Marketing, entrepreurship, women run businesses…ah I can’t get enough! My podcasts, books, and Twitter feed are all consumed with it. That, and fashion of course. So when marketing, entrepreurship, and female run businesses intersect with fashion, I am hooked. I want to know everything…about the woman, her company, her vision, her purpose. So, that’s why I decided to ask. Today, I’m launching a new series showcasing boutiques and their fearless female founders! Enjoy a full Q+A session with Kayla Boehme, founder of PIPE AND ROW, as she discusses her inspiration, understanding her customer, and dedication to giving back to the Seattle community.
Now introducing Kayla Boehme, the founder and owner of PIPE and ROW!
What is your background?
I grew up in my parent’s craft stores, so entrepreneurship and retail is engrained in me. I am a Seattle native who has been in the business of pursuing fashion girl dreams since I was 14 years old, starting out peddling handbags to friends and working for Nordstrom. After graduating from Washington State University with an Apparel Design Degree, I transition to NY and began working for various fashion brands. My family and friends drew me back to Seattle and I began my journey with Aritzia becoming one of the top sales associates in the company then moved to in-store merchandising. My last job before opening PIPE AND ROW was production for a handbag line called Ampersand as Apostrophe.
What was your inspiration to open PIPE AND ROW?
Retail and clothing is what I love, it is what I’m good at and I love balancing creativity and business. I noticed so many stores carrying the same brands, when there are endless possibilities to diversify. I could not understand why stores would want to compete with each other in such close proximity or accessibility. There are only a few stores that fashion forward thinkers flock to and those are also the same stores ie: Zara. I knew I could offer my customers wearable, trendy and timeless pieces that all of their friends hadn’t already seen. After many tears and fighting it, I knew the right thing for me was to open a store.
Did you begin PIPE AND ROW online or in store first? What made you make that decision?
P+R was brick and mortar first. Honestly I made this decision because I felt more confident working with the customer face to face. I knew I would grow to online, but that just felt like the organic step was to grow in store, and then move to ecommerce. It is important for me to hear why a customer does or does not like an item and truly see their interaction. Once I have that down, things can grow from there.
How would you describe PIPE AND ROW’s aesthetic?
Our aesthetic is ever changing just like fashion and we love that. Though ever changing, we are always fun, effortless and bold.
Where do you find inspiration for the pieces you choose for P+R?
Oh gosh, everywhere! From being frustrated from my own closet (yes even owning a store, it is still a problem from time to time — I don’t think it will ever go away), blogs, favorite designers, tradeshows, lack of representation in the market. We are always keeping in wear-ability in mind, “where is she going, what is she doing in this garment”. There are so many times we are obsessed with a piece but no one knows a person that would actually purchase it and wear it, so sadly it has to be passed.
PIPE AND ROW has hosted events benefiting local organizations like Mary’s Place. What is your involvement in the Seattle community?
Our mission is to bring people into our store and create a place where they can feel comfortable, in turn we choose to align ourselves with organizations who do the same. We look for organizations who can make a difference in people’s lives on an everyday level. One of our programs is for every pair of socks purchased from P+R we donate a pair to a local homeless shelter. Socks are so simple and taken for granted by many of us, yet such a necessity.
What advice would you give someone who wants to start an online or brick and mortar boutique?
Figure out who your customer is, and what void you are filling in the marketplace. Financially plan for some failure. Stay true to who you are and what you want, but don’t be afraid to change your tactics. Find people who inspire you and keep them close to you.
How would you like to see PIPE AND ROW progress in the next few years?
I would love to open men’s clothing in the future, I think men have such limited shopping options. But, I my main focus on grow our ecommerce and make P+R known around the world :)
What makes PIPE AND ROW unique?
We truly think about how our clothing can work with your everyday life and elevate your style. We want you to go out of your comfort zone, but we also want the pieces we offer to your easy go-to you can throw on. We want you feeling confident and joyful with what you’re leave our store with. Our heart is on the runways thinking big and high fashion, but our head is your closet thinking how our customers are really living.
I hope you enjoyed learning more about Kayla and PIPE AND ROW!
- 611 N 35TH ST SEATTLE, WA 98103
- T: 206.632.0720
- E: SHOP@PIPEANDROW.COM
- Insta: @PIPEANDROW #PIPEANDROW #NOTYOURAVERAGESTAPLE
Shop the Look!