Julie Steen has always enjoyed making things with her hands, especially jewelry. “What to do with it all,” naturally lead daydreams of opening a boutique someday, she said last week two days after she opened the front door for the world.
She was born in Aiken and grew up on the Southside (graduated from South Aiken High and her undergraduate degree is from USC-Aiken) and when the “perfect location” opened up a few years ago, even though that was getting ahead of her plans, she jumped ahead and bought it. It’s at the corner of Silver Bluff and Town Creek Road – between Woodside and Houndslake and right smack in the middle of her market area!
Having the property sped up the plans for a boutique a bit and she started making more and more jewelry, earrings, bracelets, necklaces and putting watches on chains and bracelets.
“I’ve made jewelry for twenty years and have always wanted to have my own boutique. A lot of our jewelry is handmade. Even today, I probably make pieces of jewelry every day,” she says, admitting that she will probably now have to up her production as pieces sell off.
Once she had a location to fill up, she started putting together an inventory of the kind of clothing, handbags and other women’s fashion items that she likes. “People ask me what type of boutique it is? What style of merchandise do I carry and I tell them what I think – it’s clothing that fits my style.” That makes it even more fun to shop for the store because she can just shop for herself!
“We were quietly opened for a couple of weeks before the grand opening on Monday Nov. 22 with the Chamber leaders and their big ribbon and publicity and a big crowd,” she said of the final plunge into being a businesswoman. “We had been open ‘softly’ for a few weeks before that, but we are open full time now.
It is certainly a family affair with niece Summer Stiles running the boutique when Julie is not there. Julie’s husband Harold Steen was a big help preparing the property to make it look and function like a shop, and he is still called upon for that kind of support.
“We are now open holiday hours, Monday through Saturday from 10 to 6, and we’ll re-evaluate our hours of operation when the holiday season is over,” she said.
“Why should our friends, and soon to be friends, shop with us? Because we offer fun, affordable jewelry, clothing and other accessories and a pleasant place to spend some time and shop. Our inventory is going to change regularly with new deliveries every week.”
“I hope Town Creek Boutique becomes a place to enjoy, where people will like shopping on the southside of Aiken. I’ve had a lot of fun in the process of dreaming it up and of getting it ready and now I’m looking forward to being there and making new friends through our business. But I’ll still be making jewelry. I make jewelry almost every day. I enjoy the creative release of making the jewelry and now I’ll just need to make more as other people come to enjoy what I make and buy it from us.”
“I certainly want to thank the many people who have helped us get started,” she said in her quiet, sincere voice. “I have had a lot of support from my family and friends, and I know that’s how we’re going to be successful.”
For more information, call Julie or Summer at (803) 220-4384, or visit https://www.facebook.com/Town-Creek-Boutique-104505482009379