Kristin Walters is an orthodontic assistant by day and an online boutique owner by night. In May of 2019, she launched Sixteen Eleven Boutique.
The name “Sixteen Eleven” came from her parents’ home address. Walters prides herself on selling trendy clothes and accessories. She describes the style of her collection as classy and professional, yet cute and fun. She has always been interested in fashion and shopping, but did not think she would create a business from it until her husband, Jacob, encouraged her to go for it because he is an entrepreneur himself and believed she could achieve the same thing he did.
Selling high quality items is important to Walters, so she goes through wholesalers and buys clothing at markets. She carries multiple different name brands, like Viamor, Kan Can, Flying Monkey, Love Tree, Nicki Bicki and more. After picking out items she likes, she stocks up and regularly updates her website. Right now, new arrivals are mainly posted on the Sixteen Eleven Boutique Instagram and website on Wed., but soon all new arrivals will be posted as soon as they come in.
In her rustic workspace in her Baldwin City home, she organizes her collection and processes all orders. People can browse through the Sixteen Eleven Boutique website and order in stock items. They can order items with free shipping, and Walters will ship it out within 24 hours. If customers live in Baldwin City or anywhere close can come to her house if they wish to try-on items and buy in person.
“If people want to come try stuff on to know how it looks, they can make an appointment and then come by. Sometimes it’s more of a party because they bring a couple friends and just have fun,” Walters said.
Through family, friends and word of mouth, Walters has received great support. She says her family has been her biggest support system, and that her mom is one of her most avid customers. Beyond local business, she has shipped to around ten other states now.
Though Sixteen Eleven Boutique is run solely by Walters, she interviewed around 7 to 9 girls for an ambassador program. She decided on five ambassadors, four of which are Baker students, to promote her brand and showcase her new items online. These ambassadors receive perks and also each have a code, so people can shop through them to get discounts. Walters is hoping to expand to ten ambassadors next year.
“It is difficult owning my own business because I’m the customer service, the shipping department, the buyer, the seller, the marketing department…I do everything, so it would be nice to delegate,” Walters said. “But at the same time, I can also be a little bit more of a perfectionist on my own. I know exactly how I want my business run.”
Walters has big dreams for the future of Sixteen Eleven Boutique. Eventually she wants a physical store. Since Baldwin City has very little clothing stores, Walters wants her boutique to be a breath of fresh air in the small town.
“There aren’t a lot of store spaces and options to bring any new businesses or young entrepreneurs into Baldwin, so once I develop my business a little more I hope to change that,” Walters said.
Walters has a vision for her perfect building. It includes a pink and gold theme with neon lettering around. She would want to achieve a modern, industrial type of look while being neat, organized and easy to shop at. “I really want it to be a friendly space where people can go hang out and have fun shopping,” Walters said.
Through her business, Walters has met multiple people in the Baldwin community, and she wants to reach even more, including Baker’s population. Doing a pop-up shop near campus to is on her bucket list. She will also be participating in the 2019 Maple Leaf Festival for the first time. She will have a tent set up and tables with merchandise, and people can try clothes on and purchase on the spot.
“Women empowerment is so big right now, and I love that,” Walters said.
“I want women and young people in general to know that you can do what you want, like don’t settle. It’s important to have a solid job, but follow your dreams too. You can have a side hustle. I love my full time job, I love my part time job just as much because I’m passionate about it.”