There are not many people who would open a boutique during a pandemic when other businesses are shutting down. However, Jana Normandin and her husband, Russell, did just that and it is a mere preview of her courageous go-getter attitude. Jana’s Boutique was opened in October and fulfilled the mother of seven's dream of offering her own product line.
“I got a whim to open a boutique,” Normandin said. “In the middle of a pandemic, with seven kids and being on dialysis, that is what we did even though it was insane.”
Jana started with an online Lularoe boutique and quickly moved up to the top 3% with the company. She had been so successful she was recruited by the company to train others and traveled around the country. Her husband of 17 years was able to fully retire after a 20-year career with the United States Marine Corps. The couple settled in Austin with their two children. Deciding they had more love to give, they adopted five more children and relocated to Athens in search of a perfect fit.
“We needed a bigger home and Austin was too expensive,” she said. “I had an online boutique and Athens had a home in our size.”
Shortly after moving to Athens, tragedy struck when Normandin’s autoimmune kidney disorder flared up and she had to have emergency surgery. Both of her kidneys failed. She started dialysis, which she is able to do at home, and was placed on the transplant list.
In spite of the tremendous hurdles, she has built a successful online boutique and is in the process of creating a successful storefront for the average American lady.
“I love people and I love helping them feel pretty,” she said. “Sometime you just need that outside perspective and someone to call out your best features. My favorite part of the job is helping women find things that make them feel beautiful.”
There are several unique features at Jana’s that set her store apart.
Jana helps you accentuate the positive by guiding you to items that show off your best features. Having someone assist you when shopping is a lost art and most stores leave you on your own to flounder about.
Remember the days when you went to the mall and the store had people assist you in finding styles and running to get you the right size? The small town touch of this boutique brings back the knowledgeable sales staff and customer service we have lost over time. Having someone to ask for advice is a great feature of this new store.
Another unique feature is the clothes go from small to 3X and jeans from size one to 24. Many boutiques only offer smaller sizes. Over half of American women are over size 14 and are unable to find options at many locations. Many know that sinking feeling of walking into a store where none of the clothes fit. That is not a feeling Jana wanted for her clients.
Price point is also a focus for the boutique. The word boutique screams high prices, and can make people shy away from even going in. However, this store is designed to help you get an outfit for what some demand for one item.
“I really kept the price point in consideration as well because I wanted people to be able to buy a pair of jeans, a top and an accessory for around $100,” she said.
The store also has accessories, purses, gift items and some home decor and candles.
This is offered along with stringent quality checks. All of the items offered have to pass a unique list of criteria.
“My clothes are cute, comfy and covered,” she said. “I want it to feel good to the touch and be covered but still look cute. “
Normandin achieves this goal by attending the Dallas markets on a monthly basis personally. Every item that comes into the store is literally hand selected.
“I touch and feel every brand. If they pass the touch test, then I look at quality and price point,” she said. “If I find a brand that I like, then I start a rack of coordinating pieces, that mix and match and coordinate beautifully. I go to market in person and put my hands on each item.”
As she builds up her business, she also finds time to build up other women trying to do the same.
“I feel like you get what you give,” she said. “I don’t mind sharing what I know and helping people.”
The store is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. It is closed Sunday and Monday.
On the Net: