TIPP CITY — A size-inclusive boutique in downtown Tipp City started out of frustrations that came with finding clothes that fit.
“I would go into the dressing rooms, I’d take something in with me, and I’d find myself settling for something I don’t love that doesn’t fit right because I feel like it’s a wasted trip if I don’t come out with something. I’d wear that item one or two times, and then I’d never wear it again,” said Nikki Winner, owner of Unboxed Boutique.
Winner has been operating online and out of her house since December, selling her own clothes after working as a Lularoe salesperson, and recently transitioned into her own space at 50 S. Second St. in Tipp City. She describes Unboxed Boutique as a safe space for everyone to come to; the decor inside is made up from pieces found at garage sales and flea markets around the area, and the dressing rooms — made of antique doors and curtains — have no mirrors inside, so customers will step outside of their comfort zone in order to properly see what an outfit looks like on their body.
“Generally, other shoppers will look and comment and say ‘I love that on you’, or, ‘I don’t think that’s the right one, but if you try this one, I think that would look fantastic on you’. Seeing that sense of community that comes about is one of the best rewards that we have,” Winner said. “A lot of women are afraid to go shopping because when they go shopping, they’ve had bad experiences trying on clothing and don’t find what they’re looking for, or they’re not in love with something about their body, and this is a place where they can be safe.”
One thing Winner aims for in her boutique is to carry full runs of styles. You won’t find a plus-sized section in her store; while there will be special sections for 4x and 5x sizes, it’s purely because they don’t make clothing that size in the same cuts as small, medium, large, etc. For now, sizes small through 3x are all in the same sections, so customers don’t have to move to different parts of the store to find their size. One of the goals was to create a space where women could shop with their friends, no matter what size they are.
“If my girlfriends want to run around and go shopping in downtown Tipp City, I shouldn’t have to be worried about, ‘I can’t shop at this store, but you can.’ We can all shop here, and I think that’s really important,” Winner said. “I don’t even like the term plus-sized, I’m more about size-inclusive, or curvy.”
Since Unboxed Boutique’s brick-and-mortar location opened in early June, business has been doing well. Winner said she already had a strong start with her online store, and prior to the pandemic, she did a lot of personal styling while selling clothes out of her house, which she continues to do at her store. She tries to hand-pick every brand in the store so that the fit isn’t too tight or too loose, and the sizes run true to size. Additionally, the website carries hundreds of styles of clothing in warehouses across the country, all that can be shipped to the store for free, or directly to a customer’s home for a small shipping fee.
“There is something about, when you have a woman come into the store who’s afraid to shop, who doesn’t feel good about her body — when she puts on the right item, she lights up. She doesn’t even have to tell me if she likes something or not. When she lights up and she has a little spring in her step when she walks out and looks at the mirror, it’s amazing,” Winner said.
Winner says that while Unboxed Boutique doesn’t have everything for everyone, they try to have something for everyone. Her goal is to have every garment be comfortable and feel good — there’s also a lot of sass, with mugs that say everything from “Rise and Shine, Mother Cluckers” to “I’m Huggable” with cactus plants painted on. Winner knew she wanted her boutique to be a place where she and her friends would shop, and everything down to the music is selected with that in mind.
“We have some humor. It’s okay to laugh while you shop. You should have fun while you shop — if you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right,” Winner said.
Unboxed Boutique is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, and is available for private appointments at any time. Unboxed Boutique is also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/unboxedboutique and online at www.unboxed-boutique.myshopify.com.