NEW ALBANY — Candace Oliver has never run a business before, but a few months ago, she was inspired by her young daughter to launch a clothing shop in downtown New Albany.
Cai’Lee, 6, has her own lip gloss brand that she sells with help from her family, and now, her mom is helping get her name out into the community.
C&C Boutique opened Saturday at 154 E. Main Street near the Underground Station. The shop offers clothing for women and babies, as well as purses, shoes and accessories. The name of the shop C&C stands for Candace and Cai’Lee.
In the front of the shop, you can browse through a selection of Cai’Lee’s lip gloss, which is called Pretty Lips by Cai’Lee. The 6-year-old makes the lip gloss with her mom and dad.
“She doesn’t understand why her name is not on anything in the stores when we go to Target and stuff like that — she’s like, why ain’t my name on there, why ain’t I famous,” Oliver said. “She doesn’t get that she’s not famous. I talked to her dad, and I was like, we’ve got to do something about this.”
She said her daughter loves fashion, and she always makes sure she’s “dressed to a T.”
Oliver discussed the idea of opening the shop for about a month, and the Main Street space was the perfect location, she said.
“It’s just a great location down here — it’s a lot of foot traffic,” she said.
Oliver is now working a full-time job as a receptionist at Wellstone Regional Hospital in Jeffersonville, but she is about to switch to part-time, which will help her focus more on the business. Family members have been helping her in the shop, and they encouraged her to pursue her goal, she said.
Cai’Lee has been excited about the opening of the shop and her involvement in it, Oliver said.
“She told everyone in her school that she has her own store, and a lot of people didn’t believe her,” she said.
The boutique offers a variety of clothing sizes, including many plus-size options.
“I know a lot of times when I go to boutiques, I can never find plus-sizes — it’s always like small, medium and large,” Oliver said.
She also hasn’t seen many boutiques offering options for both women and children, she said. The shop offers girls clothing for babies up to 12 months.
Oliver said it has been stressful and overwhelming to launch the new business, but she was pleased with the turnout during opening day.
“My anxiety was so high, but then Saturday, we opened at 11 a.m., and we did pretty good, and I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “A lot of people I did know came, and a lot of people I didn’t know came, so that was good.”
Despite the challenges of opening amid the COVID-19 pandemic, she wanted to move forward with the business, she said.
“I was nervous about [opening during the pandemic], but you never know until you try it,” Oliver said. “I just went for it, and I just hope and pray that it works out for us.”