Best friends since middle school Jennifer Doudney and Jennifer Juchem are embarking on a new business venture together. They are planning to open a boutique in downtown Oelwein next month.
What started out as a Facebook boutique is now going to grow into a storefront business, Opal & Grey Boutique. Doudney explained she had been operating Opal & Grey on Facebook for a while. Juchem, who had been living in Cedar Rapids the past seven years, was one of her followers.
After getting enough of city living and with a strong desire to return to her roots in Oelwein, Juchem, her fiancé and their cat and dog packed up and moved back. In the past three months since coming home, she has reconnected with many old friends and started up a little business, The Fairy Dog Mama, which is a dog/pet walking and tending service.
“We rekindled our friendship and I had started doing some woodworking stuff in crafts. With encouragement from Jen, I started promoting the crafts on Facebook,” Juchem said.
The two started working together on more crafts and got to talking about creating a business. Doudney already had a business name and platform established. Then they visited Theresa Brown’s business VibesUp, located downtown at 22 S. Frederick Ave. Brown was getting ready to move VibesUp into Brown’s Chiropractic, where she already has her massage therapy business alongside her husband Dr. Brad Brown’s chiropractic office.
Brown thought the downtown space would be perfect for the boutique that Doudney and Juchem had talked about. With her encouragement and plenty of late-night conversations and planning, the two longtime friends decided to go for the storefront location.
Opal & Grey Boutique will offer trending men and women’s clothing, home décor and some repurposed furniture. Juchem loves finding and repurposing special pieces and Doudney has a knack for creating that makes a great combination for their new shop.
Doudney said they will be keeping the online store, which parallels merchandise that will be in the main street store, so friends they have from out of the area can also shop their boutique. A website is also in the works that will be easy to navigate.
“I’m sure there will be some trial and error as we find out what people’s tastes and preferences are, but I think we have the ability and the right niche for this business,” Doudney said. “Opening to the public is a whole different realm than working from Facebook.”
They plan to use the refurbished furniture in displays throughout the store mixing it with the other merchandise and the pieces will be tagged for sale. They are targeting to open in mid-February, with more details and sneak previews to follow.