In 2016, when January Lincoln first saw the space for what would become her future women’s boutique off Morton Street in historic downtown Richmond, she knew she had to make an offer that same day—and she did.
“I made an offer that day and we closed,” Lincoln said. “I feel like it was kind of a meant to be kind of thing.”
A little over a year since Lincoln first opened the Rustic Closet, the women’s boutique has caught on with residents and visitors to the small town. Lincoln said business has been steady at the shop where she sells women’s apparel, shoes, jewelry and accessories, perfume and bath products like bath bombs and body scrubs. She also ships anywhere in the U.S.
“I just shipped to somebody in Rhode Island the other day; [they]found me on Pinterest,” Lincoln said.
Before she was shipping all over the U.S., Lincoln said opening the Rustic Closet was a dream of hers that came about after the birth of her daughter and her husband’s retirement from playing professional baseball.
“I wanted to do something fun and to make people feel beautiful about themselves and to help them style themselves, even though sometimes I need help styling myself,” Lincoln said. “It’s been very rewarding.”
Lincoln said the Rustic Closet is a mix of two styles: her own personal, rustic and sometimes loud style and the style of her close friend Sarah Hoffman, who is more reserved and likes a modern fit.
“Everything that I like, I put in here—it is very personal,” Lincoln said. “[But] it’s definitely a mix of both of our closets.”
While their two styles are very different, she said they meld well together.
“She’s more of a fitted style and I am more of a loose fit style,” Lincoln said. “She doesn’t like any big, loud, floral stuff, [but]she’s growing into it.”
Lincoln said she is happy she went with her gut and decided to buy the space for her boutique now that she has settled into her Richmond digs. She said she thinks the Rustic Closet and the four other boutiques located within a 1-mile radius of the store have helped revamp the area into a shopping destination, drawing people back to the historic district.
“The fact that four boutiques can feed off each other I think is awesome because we’ve made it a shopping destination,” Lincoln said. “…It still keeps you coming back to the area and that’s what we need; we need people that are going to stick around.”
Lincoln said while she has yet to make a personal profit, she has stayed busy and expects to see a return within the next year. She credits the Richmond community for helping her jump-start the boutique.
“There’s nothing but growth here,” Lincoln said. “…The potential for what is to come is super exciting.”
While Lincoln admits her time is pretty well taken up by the day-to-day duties of running her boutique, she said she could see herself expanding into a specialty store.
“It would be awesome to expand to a kid’s store if I could, or something along those lines, because I feel like that’s not offered enough in this area,” Lincoln said. “It’s definitely something that I could see myself doing in the future.”
She said she is excited for what the future holds for her labor of love. After learning the ins and outs of running a boutique, her advice for other aspiring business owners is simple.
“I think that I was expecting instant gratification. I didn’t think it was going to be as much work as it is,” Lincoln said, “[So] expect to work your tail off more than you would ever imagine because it’s a lot of blood, sweat and tears, for sure.”
The Rustic Closet
311 Morton St., Richmond
Hours: Tue.-Sat. 10 a.m.- 5 p.m., Closed Sun.-Mon.