Terri Cassels Cooper, owner of Franklin Village Boutique is as warm, welcoming and unique as her store and the items she curates.
By Amy Gill
Tell us a little bit about your career background:
I started out as a high school teacher, counselor and cheer coach. After teaching, I continued to coach and started motivational speaking on connecting with kids and colleagues, which I continue to do. I eventually started my own company – a cheerleading camp, which I enjoyed for 20 years. I found that I loved the company end of things almost as much as I valued helping kids and adults reach their full potential.
When and what inspired you to start this business?
For years and years, every time I wandered into an independent clothing or gift shop, I sort of fantasized about how cool it would be to have my own little store. So one day, a couple of years ago, I wandered into the Village Boutique and it felt like home – like something that I could make my own. Despite the fact that it wasn’t for sale at the time, I asked around, eventually spoke with the owners, who were interested in my proposal….and here we are!
What are the top 3 lessons you learned in your business journey?
- Success is built on the fine relationships you develop with your customers, vendors and staff. Handle them all with care and integrity.
- Risks, if well calculated, are almost always worth it.
- Make sure you love your work because owning your own business is a 24/7 agreement with yourself.
Tell us about your typical day:
Every day is a little different for me, but I generally start out waking up too early to make sure my son gets up on time (he’s a rising senior), feeding my 3 dogs and 2 cats, followed by a few miles on the elliptical or going to Pilates. Then off to work I go for the rest of the day!
What has been (or still is) your biggest business challenge? How do you overcome it?
My biggest challenge in this end of the fashion industry is trying to accept that consistency is difficult to attain in this business. It’s impossible to predict who will shop for what and when they’ll do it.
What do you love about your job?
My favorite thing by far about my shop is the people I am fortunate enough to work with every day. I LOVE my co-workers who have brought so much fun and perspective into this venture. I also love the fascinating life stories of our clients.
What is your store all about? How do you want customers to feel when they enter your space?
Our store has the atmosphere of a cozy up north shop. It is welcoming, warm and filled with wearable clothing lines and a unique collection of great gifts and accessories. The vast majority of our clientele come to see us because a friend, sister, neighbor or cousin recommended us. Our customers love the way they are greeted and treated!
What type of products do you offer?
Upscale, but fairly priced and exceptionally wearable women’s clothing, accessories and gifts.
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What are your current favorite items in store?
I love our line of Mona B bags – they are very cool and casual and are made from repurposed military canvas. As for clothing, there are just so many lines I love – Alembika, Chalet, Comfy, Tribal, Joseph Ribkoff, Lauren Vidal…. there’s so many more!
Are there any new products or lines that you will be carrying that you are excited about?
We are always looking for great new lines and this fall we will be carrying Stella Carakasi, Johnny Was and Eva Franco. They will be a great addition to our better known favorites in the store. Our customers are going to love them!
In regards to your personal style, do you have a signature accessory? (i.e. hat, bracelet, one of your pieces you always wear)?
The only staple I really have is a pair of black suede Donald Pliner flats that must be 10 years old. I can’t find another like them, so I’m going to wear them until the soles literally fall apart!
A few items in your closet that you can’t live without?
I only keep the clothing I truly wear in my closet and I pretty much love it all.
Who inspires your style? Favorite Style Icon?
Everyday women who wear what suits them best, dress age-appropriate and enjoy looking beautiful inspire me.
What are your favorite fashion trends this year?
We just finished our fall buying and I love that women have the freedom to wear their clothes in a variety of ways – slim pants, wide pants, shorter tops (making a comeback), longer tops, as well as dresses and skirts of all lengths and widths. When women have more styles to choose from, they are a bit more apt to ‘love’ how they look in their bodies.
Favorite fashion, lifestyle, food or business blog?
I love Josh Linkner’s weekly business blog.
Favorite places to shop other than your own store?
All those little boutiques up north.
Favorite place to eat?
Favorite quote or words to live by?
I live by quotes! My favorite is actually about kids by Stacia Taucher – “We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today.”
Favorite place for coffee or tea? And what is your favorite kind of coffee or tea?
The Maple – I love their mocha coffee sticks!
Currently reading? Currently Listening to?
I am ALWAYS listening to James Taylor. I read about a book a week, mostly historical fiction. I just finished America’s First Daughter by Laura Kamoie and Stephanie Dray.
A perfect weekend for you is…
My husband Gary and I love weekends away in Saugatuck at the Wickwood Inn.
Who would you most want to have a meal with, living or dead, and why?
I cherish uninterrupted, technology free meals out with my 16 year old son Ben! They don’t happen frequently enough for me!
Stop in and say hi to Terri and her lovely team at the Franklin Village Boutique – you will not be able to leave without picking up something unique and fun.
Franklin Village Boutique
32716 Franklin Rd.
Hours: Monday-Friday 11 a.m.– 5 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-4 p.m.