How Community Passion Helped Create a Thriving Boutique

bunky mainOriginally from Montana, Rachel Malloy lived in different parts of the country before settling into downtown Phoenix where she opened a unique fashion boutique in 2007 at the age of 25.

Today, Bunky Boutique sells apparel, accessories, artisan-made jewelry, and gifts – including Bunky’s own line of popular AZ Love shirts.

Just recently, Rachel found herself near the epicenter of Phoenix’s multiple-day pregame celebration for the Super Bowl. However, the impact on business wasn’t quite what one might expect.

“We didn’t see a huge increase in business,” Rachel said. “So many people were either attending Super Bowl events or else hibernating in their homes not wanting to deal with crowds or traffic!”

We recently caught up with Rachel to discuss her passion for community and her business plans for 2015 and beyond.

The Drive: What inspired you to start your business?

Rachel: When I moved to downtown Phoenix in 2007, I wanted to be a part of creating the neighborhood that I lived in. For me, Bunky Boutique is really about culture and community.

The Drive: What was one special moment in your journey as a business owner?

Rachel: After seven-and-a-half years, there have been so many. I’m so lucky to do what I do. Being on the cover of Arizona Woman as the “face of the new downtown” was a total honor! And our weekly team meeting are a highlight every time. We chat, laugh, snack, work, tell stories, and make plans for events and promotions. We want to have at least 10 in-store events throughout the year.

The Drive: That’s fantastic! And what about a challenging moment?

Rachel: Early 2009 was tough. The economy was at its worst and business was very slow as we headed into summer, which is always slow in Arizona. Cash flow was a problem. I knew we had to make a change.

We moved our shop to its current location next to Giant Coffee and started to benefit from walk-by traffic. The move created some buzz and press and refreshed our drive and motivation. Change is good!

The Drive: What are your business goals for the next year?

bunky jewelryRachel: We want to increase our sales by 15 percent – and we think we can by making more of our merchandise available online.

The Drive: Speaking of online sales, how did you come to sell through Scott’s Marketplace?

Rachel: I was contacted by Scott’s to be a beta tester back when they were still in the testing phase. We love getting the emails that have tips and ideas for small business owners. It’s nice to have a resource such as this that is free and current and informative! If other business owners want to sell online as well, I’d tell them to provide the best possible photos and the most detailed descriptions that you can. The more info the better!

The Drive: What’s your favorite part of the job?

Rachel: I love it when I’m out in the neighborhood and I see someone wearing something they bought at Bunky Boutique! It never gets old. It’s exciting how many people are proud of Phoenix and want to show support for their community!

Thank you for taking the time, Rachel, and for sharing your tips on how to build a stronger online presence.

Leave your questions for Rachel of Bunky Boutique below!

About the Author

Matt Simpson

Matt is a freelance writer for The DRIVE blog with expertise in digital marketing, social media, and copywriting. He's active in the #yesphx startup movement and has been recognized by AdWeek, Mashable, and more for digital innovation. Visit Matt's website or follow Matt on Twitter.

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