Entrepreneur, Kari Bolen

Author: Kayla Pearcey

Kari Bolen, Owner of Adorn Boutique, ignites the young entrepreneurial spirit Calgarians are most commonly known for. With Northern British Columbian and small town roots, Kari chose to invest in a small business here in Calgary primarily due to the lack of small boutiques targeting women in comparison to other major Canadian cities - specifically in the party dress category.

Through her love for Calgary's community energy as a whole, the pretty little neighbourhood, Inglewood sparked her interest on a much larger scale. The community's history, the welcoming environment and of course, the unique shops and business environment created the perfect mix to sell her on her decision to buy in Inglewood.

With the right timing, a little sparkle and a lot of passion, Kari's youthful dream to own a clothing boutique became a reality in 2014.

Q&A Session:

What is the best part of doing business in Calgary?

I love the sense of community both in Inglewood and from Calgary as a whole. It's a pretty big city, but it tends to feel small when you live here for a while! Most people are so friendly and Calgarians are always great when it comes to supporting local businesses.

How do you see your business in Calgary growing in the future? Do you believe the fashion industry has grown substantially in Calgary?

The Calgary community has been so supportive so far and it just seems to be getting better - who knows what the future holds! I would love to open a second location, or possibly a kids shop. I'm also looking into expanding into the online world in the near future.

I believe that Calgary's fashion industry is definitely on the rise, and has come a long way in recent years, especially with the help of organizations like PARK, who host multiple annual shows that are very professional, but I think we still have a long way to go! I would love to get more involved with organizations like PARK and Market Collective, as well as some of our new boutique wedding markets in the future. There have been a lot of great new initiatives popping up in lately and it's really exciting as a small business owner to see!

What partners/clients has Calgary connected you to?

We dress a lot of working women (especially within the oil and gas industry). A lot of our clients are ladies starting new jobs, or just looking to update their wardrobes with office-appropriate attire. But I would have to say that my connections within the growing Calgary wedding industry have been the biggest key to my success. All of my photographer, designer and planning contacts have been crucial to the growth of my Instagram following and my reach to brides and wedding guests, which make up a large portion of our customers.

I also find that there are so many small business owners in this city, whether it's someone making jewelry, artwork, or running something like a photography business - there's just so much creativity and I really love helping to support it by carrying their goods in my store. I have found that the small business community in this city is extremely supportive and friendly. I love it when we can all get along and help each other to grow, rather than try to compete.

It's also really exciting to be able to see the amount of local creativity through social media, like Instagram. I follow tons of Calgary businesses and I love to see all of the new things local companies are coming up with! I'm a huge fan of Instagram as a tool to promote small businesses!

"Most people are so friendly and Calgarians are always great when it comes to supporting local businesses."

Kari Bolen, Adorn Calgary

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