When Kin Boutique first opened, owner Joey Clark was looking to bring something a bit different to Philly’s shopping scene. As an elevated experience with ready-to-wear clothing and accessories from all over the world, one of the main goals for this storefront was to offer products in an array of sizes, and at different price-points. In her own words, Clark refers to Kin as the “anti-boutique-boutique.”
“I call it the anti-boutique-boutique because we provide unbiased styling advice, without the pretentiousness of high-end shops,” Clark explains. “It is more of a clubhouse where you can get head-to-toe outfits that fit your lifestyle and feel like you’re shopping with your best friends…which honestly, many of our clients have become.”
There’s been a lot of change in recent times for this concept, including an expansion to a bigger space, and a newly launched men’s store, which opened this past weekend.
“I’ve always been interested in menswear, and I actually started my styling career in men’s fashion. Four and a half years ago, when we first opened the women’s boutique, we carried a few select pieces for men, but we didn’t really have the space to grow that side of the business. As the years progressed it just made more sense to focus solely on women’s fashion. But since we moved the women’s shop to a larger space, I realized we finally had the opportunity to open a men’s shop a few doors down, in our original location,” says Clark.
Kin Boutique’s owner also notes that this new endeavor will follow the tradition of the store—which is having every customer see the value in their wardrobe, and to love and utilize every single item of clothing they purchase. Clark believes in investing in elevated basics, experimenting with nuanced design details and wearing uncomplicated comfortable fabrics. Plus there’s the friendly neighborhood feel that comes along with the Boutique. When you walk through the door, you’ll be greeted by name, they’ll have your size on file and as always, a fridge will be stocked with cold beer and their “house perfected” Negronis.
“I understand how lucky we are to be able to grow in such a difficult time. The pandemic was and still isn’t easy,” Clark continues. “But the support we’ve garnered from our customers and community made it all possible to continue to evolve and contribute to the neighborhood. I have so many close clients whose significant others are so excited over the possibility of being able to shop simultaneously just next door, and receive the same kind of service, unique products and expertise that their partners have been able to experience at our flagship.”
The idea here is to take the stress out of shopping.
“We’ll outfit you in what best fits your needs, in a low-pressure, welcoming environment. We’re mirroring many of the brother brands to our women’s lines, including Closed Official, Citizens of Humanity, Monrow and Rains, as well as some new up-and-coming designers out of Copenhagen and the US,” Clark continues.
The boutique owner also explains opening a second location definitely made it easier for demand, and Kin has maintained close relationships with their women’s clothing representatives who also carry men’s lines. But, it’s double the work with a lean staff. The pandemic has caused a mass exodus for many customer-facing businesses, including retail.
“We now have two social media accounts (@shopkinboutique and @shopkinmen), two stores to merchandise and buy for, as well as two stores to staff and market,” says Clark. “I’ve always been one to just put one foot in front of the other, so for my own sanity, I’ll be adopting that same prerogative with both shops. It does help that they are only two doors down from each other and in such a great neighborhood. I’m also very fortunate to have an amazingly supportive staff. It definitely takes a village.”
Clark also notes that if at any point, the men’s store is closed while they try to get on track with normal hours it’s “most likely not because we want to be.” But they will be working around the clock to make sure both locations offer what everyone needs.
Kin’s expansion began a few months ago, with the opening of her new location. Even during COVID-19, the boutique needed more space to meet demands.
“It was necessary, as we were growing at such a fast pace and couldn’t keep up. I know this is not necessarily a bad problem to have, but with demand, the merchandise was starting to look crammed and there would be substantial wait times for fitting rooms,” says Clark. “The new space is almost twice the size of the old one. We doubled our fitting rooms, and the layout of the new store allows for easier shopping and an increase in merchandise. It still has a warm neighborhood boutique feel to it. We call it Kin 2.0…there’s a little more to love. There is an intimacy about the original space that I do miss, so I am very much looking forward to working there again.”
How all of this was possible comes from the way Kin Boutique does business. Clark does not purchase merchandise on a net 30 or net 60 basis, she buys it outright. So, when she didn’t have an accounts payable balance during the 2020 shutdown, she was able to cancel orders ahead of time and pivot with the changing times.
“We also worked incredibly hard during the start of the pandemic to get an e-commerce website up and engaged with our audience through social media. We truly relied a lot on our current customer base to get us through the lockdown and we feel beyond grateful that we have the opportunity to grow and open a new men’s store, while serving and maintaining our connection with the community. We do sell great products, but even more than that, we’ve created a congenial environment where our customers can be themselves,” explains Clark. “I [also] feel so grateful to be a part of the Pine Street community, with now not one, but two storefront locations.”
For those looking to check out Kin Boutique, the women’s storefront is currently located at 1010 Pine Street, and the men’s is now located a few doors down at Kin’s original location, 1014 Pine Street.
“Guys, don’t be nervous to come check us out. There is absolutely no pressure to purchase. I can’t stress enough how much we want to get to know each of our new customers, so that they are truly comfortable when they begin to shop with us,” finishes Clark. “I always want everyone to feel good when they walk in and out of our doors, at both locations. So stop by, take a peek…and at the very least you’ll get to grab a quick drink on us before you leave.”
For information on Kin Boutique, visit shop-kin.com