When I think of Knoxville businesses, I imagine the heart, tenacity, and passion behind every entrepreneur’s entrance onto the scene. My favorite representation of this type of bold move is a unique and charming fashion venture called Bula Boutique. I really believe in the power and passion behind this store and that nowhere else will you sense a rhythmic expression of individuality. So, it was easy to pick this gem as my first Knoxville business to feature.
Bula, Bula, Bula! The small boutique is a force to be reckoned with that you feel as you enter the tapestry-filled entrance and sense your heart flip at the sight of lace, shimmer, fur, and bold patterns. With a small collection of affordable unique garments, you know that each piece can have your attention. The word that came quickly to the owners’ minds to describe their boutique is eclectic. And wonderfully eclectic, it is! 🙂 There are ALL kinds of styles and various types of awesomeness that you can walk away with.
Every experience for me here has included finding 3 types of pieces. I always find one piece that I think my wardrobe could really use (like a tan maxi skirt that hugs my booty oh so perfectly). Then, I find one piece that I think is SO not me, accompanied with some giggles, BUT the fact that someone else will have the confidence to wear it inspires me to push my limits (like a shiny, tight, and teal pencil skirt). Finally, I find one special piece that I can’t move past and somehow my heart becomes invested in the buying decision. Yeeep, it’s this one that I feel as though I have to buy it because it speaks to me personally (like an adorable jean overall cutoff dress). I know that you could come in and find your own 3 pieces that do the same for you!
Bula Boutique’s owners are two young friends who were inspired to open the place when working at a salon together. Both had experience in retail and both were obsessed with fashion. Their spot on the 100 block was the perfect find and they have been open for a year and 8 months. I so regret not having a picture of Julia and Brandon because I think they are really special people. Just imagine two epic people with style oozing out of them and fun personalities that quickly charm you. They are pretty impressive to me, how young yet courageous they have been to open their own business with only a little help from friends. I loved what Brandon told me about owning a business when he said, “It’s like a relationship with all the ups and downs – butterflies when everything feels new, times of heartbreak, things you have to learn with growing pains, but at the end of the day I love it and I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
There are a lot of epic things that the charming duo get to do as they navigate the process of owning a business. They are constantly buying a limited collection for the store, one where they follow the fun rule of – would they personally wear it? Another important task is to trend-watch like crazy, keeping up with ahead of the curve trends and watching them trickle down into affordable pieces for their inventory. They do so much – styling people in their store, photo and video shoots, marketing boosts, traveling, runway shows, collaborating, and engage with random people like me. 🙂
Also, Brandon and Jules create one of the coolest and personable customer experiences on a daily basis. Literally, they told me, “We definitely want our customers to feel like they can come here and we’re friends. Talk about anything. Come hang out on our couch. Take everything off the rack, try it on, and just have fun playing dress up. We want everybody to feel good about what they are wearing. There is no pressure.” I have felt that type of welcome every time as a customer and who doesn’t love the opportunity to play dress up?
The last thing I want to celebrate about Bula is the heart behind their collection. Pieces are picked so intentionally. A flowing floral maxi-dress, a pair of teal matte sunglasses, a lacey light blue bralette, a floral crown, or an open-back jumpsuit – there is one prerequisite to Bula’s eclectic garments, confidence. “A lot of our pieces are ones you wear to set a scene in,” Brandon said. And ya know, let’s just say you have a day when you aren’t ready to kick butt, I think putting on one of Bula’s bold pieces will give you renewed strength to be your beautiful self. That is what is so cool about fashion – it has the power to affect how you feel about yourself and your day. Brandon and Jules said it perfectly, “We want you to be inspired here, to be a rock-star, to take chances, be open to new things, and to really live your life in our clothes.” This heart for people to do life confidently in their clothes is beautiful and unmatched. So, whatever your life looks like, whether its studying as a student, kicking butt as a mom, celebrating life with friends, you can venture into Bula Boutique and leave not only with a new piece of trend-setting clothing, but also an empowered sense of self!
There you have it, friends. I really love Bula’s contribution to Knoxville. Thank you for taking a moment with me to celebrate this special spot and unique expression of our city. I hope you find yourself in there soon!
Until next time 🙂