Big-city fashion boutique available right on Main Street in Wayne
After pursuing a degree in a field she loves, Kari Patefield went back to school to get her cosmetology license. Fashion boutiques aren't known for their abundance in small-town Nebraska, but eventually everyone needs a stylist.
Patefield got her degree in fashion merchandising and her minor in marketing from UNL but after living in Lincoln and Omaha for a few years, she realized even though her dream was to move to a big city and open her own boutique, city living wasn't for her.
"I graduated in 2013 from UNL and then I realized I wanted to move back home to Laurel and I thought that maybe fashion and small town wouldn't mix or that I wouldn't be able to find a job right away, so I went to hair school in Omaha because I've always liked to do hair too," Patefield said.
Once she moved back to the area, she began working out of Hair Envy Salon on Main Street in Wayne. Next door, classes for martial arts training were held up until a few months ago when the group moved to a different location in Wayne.
"The landlord came and talked to the owner of Hair Envy to see if she would want it for tanning or some expansion of her salon and she wasn't really interested in it," she said. "Then I heard about it and I talked to the landlords."
It didn't take Patefield long to realize this was her opportunity to make that boutique dream a reality.
"I always said if this space became available I would want it for a boutique. And it happened," said Patefield. "It was November when they said the space was going to be available but they didn't have a date, so I thought it over but by December I knew. It was just a matter of when I could get in here."
With her husband on board, Patefield dove headfirst into designing the space. Lucky for her, her husband is a handy one and was more than willing to make the space what she envisioned.
IKT officially opened its doors March 27, to the delight of many potential customers.
"I think, anymore, most would rather shop at a boutique because you have those unique pieces. It's different now, it's moving more toward this than the big retailers."
A play on a social media handle Patefield has, IKT is as stylish and unique as its name.
Patefield's selection is a mix of bold statement pieces and the necessary basics to build a solid, versatile wardrobe all within a reasonable budget.
"Even just in general, I feel like it's better to keep it lower and more affordable for more people so they have the opportunity to go home with three or four items rather than just one."
Patefield attended a market in Chicago where she selected several styles to be sold in the shop. She held back in some areas though, such as accessories and shoes, waiting for another market to give things a more thorough checking before ordering.
"I want to add more accessories, and coming this fall I think I'll do shoes and boots," she said. "I want to see them in person -- to quality check them -- before I order them."
Patefield gives credit to her job at a boutique called Blue Velvet while she was in school at UNL with showing her a different aspect of retail work. She said she "fell in love with this side of retail" after her boss took her to MAGIC, the retail market in Las Vegas.
Right now Patefield is still maintaining her clients at Hair Envy, but she will be dropping down to three days a week. That doesn't mean IKT will only be open on her days off though.
"I'll do Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at the salon," Patefield said. "IKT will be open six days, possibly seven days a week. I'm looking at Sunday, but I'm not sure about that yet."
Patefield is quick to post her new arrivals on the IKT Facebook page to let potential shoppers know about incoming items because once the piece has sold out, it likely won't be reordered.
Look for a grand opening celebration to come later this spring after the bugs have been worked out with the new computer system and everyone is getting into the swing of things.
Patefield is optimistic about how things have gone so far and how they'll continue to grow.
"I think people are really excited to have something new. I'll be interested to see how it continues but it has been good so far."