Skin Boutique, Kamama Skin Care celebrate anniversary
Holly Kirk, a Cherokee Nation citizen who is also Delaware, owns the Skin Boutique and Kamama Skin Care products line. The boutique is at 106 W. Fourth Street in in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. JAMI MURPHY/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
The Skin Boutique’s blending bar is a place customers can make products specifically for them or loved ones. The Skin Boutique offers, facials, waxing, manicures and pedicures. JAMI MURPHY/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee Nation citizen Holly Kirk, who is also Delaware, recently celebrated her one-year anniversary at the Skin Boutique, where she is also the majority owner of Kamama Skin Care line.
Kirk said her boutique focuses around natural skin care and the products for it are made locally.
“We opened our doors on Nov. 1 of 2015. We started with one treatment room, one large treatment room. I offered massages, and Angie Harnage offered esthetic facials and waxing. And we started with a small retail area, basically just the blending bar and Kamama Skin Care,” Kirk said.
During the first year the business has grown to offer a second treatment room for spa services, manicures and pedicures as well as products such as candles, bags, jewelry and locally made soaps.
“This year has been a very pleasant surprise for me. I was really anticipating a slow growth the first year, and around February the demand was so large that we had to make a second treatment room. And since then we have just been growing ever since,” she added.
Before opening the boutique, Kirk maintained the spa services at the Canebrake Resort in Wagoner for about seven years. She said she dabbled in making products for clients at the Canebrake, but opening a business wasn’t something she thought she would do.
“It was something that just happened organically. I actually was making products for clients at the Canebrake and just giving them to the clients, and I had this really wonderful client who was my mother’s age and she showed up Sept. 5 of 2010 and had a treatment with me,” she said. “And she said ‘you’ll be receiving an invitation in the mail. I’m having a party Dec. 10 at my house and we’re going to debut your skin care.’”
Kirk said she was stunned but gathered what she needed and her business just snowballed from there.
“I’m very grateful to her because I knew I would have drug my feet along because this is work,” she said. “The product had a great reception, and I have a nice following.”
While owning a business hadn’t crossed her mind, she said it is something she’s thankful for and hopes she can be a good example for other women, Native and non-Native, to take a chance.
“I’ve rented the space next door for four years, and last spring this space became available…in a moment’s notice I told the landlord ‘I want to rent that space.’ Without any capital, without a business loan and I just got in here and did the work myself,” she said. “I raided all my family’s homes for nice furniture and tables, and the shelving I bought used and sanded and painted myself. You don’t have to take out a huge loan to start a business. You can start small and just work hard and let it grow. Just know that you’re going to be broke for a while until it takes off.”
She added that others starting with their businesses should keep their “eye on the prize.”
“You have these moments of ‘what did I do? I’ve made a huge mistake.’ Our second week in business I did not have a front person yet because I couldn’t afford a front person, and I sat here all day long and the phone didn’t ring once and not one person walked in the door. I prayed and meditated on it and said ‘just keep showing up’…Remember, especially if you’re in business in a small town, remember it’s a small town. And everybody knows everybody so be nice and be friendly wherever you’re at. You now have to represent yourself wherever you go and your business.”
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