Amid Challenges, Undeniable Boutique Celebrates Five Year Anniversary Small Business Saturday
Posted on November 18 2016
Fairfax Corner, Virginia - November 17, 2016—Thanksgiving weekend 2011 couldn’t have been a more hectic time to open a retail clothing store. “I desperately wanted to introduce my new boutique to Black Friday shoppers but a flooring mishap resulted in a day’s delay. At the time, I had no idea it was Small Business Saturday,” recalls Undeniable Boutique owner, Alicia Russman.
First observed in Roslindale Village, Massachusetts in 2010 and trademarked by American Express the same year, Small Business Saturday would come to mean so much more to start-up retailers like Russman. “Had I understood the significance of Small Business Saturday, I would’ve enjoyed Thanksgiving rather than working tirelessly to open on a shopping holiday tailored to big box stores that overshadow small retailers like me.”
Many more difficult lessons would be learned as Russman grew her business in an industry in which she had no prior experience.
Reflecting on the years, Russman attributes Undeniable’s success to a loyal base of repeat customers who appreciate its unique collection of curated pieces at an affordable price. Additionally, the store offers personalized styling assistance to help women find the perfect outfit. “When customers return, we constantly hear, ‘I got so many compliments on my outfit, everyone asked me where I got it!’ Women tell me they’re hesitant to share UB with their friends because they want to keep it their secret. It’s the highest form of praise!,” states Russman.
A supportive small business family, extending from employees to customers and throughout the community, also has contributed to Undeniable’s five year milestone. “Nothing has a greater impact on the performance of a start-up retail business than its employees,” notes Russman. “Last year we experienced an unexpected loss of an irreplaceable member of our UB family who was with me since the beginning. The loss has had huge impact, both emotionally and on the bottom line.”
On December 18th, the same day as the passing of Russman’s employee and friend, Alicia signed a lease to open a second Undeniable Boutique location in Mosaic District. “I was celebrating the results of a gigantic leap of faith and challenging lease negotiation when I heard the news.” Undeniable’s team and its community came together to honor its beloved fashionista and push through a difficult holiday season.
In August 2016, Undeniable launched a new 1400SF store in Mosaic District and celebrated its fifth consecutive nomination as Best Women’s Clothing Boutique in Northern Virginia from Northern Virginia Magazine. “There have been countless times over the years, particularly last December, when I considered closing the business. I know my friend would’ve wanted me to persevere and so this year, we’re celebrating our anniversary in her memory,” says Russman.
Undeniable’s “Cheers” anniversary theme echoes the familiarity of shopping in a place “where everybody knows your name”. A public celebration is scheduled for Saturday November 26th 11am-8pm in both Fairfax locations.