Mooresville’s Desirae Young never dreamed of a retail shop or selling clothes. But with a bubbly personality and a gift for gab, this business owner grew in popularity until she says a storefront simply was necessary.
In mid-July, amid more than a hundred waiting fans, Young debuted Kai Rae Boutique in Mooresville – a local shop showcasing the clothing, accessories, shoes, bath essentials and more items regularly shared with her thousands of online customers.
“My local presence became so big, so quickly,” said Young who began her boutique via a website and Facebook sales in September 2018. Her following, however, emerged many years prior. “Never in a million years did I think this is where I would be.”
For Young, Kai Rae Boutique followed several years dedicated to other endeavors also shared on social media. She began her online presence as an extreme couponer for nearly nine years before diving into retail sales through the brand LuLaRoe.
“That’s how I grew such a big online following,” she said, noting that couponing brought in significant attention as she offered tips and tricks across a blog and social sites starting 12 years ago. Although she’s no longer couponing to the extreme, Young said she still serves as a field expert nationally, including segments on Fox News and other major publication outlets.
“I started with LuLaRoe [five years ago] and, basically, grew my presence to what it is today.”
Although she transformed her boutique from one retail line into a vast shop selling the latest trends, the internet presence remained. Today, Young boasts thousands of followers on Facebook alone – more than 47,000 between her Kai Rae Boutique group and retail pages. She caters to female shoppers, mentioning a typical age demographic between 30 and 54 years old. Local artisans display items for sale at the boutique among unknown and well-known brands, including the Simply Southern Collection and Judy Blue jeans, which are the shop’s most popular item.
Named for Young’s children, Kai Rae Boutique opened in Mooresville on July 20 as the first and only brick-and-mortar location at 107 Grayland Road in Mooresville. The store debuted to a crowd that wrapped around the large building – 7,300 square feet in total with a retail space and a warehouse.
“When we opened the doors, it was chaos in here,” said Young, who added that 57 chairs were already in line for the grand debut four days prior to the event. Approximately 150 joined Young and her staff of seven at the 12 p.m. opening. Gift bags were awarded to the first 50 guests.
“Most people stood in line for three hours just to check out,” she said.
In its first weeks of sales at the storefront, Kai Rae Boutique is garnering increased attention and new shoppers in addition to loyal fans of Young. One customer, she said, drove from Indiana to the storefront’s grand opening to meet the business owner and shop in person.
“We have this connection that other brick-and-mortars don’t have,” noted Young. “I share my life with them. That connection is so strong that they all feel they are best friends with me.”
Young who is wife to an Iredell County Sheriff's deputy and mother to two, has shared news about her family with shoppers. She also has shared her weight loss journey, recently reaching 100 pounds lost.
“Me being a plus-size girl, I made it a goal that I will always carry (sizes) 0 to 3x and now 4x,” said Young, noting that she’s one of few boutique owners who share jeans in sizes 0 to 26.
This former couponer also recognizes the value of affordable shopping, extending cost-effective items across her store. Nothing, she said, is more than $50 in addition to extending a payment plan service to guests.
“I believe in everything I sell,” added Young. “It started as fun and games, but it’s grown into a passion.”
Young reported that nearly 60 percent of her customers were locals until the shop opened, and that figure has raised to almost 90 percent. However, many still choose the convenience of shopping online as Young “live” broadcasts on Facebook three days per week – Monday, Wednesday and Friday – with various items for sale, just as she always has.
“I still go live. They are the bread and butter of my business,” she said. “This [storefront] is just the sprinkle on top.”
Kai Rae Boutique is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Learn more at ShopKaiRae.com.