Business news

Be U Boutique in Sumter brings 'feel good' style to plus-size women


Hidden in the Wesmark Plaza Shopping Center is a gem targeting fashionable plus-size women who want to make a statement with what they wear.

Be U Boutique is a personalized clothing store that opened on Feb. 4 with its grand opening on March 14. Since then, the store has been a success to its customers and first-time store owner Tabitha Holland.

"We've been maintaining, let me just say that," Holland said. "For here, we've been doing pretty good."

Be U Boutique offers plus-size fashion in business wear, casual wear, party wear, evening wear and accessories.

Holland moved from New York City to live closer to her family in Sumter, where her father was born and raised. Before making the move, she worked as a manager for the copy center at Brooklyn College.

"I knew I wanted to start my own business, and it was a no-brainer for me. I'm going to open up my own clothing store," she said.

Holland said her friends always told her she had a way of putting her clothes together in a unique and fashionable style. Owning her own fashion boutique became her next priority for a career.

With a bachelor's degree in digital design, Holland completed a six-month course to become a boutique owner at IPA Career College and received her certificate to start her business.

She immediately followed her passion and dream to run her own retail store and was able to lease a space at Wesmark Plaza.

She said she decided to make her target audience plus-size women because Sumter's plus-size options were minimal and not the "feel good" style she loves to wear and purchase herself.

Holland said she gets designs from trade shows in places like Las Vegas, where she recently visited to invest in items for the upcoming fall and winter season, that aren't made from big-name brands or designers.

"I get from different designers because I like clothing that's different," Holland said. This keeps her store unique and still in-style with the latest fashion trends.

Holland said city life is faster-paced when it comes to fashion than it is in Sumter but that the business has been great since day one.

With her business being a success so far, Holland said she has decided to move forward and help her boutique progress even more.

"I'm in the process of creating a website. Hopefully, that'll be up and running by mid-September," she said.

The store will also start carrying merchandise in shapewear, lingerie, lapcloths, shoes and hats in the near future.

"I have it in my mind already, so we're going to be getting on it," Holland said. "I'm new to retail, and I'm learning as I go."