CB Boutique Becomes a Word-of-Mouth Sensation
Among Amarillo Moms!
Nicole Ballin’s three daughters; Kairah 17, Kailee 15 and Payton 4, have been and continue to be the driving force and inspiration for her thriving boutique, CB Boutique. Having three daughters calls for alot of activities and alot of hair accessories. Nicole always found that store bought hair bows were expensive and cheaply made, so she bought some ribbon and began making her own. She sat at her daughters’ various basketball and soccer practices when they were 8 and 10 making adorable bows for them and their friends. Nicole began growing a devoted following of mothers and daughters who wanted to purchase her custom bows.
So in 2011, she created a Facebook page for CustomBows723 (723 for her daughters’ birthdays) and began selling them at the flea market and local craft shows. Not only could Nicole make a completely unique and custom hair bow, but her bows are made with quality ribbon and quality clips, are hand sewn as well as glued and are guaranteed not to fall apart.
One year into the flea market, Nicole landed a small bow holder space at Vintage Living. She was given a larger space when the current owner, Robin, took over and saw what a hard worker she was and how her craftsmanship and creativity was gaining her quite a following among Amarillo moms. Nicole had been waiting tables at Pizza Hut full time and making bows on the side. In October 2014, she took the leap and opened her own boutique, CB Boutique, at 2710 Civic Circle. She still continued waiting tables on Mondays when CB was closed and Thursday nights after closing the boutique. Hustling seven days a week to build her dream.
As Nicole continued to draw a following of dedicated bow lovers, she added “mommy and me” outfits, then newborn clothes and accessories and finally women’s clothing and shoes. As CB Boutique began busting at the seams, Nicole took on the location of the old Lingerie Allure at 2819 Civic Circle the day after Christmas in 2016. The location was remodeled and now has sections for preemie, infant, toddler, preteen, ladies, shoes, accessories, toys and even a section for men.
When asked how Nicole is able to juggle being a single mom of three daughters and running a huge boutique with such eclectic inventory, she replied, “you have to be a certain level of crazy”. Along with her self proclaimed “crazy”, she runs her business on faith and prayer. Whenever she comes to an impasse or is faced with a big decision, she said she prays on it until the answer is presented to her. When she became overwhelmed with keeping up with her massive bow inventory, she prayed about it. Then Amy Whitley posted on Facebook that she was closing her Cross My Heart booth at the flea market so Nicole contacted her and now she has a talented assistant to take some of the load off of her.
As you walk around her store you will find so many items that are cute, fun and unique. There is literally something for everyone. When asked how she chooses the items she will carry, Nicole said she likes to follow trends and finds alot of items that her daughters are in to. One thing that sets CB Boutique apart is that Nicole doesn’t go to “market”, she researches and loves to brainstorm with a fellow boutique owner from North Carolina. So the majority of their inventory is unique to CB Boutique. Nicole can tell you what is special about each product and why she chose it. Some of the products that continue to stay in the store are the Yummy Gummy accessories, which are silicone accessories that have a yummy scent that can be brought back and refreshed, Zenzii earrings, Happy Mat (the smiley face rubber food tray that was seen on Shark Tank) and OGGI water bottles that can be customized right there in the store. There is an entire wall dedicated to Melissa & Doug toys which Nicole loves for their high quality, simplistic designs and educational value. CB Boutique also makes custom birthday outfits that have a onesie with your little one’s age imprinted and an adorable matching tutu and a custom bow.
While recently on vacation with her daughters, they came across a tiny Build A Bear in the Rain Forest cafe. Nicole researched having a similar stuffed animal unit in her store and now there is a section, recently named the Cuddle Buddy Station by a Facebook fan, with animals, stuffing and all the clothes to create custom stuffed animal. Along with the Cuddle Buddy Station, CB Boutique created a party room in the back for a Cuddle Buddy birthday party which gives Amarillo a new and unique party venue for kids!
Nicole’s favorite thing about owning her own business is that things are always changing, there is always something new and different coming along. She is always open to new ideas and opportunities. CB Boutique has become wildly successful, not only because Nicole Ballin is hard working and talented, but because she is the epitome of “good things happening to good people”. She carries alot of products from fellow local business owners and she doesn’t want to build a website and risk items not being available to her local community.
CB Boutique will be holding a Back-To-School promotion where you buy a pair of new unisex tennis shoes (similar in style to the popular Yeezys) and she will be donating a pair to her church, Rockwell Road Baptist Church. After seeing a Facebook post on Family Support Services being in need of a retail space for a woman’s Clothes Closet, Nicole contacted them and they are now remodeling one of her back rooms to accommodate women in need in Amarillo. Nicole’s passion for such projects stems from when she herself lived in a children’s home. Nicole was born in Germany and moved around alot as an “army brat”. She was brought to Amarillo and put in a children’s home at the age of 14. She walked out of the children’s home at 17 to live on her own. Nicole remembers having to shop for clothes in the basement of the children’s home so she knows how much even used clothing means to someone who is living without.
So don’t hesitate to check CB Boutique out on their Facebook page at facebook.com/723custombows or step into their new store at 2819 Civic Circle. There is a play area for the kids and you will walk out with some adorable items and a gift for a friend or loved one with free custom CB Boutique gift wrapping!