BLOSSOM

Fashion, Family and Fun
by Holly Wuebker

For many preparing for a night out or weekend away, the perfect outfit is all it takes to help with that extra boost of confidence. Whether it’s finding the right pair of jeans, the trendiest sweater or just jewelry to match, there is a wide array of possibilities around the corner.

Stephanie DeLong is owner of Blossom, a boutique in Celina, Ohio. The styles in her shop are very trendy and edgy, offering ladies a chance to update their style, while taking it easy on their wallets.

Fashion runs in Stephanie’s veins—her mother owns a bridal boutique in Van Wert, where the family resides. Her mother had considered opening another boutique, but after starting the process decided running two stores might be a bit much.

Fortunately, Stephanie was ready to take on the challenges of business ownership, and family has been her biggest motivator. After working in the retail industry for years, Stephanie enjoyed meeting new customers and working in fashion. But, the hours were not ideal, especially over the holidays.

“Corporate hours are the worst,” she says. When her daughter was born, Stephanie was still working in “big box” stores and was required to report on holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Day. She missed many family events because of her job.

As a wife and mother, family is Stephanie’s number-one priority—and the primary reason for opening Blossom. Now, she can set her own work hours and schedule a career around her family. Last Christmas was the first major holiday Stephanie could spend with family in some time.

Located in the same building as Posh Nails on Walnut Street, Blossom of Celina is easy to access and offers clothing and accessories for any occasion, dressy or casual. Blossom’s racks and shelves display tanks, pants, tops, skirts, jewelry, shoes, cardigans, purses, scarves and more, providing a variety of options for any fit or style.

Blossom recently relocated to the current address in June. After opening the shop on Main Street in June 2015, Stephanie decided to team up with another small business in order to cut overhead costs.

What started out as sharing a business space also provided an opportunity for Stephanie to do even more. As she was relocating Blossom, Stephanie earned her nail tech license so she could work for Posh Nails while still operating her boutique. She says that working for Posh “is a dream and is the best of both worlds” because of the flexibility and additional income.

When determining inventory purchases, it’s all based on the customers, trends and styles at the time. Even with other boutiques in town, Stephanie says hers is still unique. “Sometimes, you might find the same brands, but there are always different styles and varieties no matter where they are offered.”

Rather than trying to compete, Stephanie enjoys supporting other businesses and helping them to succeed. She encourages shoppers to visit a variety of boutiques and enjoys doing so herself. In fact, Stephanie has organized area bus tours to help women discover boutiques in the region, including Blossom.

She calls these events “Sip & Shop,” and ladies may purchase bus tickets to travel to a variety of boutiques in the area—as far away as Decatur, Indiana or St. Marys and Greenville, Ohio. Stephanie posts information on Blossom’s Facebook page, including dates and times, ticket cost (typically around $20 a person), and which boutiques the group will visit.

The best part of a Sip & Shop, says Stephanie, is that she gets to “hang out with a bunch of girls all day.” She adds, “We have some drinks, go shopping, and do giveaways on the bus.”

But, the primary goal is to help promote local businesses. Stephanie says she is very “pro-women in business,” and she strongly encourages women to support one another in their endeavors.

She even has advice for those considering business ownership. “It’s very easy to get wrapped up in getting a POS system, the best racks and hangers, etc.,” but Stephanie emphasizes the importance of growing into these things.

At the moment, Stephanie says she is comfortable with where she’s at in her business, and her plan is to continue providing great styles for her customers. Stephanie enjoys getting to know her customers and their preferences, as well as making sure the desired styles are available.

Stephanie will host another Sip & Shop in December—good timing, to be sure, as ladies need to complete their Christmas shopping soon. She’s hoping to visit shops near Greenville, Ohio and, perhaps, stop at the Versailles Winery along the way.

Blossom of Celina
111 N. Walnut Street
Celina, OH 45822
(419) 605-3926

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