“Just because we have to social distance doesn’t mean we can’t do it in style.” Local Live interviews Chrissy Evans of Aaliyah’s Beautique.
Chrissy Evans of Aaliyah’s Hair Beautique chats about keeping her multi-generational fashion boutique thriving during these difficult times. After opening their boutique in 2019 on Chelten Ave., Chrissy, her sister and their niece (Aaliyah) had to adapt quickly to the COVID shutdown, amping up their online presence, expanding their fashion offerings for women and men (including custom facemasks!), and collaborating with other Gtown businesses to help their customers weather the shutdown in style.
A few quotes from her interview. (Full interview transcript below)
- With the bigger malls and box stores closed, we’re hoping this is a great opportunity to thrive. People are focusing on shopping local and looking for a more personal experience.
- Between my niece, me, and my sister, we’ve got three generations of fashion designers – 20, 30s and 40s. The styles range from big bold colors to more refined styles. Each of us brings a different flair to our collection.
- Our goal has always been to work with local businesses. We all have something to give to the community and it’s better when we can do it together.
The Local 0:01
Okay, here we are. This is Steve Fillmore. With the Local Live. I’m an editor of the Northwest local newspaper. We are here with Chrissy Evans of Aaliyah’s Beautique and she’s here to give us a little bit of information about a store that’s doing a lot of good work and has been doing some great jewelry and has a special coming up for Mother’s Day. But we’ll, we’ll get to that. But first. Hi, nice to meet you.
And I just wanted to ask you a little bit about you know, the history of Aaliyah’s, how it got started, you know, where the idea came from. that sort of thing?
Sure. So we my sister, mother, niece and I — my niece being Aaliyah — we actually got started with our love of fashion and accessorizing and we, we accumulated so much clothes and jewelry and one of our passions for all of us was to create a space where one can come in any season, any time and accessorize the clothes that they currently have with our jewelry and our accessories.
So, last year, our mother passed, and one of the one of the things that she definitely was pushing for my sister and I was to do something for us. So that’s when we came about actually doing a storefront. We actually had been in business for the last five years we were doing a lot of things online. And then you know, that, that that pushed us into wanting to do something more – one, in our community. Two, just because like I said there was a need for it.
Specifically in this community of just having a very high end posh boutique that can cater to anyone male and female.
The Local 1:54
the ideas for the jewelry — has that evolved over time? I mean, where do you get the ideas from?
So the funny thing is so it’s you know, myself, my older sister Tamika, and my niece Aaliyah — the namesake of the store. we have an age difference of about 10 years. So 20, 30s and 40s. So we, which is you know, it can be fun at times, but we have such a selection of all three of our genres of what we enjoy. And so when you come into our boutique, you’ll see stuff in Aaliyah’s generation, where you’re going with more costume jewelry, big bold colors, colored stones and things of that nature. And then you come into my era where it’s a little bit more subtle. I have a bit of a streamlined, I like monotone I’m cut and dry. And then you have my sister, who also has, you know, a different type of flair or style, who, you know, complements kind of all of us. So we want to create a space where, like I said, we had a little bit of everything. So we have handmade jewelry, we have custom, we have costume.
You know, we’ve bridged the gap in adding pocketbooks and home goods, lingerie, and men’s items, something that we actually didn’t initially have, but now that’s growing because of the outpour of support from men and women and, and they, you know, guys will come in and say, well, you got something for me too? We have that. That was something that we we never thought of, but that was a community based thing where we would have so many guys come in purchasing for their girlfriends, mothers, and it was a “what about me?”, you know, so we definitely got more merchandise because of it.
The Local 3:33
And what are some of the more popular men’s items that showed up as a result of that?
We offer the matching bow ties and ties suspender sets we have men’s hats, we have wallets. We have jewelry, wristbands, necklaces, watches. So rings, you know, we have quite a bit of men’s items to choose from.
The Local 3:58
Oh, that’s excellent. How are you sourcing that?
For the hand-beaded or handmade jewelry that we have, it’s a huge selection that’s locally made, not local to us, but in northeast Maryland. Like right outside of Wilmington, Delaware. She hand makes all of our handmade jewelry. So it has a special touch. Nothing is the same. It may look similar but nothing is the same. She has a good variety of beaded handmade selections.
You know, we do free delivery, we do the No Contact pickup. We started pushing our custom made masks and in ways we can accessorize. So, we tried to go with the flow of things because we now know we’re going into a new world of having to wear masks, having to wear gloves, having to just have the proper PPE style things on just to protect us. And because we’re a hands-on shop, where, you know, people come in, they touch they feel, they pick things up.
That was quite an undertaking to switch to a place where we’re telling people you can’t touch that, you know, we’re enforcing the hand washing, we’re offering gloves.
We’re offering the disposable masks. We’re just kind of switching gears and going with the flow because I think, ultimately, we all will need to.
So we’re hoping during this time when these bigger malls and stores are closed that we can come in and say, “Hey, we’re a small business, we offer a more personal experience.”
So this is where we’re hoping we actually thrive while there’s a lull in going to a big box store or a mall.
The Local 5:48
With the masks that you mentioned, those are custom made masks. I’m assuming there’s variety of designs
Design styles for toddlers, kids and adults, men and women. It’s very important that while we all are technically suffering from this, that we should do it in style, but more importantly, you know, do it at an affordable price.
The Local 6:21
Very good. So, let’s turn to a couple things. we’ve got Mother’s Day coming up. Do you have any favorites you could suggest for Mother’s Day?
One of my favorites, which I have here, is a basket that we’re constantly adding to.
So this is our two-piece vegan leather pocketbook. Normally, that would retail in the $75 range. We’re offering with it a very beautiful scarf, obviously a mask, because that’s super important right now. And one of the things that I’m actually most proud of is this morganite necklace set. The significance behind the morganite is that it brings good luck if you’re into healing stones and things of that nature.
We also have our three piece anchor set, which if you have a mom like we had, my mom loved anchors — so this is actually a set that pays homage to her because this is something she would love.
Also staying within that theme, we have our rose gold diamond bezel watch, our mauve or rose gold glasses. And also because we’re all about healing and into stones, one of our diamond pendants, which could be used as a key chain or a pocketbook chain, it’s multi use. We’ve been working with local businesses to add their products added to this. So we have a young lady who wanted to add her succulents. She’s from Germantown. She wanted to add her succulents to our basket.
(8:46) We thought that was an amazing idea. Our goal is always to add in local flair. So, you know, that was a good opportunity for her and for us. She added in her succulents also reached out to someone else who wanted to add in their custom mother day cards. So again, a local to Germantown, and that’s kind of our feel like we want to have this basket full of all the Germantown goodies.
The Local 9:15
That’s fantastic. And is that the basket? You’ve got a raffle coming up. Is that the one for the raffle?
Yes, that’s the raffle prize.
The Local 9:25
That’s great that you have that connection and collaboration with local business owners. I mean, that to me just kind of increases the vibe of the whole thing to have so many people participating. It’s just good, good feelings all around with that.
So with the Mother’s Day raffle coming up fairly quickly, May 9th is when you’re going to be announcing the winner of the raffle. Correct?
Correct. That would be Saturday at six o’clock, we’re going to be on Facebook and Instagram Live, we’ll put all the contestants in a basket and we’ll pull a name. And we’ll hopefully drop this off to them that day, so they can present it on Mother’s Day.
The Local 10:07
Do you have anything else coming up that you’d want to share with the folks?
Yes. We plan to do a monthly giveaway. We’re also doing a Father’s Day basket raffle as well. And we plan to do different raffles every month that we can tie it in with a holiday, but a raffle every month just because like I said, we want to get the word out that we’re here. We’re a small business, we’re a female owned business, we’re a black business. So we want our community to come out to support us and all the local businesses we work with. And my goal is to keep reaching out to those local companies and businesses. So we can all collaborate in a way because we all have something to give to the community. So hopefully we can do it together.
The Local 11:08
That’s a good motto to go forward with “doing it together”.
So as part of this series we like to ask the people we’ve interviewed if they have anyone in mind that that we that they think could use a little media attention. Do you have anyone in mind?
I have quite a few. One of my favorite people — I’m a news junkie. I’m a political junkie. One of the people who I’m most proud of and happy he came to Germantown is Marc Lamont Hill and Uncle Bobbie’s. I’m so happy and proud of them. And, you know, I’m upset that they had to close because it was a business that I patronized on a weekly basis.
Also very proud of Crystal at the Perfectly Flawless Boutique. She offers such a great variety of custom clothing. She offers clothing and we do the accessories so anytime someone is looking for something very unique, I tend to send them over there. I’m by all means okay with sharing the love.
The Local 12:40
Okay, excellent. Thank you very much for making time for us. We certainly appreciate it. We’ll have the information out about the Mother’s Day raffle for May 9. It’s coming up in a hurry, but we’ll get it out as fast as we can so we can let people know about the good stuff going on at Aaliyah’s Beautique.
It is a beautiful storefront — we’re in the Del Mar apartments across from the Chelten Ave train station. We have a huge parking lot. And when we are able to open fully, we plan to do it with bells and whistles, gloves, masks and everything you need to continue shopping our small business.
Thanks again. I appreciate it very much. Chrissy, you take care now.
Thank you, Steve. Have a great day.