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I happened upon Cottage Flair Boutique in one of my trips to Main Street in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. This shop caught my eye and I couldn’t resist going in to explore when I saw the adorable display of unique items in the storefront window. After speaking to Jennifer (the owner) for a while, I asked if she’d agree to sharing some of her story about herself and her business with us, and she happily obliged. Scroll down to learn more about this great little place and it’s owner!

Adorable cow painting with floral crown

Can you share with our readers a little about you and your family? Where are you from originally? What brought you to open up a shop in Old Saybrook, CT?

I grew up in Madison and moved to Killingworth a few years ago. I am married with 2 boys. My mother had a gift shop in Madison for 38 years. I partnered up with her after my children were born. I originally started selling only hand painted furniture about 30 years ago but grew to add gifts and home decor when I joined my mother. When she decided to retire I was torn between staying in the current location or taking a new opportunity in old Saybrook. I chose old Saybrook to try a new area. I was off the beaten path for three years in Old Saybrook, then the Main Street location opened up and I was super lucky to get it. I absolutely love being on Main Street!

Ceramic coffee mug that says "follow your dreams. There's no telling where they might take you."

Can you share with us your “why”? What inspired you to open your store? What is your mission as a business and store owner?

My mission as a business and store owner is to meet my customers needs and to provide them with an enjoyable shopping experience!

You have a variety of beautiful options in your shop, including lots of great baby, young children, and parenting products. What is your ideal demographic? What type of individual do you feel would benefit most from the products and services you offer?

I try to offer products for everyone… I do not have a specific demographic. I have customers of all ages and lifestyles.

You have a beautiful website! Do you have a preference for in store purchases versus online ordering?

My website is not e-commerce at the moment. It is available with photos to give customers a taste of what we currently offer in the shop. It’s a great tool for people who have not yet visited the shop.

What is your favorite product/service you offer?

I have a fashion merchandising degree so I have to say one of my favorite things I sell is women’s clothing. I try to pick unique pieces that you won’t find at the big box stores.

What items are your hottest/hard-to-keep-enough-in-stock items?

I sell a line of silverware pouches called Cutlery Couture. It is one of the lines that I am constantly re-ordering.

Cutlery couture pouches with silverware inside and coastal designs on the front

Tell us a little bit about how you vet your product lines. What factors help you determine the best fit for your store and brand?

I basically purchase products based on what I like. I very often have customers complementing me on what we have available at the store and my style. I love to hear that and it makes me feel like I’m accomplishing what I’m trying to do.

Do you offer any types of classes or host any events that our readers may be interested in learning more about?

custom designed mugs for dog moms

Every year I work with our Chamber of Commerce and other local businesses participating in several events throughout the year. We have a few great events planned for this year! Stayed tuned! Every year My shop hosts a holiday open house the first weekend of November. It’s where we unveil our holiday offerings and completely dress the shop for the holidays! It’s fun… We run specials and have goodies all weekend!

beautiful unique jewelry piecesHow do you find your amazing vendors? Are you open to accepting new vendors into your store?

I shop twice a year at AmericasMart in Atlanta. It is a huge trade-show housed in three big buildings. I spend several days combing the mart looking for new products\vendors as well as shopping with my regular companies.

Do you stock a lot of big name brands? Or more small business goods? Or your items locally made? Or imported? Do you have a preference and why?

I do carry products from several big name brands in the gift and home decor industry. I also carry items from very small vendors. My goal is to offer items people need as well as items people have never seen before that are unique to my shop. Some items are made in the USA and some are imported.

jewelry mannequin with wooden bead necklaces on display

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

I have been in retail for almost 40 years. It’s what I love to do! The best feeling in the world for me is having my customers complementing me on how beautiful my shop is, how much they love it, what great offerings I have and how much they enjoy visiting. I’ve met so many amazing customers since moving onto Main Street in Old Saybrook. I hope to be there for many years to come!

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