Shop Small ILM with Meadowlark A Superb Boutique & Excellent Conversation W/ Kendall Hurts Podcast Episode #5

Thank you for tuning in to Shop Small ILM, where we showcase locally owned businesses from the Cape Fear Region. If you like what you hear, please subscribe. Leave us a rating and share with your friends. All right, so today on Shop Small ILM, we have Kendall Hurt of Meadow Lark women’s clothing boutique. Kendall, thank you for coming on the show.

Thank you so much for having me. Absolutely. So tell us a little bit, you know, what is Meadow Lark? Meadow Lark is fun. And where you can come to look for and look at women’s clothing and accessories. We also have bags and shoes and you can come and expect to have fun. Okay? You can come and expect to work with a staff that knows what they’re doing and knows a lot about the product that’s in the shop.

Okay. And that want to get you in the dressing room so that we can have fun. Yeah. And be there to give you opinions or talk about how different pieces look on you so that we can help you kind of find your essence.

Okay. And different things you’re trying on so you can have that moment that we really wait for where we see that you feel amazing. Yeah. That’s what we’re all about. Like that’s the best thing ever. So if you’re looking to have an experience like that, then Meadowlark is a really great place to shop.

Okay, great. That sounds fun… And I like to say that we do everything from jeans to cocktail dresses. Okay. So really wide variety there. And then I’m a very eclectic dresser. You know, sometimes I can be professional or bohemian or Yeah. You know, bummy and I can do it all and like to do it all. So I like to have just a really good variety in the shop.

Because I just kind of assume that people like to do that as well and like to see different things in their closets. Yeah. So you’ll find a nice diversity there. And also price ranges. Like, I don’t wanna leave. Out. Okay. So there’s you know, prices start in the forties and then they go up from there.

Okay. So there’s a little bit for everybody as, as well as that goes too. Awesome. Good deal. So Meadowlark is an interesting name. What was the inspiration behind that? So I lost my mother in 2009. Okay. To early onset Alzheimer’s. And it was an 11 year journey. And in early January I started hearing a bird every morning.

And I lived in a really well insulated house, you know, lots of brick and Yeah. And I couldn’t get over. How much it felt like that bird was with me and how much I could hear it and how clear it was and how I felt like it was talking to me every morning. Wow. And I felt it odd because it was January to be hearing a song Bird.

I felt like that was way too early. And it was just, it was every morning and there was no denying that there was something there. And I got so used to it and felt so connected to it that when I would leave for work in the morning before I got in the car, I felt like I had to say. See you later, mom.

Like, I literally, I had to say goodbye because there had been this conversation happening the entire time I was getting ready for work, and it, it went on for months. I did notice after a certain amount of time it faded so that it wasn’t so much every morning, but I, you know, if things were happening, if I don’t know, having a stressful time or if something was going on that was hard, all of a sudden it would come back stronger and I would hear it again.

Yeah. And are certain points, like I would just stop everything and realize, there it is, I’m having this really tough time. And there, there it is. And I’d go outside and there was the Meadow lark.

So it was really interesting how it would fade and come back when I needed. And so it took me a long time to figure out what, what is this bird? Because I couldn’t see it for the first year. Okay. I could never see it. And then the second year I could see it, but I could never get close enough to figure out what it was.

And then the third year, I was finally able to see it enough to, to figure out, okay, this is what it looks like. And then I figured out what it was. And I’ve since heard it in a few travels it’s like a meadow bird, obviously. Yeah. And so if you’re in kind of open spaces Okay. Like winery areas in Virginia, and I think I heard it out in Oregon too.

Of course that’s a Western Meadow lark. But I’ve heard it a few times since, but nothing like I did for a while. So I think she was just with me every day to be there and to comfort me and to let me know you’re not alone. I haven’t left you. Yeah. But she took her time letting me go. Yeah. But would come back when I needed her the most.

that’s, that’s the name. And she was hugely important in my life. We were intensely close, sometimes good, sometimes bad. Yeah. And I just don’t think I ever would’ve had the guts to, you know, leave my town, start all over, open a business had it not been for the lessons she taught me my whole life.

Yeah. So the shop is, you know, a lot for her too. Okay. That’s crazy how life gives you exactly what you need at sometimes. Yes. It’s a beautiful, wonderful thing. Yeah. Heck, I don’t know how to follow that up. Okay you’re a sweet man, Devin Brooke, you did good.

So you said that a lot of her teachings helped you pick up and, and move to a new town mm-hmm. And start a business. Yes. And so, so where do you originally hail from? Yeah, so I’m from Roanoke, Virginia. Okay. Which is in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Okay. And I was in the middle of divorcing and also had decided through some of.

You know, searching and figuring things out that I didn’t wanna work for corporate America anymore. Okay. That was not the place for me. And you know, I just really remained open and listened to, you know, and watched, you know, for the universe to kind of help me figure out what I was supposed to do. And so I decided I wanted to work for myself.

Yeah. Wanted to kind of give that passion and energy to me every day and see what I could do with. Absolutely. And I decided on Wilmington because if I was going to leave the mountains, it was going to be for the ocean. And Wilmington, a friend suggested it. I gave her this criteria. It was really short criteria.

And she said, Wilmington, that’s the place that matches. Yeah. And it really was. Yeah. And so I came here for 24 hours by. Okay. And that was it. I knew, okay, that’s, that’s it. It matched matched everything I was looking for. I felt great about it. You know, culture is good here. Art is good here. It’s beautiful.

Yeah. It’s the right size. And I, I really needed it to be a town that remained vibrant. Yeah. During the winter months. Even though we’re a beach town, we’re not just a beach town. Not just a beach town. Yeah. Yeah. So, Wilmington, it was. Have you always been into to fashion and, no. No, no. It’s so funny, I didn’t know a thing about fashion.

I didn’t, I wasn’t a jewelry person. I definitely wasn’t a makeup or hair person. N none of that. Okay. Didn’t have a clue about clothing really either until I really think I hit my forties. One of the things that I just love to do when I travel and the reason I love to travel is because I get to see so many things.

Yeah. I’m really visual. So I just noticed the joy that I got out of looking at design of all kinds. I really love architecture. I would always go to the art museum, any city I ever went to. Yeah. And then I started to enjoy clothing more and learning. To dress and understand fabrics more. And it just was an education, honestly.

Okay. And I would shop a lot when I traveled, and that helped me choose distinctive pieces. Yeah. And then I noticed that I would get a lot of compliments. and, you know, on my jewelry, on my clothing, on my shoes, just a lot of compliments and, and never expected that it would be a clothing store. Never expected that.

But when I was trying to figure out what I would do, that message kind of came to me and You know, I really said to the universe, get out. And the universe was like, no, that’s, that’s it. That’s what you’re supposed to do. Yeah. And so I just said, okay, you know, I guess that makes sense. I get a lot of compliments on those things, so yeah, I’m just gonna believe in that and go do it.

So. Awesome. No, and I learned how to do it, and now hopefully I do it successfully. So what you’re saying is there’s, there’s hope for me that I can develop a sense of passion. So much hope and I’m loving what you’re doing with the beard. Okay. Yeah, I think it’s fabulous. Brooke is, I think Brooke’s ready for it to be a little really well shortened up.

I think it looks fabulous. . Thank you. Awesome. Well, that’s awesome that it, this, even though it wasn’t what you were originally thinking you would do, still allows you to get that travel piece Yes. And, and shopping and find Yes. You know, really, I guess curate. Mm-hmm. outfit. Perfect work. Okay. ? Yes. Nicely.

See, look, I’m already learning. Yes, that’s exactly right. Okay. And I hope to do more of that. You know, I, I wanna get to a point where I can. Afford to take this overseas, you know, and be able to go to places like Bali or Istan Bull and hit markets. Yeah. And buy that way to bring back, that would be my ultimate, you know, kind of dream in this particular Yeah.

Job and and profession. That’s awesome. Yeah. Yeah. So now you also do private shopping events, correct? Yes, we do. We can do that for anybody. So if you wanna have a fun night with a girlfriend, it can be for no reason at all. It can be for a birthday party, whatever you’d like. We love to hold a.

Private parties will open a few bottles of wine for you and offer you a discount. Okay. And have a lot of fun. And there’s nothing better than shopping with friends because then you can get input. Yeah. And that whole dressing room magic that I talked about is especially fun when you’ve got other friends nearby, and I think it helps you discover.

You know, more things that maybe you never would’ve thought that would look good on you because you’ve got other people that know you well saying, I really think this would be fantastic on you. You should give it a try. So the private shopping parties are a lot of fun. We also do that with area nonprofits.

Okay. And we’re, we’re very open and, and welcoming to doing fundraisers for organizations where they, we set aside a night. We can send out letters and let supporters know, let all of my customers know. Okay. And again, offer a discount and, and give a certain percentage back to that organization.

We are big believers in giving back. This community takes care of me and I wanna take care of the community, so that’s awesome. I like to do that. That is awesome. Another service that we offer is called Closet Coach and that can really work different ways. It really depends on what the customer’s looking for.

Essentially, I can help you organize, I can help you figure out what pieces really work for you and why, and what pieces maybe don’t work for your silhouette and why. So it can help you as you move forward, making selections for your. I can help you come up with a, you know, that dress is really perfect, but it needs to be shortened, so let’s keep it, but let’s take it to a tailor and get it shortened.

Okay. So just really kind of help you get an understanding of what you have, what works, what doesn’t. Mm-hmm. And then make it work in your closet with the goal being it’s a, a door you open and actually really like what you see inside. So we’ve got the garden party just around the corner. That’s and everybody’s wondering about their outfit.

Mm-hmm. , how can you how can you help people get prepared for that? Well, we can certainly help them choose a beautiful dress. Yeah. We, we, I actually really think about garden party when I am shopping for that particular season and that delivery period. So I have it in mind. Pick pieces that will be perfect for the event.

We definitely have shoes and jewelry to Okay. To go with those outfits. And then I think like the creme de la creme or the hat hat wear that we get in. Yeah. So I work with two ladies. One is from Lexington, Kentucky. Okay. It was a great place to be if people wanna wear, you know, fascinators and hats.

Yes. And then the other, she’s out of New York City, but it’s Christine A. Moore and she is, is an official miler for the Kentucky Derby. Oh, wow. And so I, I get pieces from both of those milers and have those available in the shop. I’ll actually expect that I’ll start to get those around the end of February or beginning of March.

And even if you’re not gonna purchase or you’re not even going to the garden Party, it’s a great thing to come in the shop. Look and, and peruse the hats and fascinators. They’re a lot of fun. Yeah. A lot of beautiful work. That’s awesome. All right. Can you tell everybody where you’re located? Yes. I’m located at the Forum, which is a, a great shopping center in town.

They do a lot to support local business. Yeah. And it is on Military Cutoff Road. I am kind of down on the, I’m gonna say northern end of that shopping center near Bento Box. Okay. Now, if someone, Make it to your location. Mm-hmm. , you offer online sales? Yes. Yes. We we do have a website and I’d say 99% of our inventory is on the website.

Okay. And it is meadowlark Awesome. Easy to shop. It’s, it’s actually a renewed website, so I’m really proud of it. It was a lot of work. And yeah, so you can look there and you can purchase and you can have it shipped, or you can also choose a local pickup with no shipping charges. And then if you wanna come into the shop, we’re there Monday through Saturday.

10 until six. 10 until six. Okay. One thing we’d like to ask all the business owners is what would be some advice you’d give to someone just starting out? , my advice would be to get out into the community and, you know, get to know people if you’re new. That was my situation. Get to know as many people as you can, find where you really fit and where you’re gonna have fun.

And then I just think it, it just naturally kind of takes over from there. In Wilmington, people want to support each other. Yeah. And so if you can make connections, that’s just automatically going to mean people are gonna know your business and they’re gonna wanna come through your front. Yeah. That’s a common thread we’ve heard through recording.

This really is, if you sincerely mm-hmm. , sincerely . Mm-hmm. put, put into Wilmington. Mm-hmm. , it gives it back. Yes. I totally agree with that. It’s a wonderful place in that way. Yeah. Mm-hmm. . Awesome. Well, Kendall, thanks for coming in and telling us a little bit about Meadow Lark. Appreciate you being on the show.

It is my absolute pleasure. Thank you so much for thinking of me. Of course. I love that you all are doing this. It’s amazing. I’m super duper passionate about small business and supporting.

Thanks for joining us on Shop Small ILM, powered by Salt Air heating, cooling, and electrical. Don’t forget to leave us a rating and subscribe so you get updated when new episodes are released.