One thing that I love about a boutique aside from the clothes & accessories would be the story that comes behind WHY the boutique was started. That’s what instantly drew me to Kelli, the owner of Lil Bee’s Bohemian!
Lil Bee’s Bohemian is a mix of Kelli’s personal style- which happens to be very similar to mine! Some beachy surfer chic vibes + a little rock n’ roll + a little western!
Kelli doesn’t need the help with a blog post to get exposure because chances are, you are already shopping there…. but she does have a story a little different than the rest & I think it’s important for girls to know that even through tough times, hard work can get you far!
Lil Bee’s Bohemian was started in August of 2016, the day after Kelli was laid off from her Corporate Job as a Quality Assurance Compliance Manager. A fellow California girl as well, Kelli left our favorite state & moved to Florida to pursue the job that had ended up laying her off.
So since we know ‘why’ Kelli got started, I wanted to know the ‘how’! She says she was a ‘power seller’ on e-bay to supplement income while she was living in California & even admitted to being a mini hoarder. Shopping at local thrift stores to buy & resell clothes, shoes & accessories. While everything that was purchased wasn’t sold, some was stashed away…. She may have even admitted to being a mini hoarder (aren’t we all though?!) but it obviously paid off because that is HOW Lil Bee’s Bohemian got started. She started selling the good stuff she hadn’t parted with before! After those items were sold, Kelli was able to purchase her first inventory for the store. Which I happen to think is pretty badass.
G: Is there a significance behind the name?
K: Oh Yes! So this one is a little funny.. I have always LOVED bees.. my love for them grew even more living out in CA. It was only out there where I learned how important they are to our survival. My fave flower is a Sunflower & well Sunflowers & Bees pretty much go
together like Peanut Butter & Jelly. I am also in love with everything Bohemian.. The style.. The way life.. All of it! Now this is only part of the name.. The “Lil B” comes in with Clint’s (Kelli & Clint are freshly married as of last week!) daughter Lexi. When me & Clint started dating Lexi was pretty much glued to my hip wanting to do everything I was doing whether it be drawing mandalas or curling my hair. For the most part she was my “Lil B” “b” for bestie.. Until she snapped in to a hangry meltdown then she turned in to a Li B” “b” for the B word.. Haha so I would always call her “Lil B” & tell her be the good type of B.. So I pretty much sat there wondering what the heck I was going to call my store.. Then it came to me.. ‘Lil Bee’s Bohemian’… Lexi still to this day thinks the company is ½ hers because her name & aura are tied in to it!
G: LOVE THIS! Love that Lexi was part of the inspiration also- I knew y’all were close but had no idea she was the ‘lil b’
G: Did you always want to own a boutique?
K: Yes, since I was a young child. My mom had a really cool business at the Daytona Beach Flea Market selling make up, perfume, bathing suits, clothing.. Really rad stuff! She would take me at the age of 11 to be her “buyer” all the stuff she would pick out (that I told her heck no dont buy that it will never sell) never sold! All the stuff I picked literally flew off the shelves. I can’t explain it to this day. So many people tell me, “you just have the eye for it Kelli” I guess so.. I mean things are going pretty well with Lil Bees.. people like my stuff!! Haha
G: I agree with this because I think Lil Bee’s has such a unique vibe + always stays true to your personal style as well! Speaking of your vibe, how is your boutique different from the rest?
K: I truly feel I am different because I only buy what I would personally wear or wish I could wear LOL (I CAN RELATE TO THIS ON A PERSONAL LEVEL ha). I style things how I personally style things & I think that sets me apart from a lot of the boutiques out there. Of course there are so many items that are “HOT SELLERS” that a lot of people want… but If I wouldn’t wear it or buy it myself I don’t want it in my store.
G: How do you stay inspired to keep the boutique up to date on trends?
K: I am always looking at fashion magazines, vintage sights, instagram posts & pinterest. I kinda formulate my own style based on that. I’ll take bits & pieces from everything & combine it in to one. I rarely step foot in to a mall. I am 95% an online shopper myself.
G: What’s your number one goal owning your boutique?
K: Survival.. & growth! I really want this to work.. There are SO MANY awesome boutiques/stores out there. I’m just trying to get a lil piece of the action here by doing something that I love. Things are getting better everyday. More & More people are following & becoming customers. I couldn’t be happier. I just want this to last & be able to do this until I can’t physically anymore. Once my lease is up I plan on moving to an actual warehouse & hire a couple more gals. I need a receiving person for sure!
G: What is your favorite piece of clothing that you just couldn’t live without?
K: Mineral washed bell bottoms. I am obsessed with them & seriously wear a pair everyday. I carry them in over 30 colors just to feed my own addiction! Those & a black tank top. I couldn’t live without those two basic items.
G: This is actually the first thing I purchased from Lil Bee’s- mineral washed bells all the way!
G: Do you use fashion influencers, bloggers, or brand reps?
K: I mostly use brand ambassadors. I have 15 active reps that do a fabulous job. I get asked on the daily how to become a rep. Its hard for me to manage at times. With everything else I have going on Its hard for me to like their photos & tell them how great & pretty they are. The last thing I want is for any of my reps to think I like another rep more than them because I post them more. I post their pics based on the inventory I have left to move. I also use fashion influencers who do an AMAZING job. Lil Bees wouldn’t be where it is today without our reps & fashion influencers. I definitely believe in both programs. We have been featured in a few blogs which is pretty awesome!
G: Lil Bee’s does have the whole ‘brand rep’ down! She has got a very loyal group of girls!
G: What’s next for you?
K: Warehouse & more employees. I would also like to start a baby bee line. It’s hard tho because I don’t have a baby.. Maybe I can borrow one? I would also like to start doing some local shows here in Florida. There are a lot of good Rodeos that I would like to have a booth at here. I think that would really be a big hit!
G: Where can we find you? Give us social handles, shows, rodeos, etc.!
K: Instagram is my number 1 I’m on there so much and have a lot of awesome followers!! We are on facebook & have a VIP facebook page too. You can find lil bees on pinterest & Snapchat too!
So although this is in the “Meet The Boutique’ section on here, I really wanted to share that you can in fact, come out of a dark place with the help of some big dreams + lots of hard work & a powerful support system! Kelli is the perfect example of creating such a successful brand, out of something that most people who have just used as an excuse to up & quit! I am grateful enough to now call Kelli a friend after being a Lil Bee’s Believer from the beginning!