along so well. We can be a direct competitor, but we work together to make Waxahachie a better place. If somebody comes in here looking for something and they can’t find it, I have no problem sending them to Plain Jane, The Mix, Chic Boutique and now the Zigzag Stripe. I think we mirror what Waxahachie is, it’s a friendly place,” Hale said.
As well as DMA events such as ladies night out, Hale also tries to incorporate her own events for just the store.
“I do my own events. I was a teacher for years and teachers only get paid once a month, so I get it. They don’t get paid a whole lot, but they work a whole lot. This Saturday only, just Multitudes, we’re doing 20 percent off of new arrivals for all teachers,” Hale said.
“Sometimes we will do “Muffins and Mimosas. We have a reward program for the customers. Every time you spend $100, you get $5 off. When it’s your birthday month, you can come in and get 50 percent off of an item of your choice. We really try to give people a fun, real reason to come.”
Kelsey Poynor, @KPoynor_WDL