“Manifesting our creative hidden abilities” is what MOCHA stands for in the name of this unique business–which is definitely not a coffee shop! Kim Grayson and Nikki Warren are high school friends who opened the MOCHA Butterfly Boutique in downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma. I had the pleasure of interviewing co-owner Kim Grayson about the inspiration behind the business and its success.
“We wanted to support independent designers and help them find a voice in the community,” says Grayson of the inspiration for the boutique. The majority of items for sale in the boutique are made locally. They carry a range of items including clothing (some of which is created by co-owner Nikki Warren), jewelry, candles, body products, and children’s items. Many of the products featured in the store are one-of-a-kind items that would be difficult to get into the bigger chain stores. Grayson and Warren hoped that their store would allow these smaller businesses a place to sell their items without having to commit to making large quantities of products.
This concept of stocking the store mainly with locally-made items was hard to explain when pitching the idea to potential investors. “They thought we were talking about a thrift shop, or a craft mall with booths,” says Grayson. However, this did not stop the pair. Grayson and Warren opened the shop without any loans, and the concept has been successful. Grayson noted the biggest challenge has been the location of the shop. Downtown Tulsa is known mostly for bars and restaurants, not shopping.
“I am happy all the time,” was Grayson’s response when asked what personality traits have led to her success, “and it is important to go with the flow and to be flexible.” For example, they expected their customers to be women in their 40s and younger; however, their audience turned out to be mostly women 40 and over. The owners had to be flexible to meet the needs of the customers who actually were shopping at the store, and seek out products that would appeal to the unexpected, yet appreciated, audience. Grayson has a great rapport with customers, and the store has many regular customers who visit the store often, sometimes every day.
Grayson is proud to own a business that helps other businesses succeed. When people shop at the boutique, they are “helping 40 other small businesses, helping the economy, and helping Tulsa.” Her advice to other women who may want to start a business is “don’t think too hard, just do it.”
This is the sixth article in a series about woman-owned businesses. If you enjoyed this article, please check out our other UrbanGirl Profiles here. UrbanGirl is a woman-owned business, and we love celebrating successful women, especially small business owners. We are looking for women to interview for this series. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in being featured.