Everything is coming up golden for Iselle Perez.
It shows in her smile and a new boutique gaining a footing in Brownsville. Golden Girl Boutique is tucked next to the Vermillion, an iconic Brownsville restaurant and watering hole she co-owns with her husband, George.
Golden Girl is Iselle’s enterprise. It’s a business she launched in spring 2020. Those were perilous months to start anything new given all of the public health concerns that arose at the time. She nonetheless felt a burst of energy to do something during a time when so much came to a standstill.
Perez found an outlet for that energy in discovering a niche amid the business slowdowns. She set out to deliver fashion to the front doors of professional women participating in Zoom calls and other virtual platforms. The need to look good and feel good did not diminish even if there were fewer in-person meetings.
“Business women and professional women were spending more time in front of cameras with Zoom,” Perez said. “You want to look good.”
To meet that need in Brownsville, Perez began delivering blouses, dresses and gym clothes in styles that appealed to her. “Casual chic,” is her description of what she likes. Perez was confident other women would also find the style appealing. They did.
It wasn’t long before Perez’s sense of style and comfort wear for active women balancing work and family was resonating in Brownsville. Her budding business operation was making dozens of one-day deliveries throughout the city. Each article of clothing was steamed, pressed and put in plastic coverings. Touchless delivery was hung on front doors, with a picture taken and text messages sent to customers to make them aware their selection had arrived.
“What gave me confidence is that they trusted me,” Perez said. “Many women didn’t feel comfortable going to stores. They wanted to buy from someone local, someone they knew.”
It was midway through 2020 and with the rush of starting her fashion-on-the-go, Perez felt a need to pause a bit and reflect on her business.
It was going well, but she still felt a need to reassess and evaluate.
“I had started this quickly,” Perez said of the business. “Now I had to figure out what I was going to do with it.”
She got a better sense of what to order and when to do it so she would not stack up too much inventory. Perez refined those procedures while continuing to hone the fashion styles driving her business. She added shoes and accessories to her offerings. As the months passed and her business kept growing, Perez began to realize that the connection the Vermillion had built with its customers was developing at her new enterprise.
“We created a community over there,” she said. “We’re doing the same thing here.”
Adding A Major Piece
The next step was to open a physical storefront.
Golden Girl Boutique opened in early September 2021. It’s in a cozy corner, a sweet spot right by Expressway 77/83, across a large parking lot from Venture X. Walk into Golden Girl and you will experience a bright and elegant place with splashes of the owner’s favorite color.
Gold ornaments dot the interior of the store along with inspirational sayings framed in gold, with one saying, “Look good, feel good, do good.”
“It has done a lot for us,” Perez said of her new boutique. “They (customers) can come in here and touch and feel, which is still very important.”
Perez describes her store as a place where a woman can relax while taking her time making purchases. Glasses of champagne are also offered to Golden Girl’s customers as they browse the boutique.
“Shopping in a boutique is more mindful, more local,” she said. “It’s a safe, positive space. Our customers want to be more alone in making decisions. They don’t want a sales person following them around.”
From here, the golden girl who started her own boutique seeks to firmly establish her boutique while developing online sales and continuing the one-day deliveries in Brownsville. There’s another role she envisions. Perez would like to make home visits and make recommendations to her customers in aligning their clothing and wardrobe to the reality of the lives they’re leading.
“We do real life, real fashion,” she said with the smile of a happy entrepreneur. “We’re here for them.”