In celebration of small business month, we’ve re-launched our business profile series giving a brief snapshot of MN’s Black-owned businesses. This week’s feature: Autumn Frazier of Autumn’s Vintage Boutique, LLC.
Autumn Frazier is the proprietor of Autumn’s Vintage Boutique, LLC in Minneapolis. The 59-year-old mother of three owns the resale shop that carries high-end vintage clothing and one-of-a-kind pieces that you aren’t likely to find anywhere else.
So, when you shop there to find a stylish dress to stunt on your co-workers (who may or may not like you), they won’t be able to run out and copy your style. That’s just part of the charm of Frazier’s clothing store.
Autumn’s Vintage Boutique carries everything from clothing and shoes to fur coats, hats and accessories for women of all sizes. You can browse through the South Minneapolis shop to find a fur coat or purchase the perfect pants suit on her website.
On a recent visit to her shop, we observed a customer looking for an outfit to take holiday pictures in. One could not tell this was the lady’s first visit to the shop, however, with Frazier’s warm demeanor and the way they were chatting it up like old pals.
I soon realized this is just the way Frazier treats all her clients: like friends. Read on as we chat with Frazier for this week’s business spotlight.
MSR: What inspired you to launch/start your business?
Autumn Frazier:I was inspired to start my business by the best-dressed women in my life — my mother and grandmother. After the recession, I needed to figure out what I wanted to do at this point in my life. Around 2012, it just hit me one day. I took a cue from grandma and went clothes shopping. Those first purchases built the foundation of what is today Autumn’s Vintage Clothing Boutique.
MSR: How does your business impact the community?
AF: Small businesses, especially women-owned businesses, are the fastest segment of growth in our economy. A lot of my clients only shop at my store because they want luxury, one-of-a-kind vintage pieces that no one else will be wearing. And the prices are reasonable.
MSR: What would you consider your business’ hero service or product?
AF: One of my clients recently posted this review on a social media site: “Autumn’s vintage has incredible one-of-a-kind pieces, and she also takes the time to know the individual and shop just for you and your body type.” That is my business; that’s what I do. I don’t just care about selling clothes. I care about my customers.
MSR: What has been your biggest challenge in owning a business?
AF:If running a business was easy, everyone would do it. It takes hard work and dedication. As a person of color, I feel that I have to work three times harder. You have to be a go-getter. You have to brand yourself.
Social media has helped in a lot of ways. The social media piece takes a commitment as well. I have support from my family and friends, which is good because retail has its ups and downs.
MSR: What has been the most rewarding part of owning your business?
AF:I would have to say the flexibility it gives me. It has allowed me to pursue other passions, like selling homes. I am a realtor as well. But most importantly, helping the ladies who come to my shop find that one-of-a-kind dress or those hard-to-find accessories just makes my day.
MSR: What is your vision/goal for your business?
AF:I want to increase my customer base and let more women know I’m here. Ladies need to know they don’t have to go out and spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on beautiful ball gowns or fur coats — they can come to Autumn’s Vintage Clothing Boutique and get it for little to nothing.
MSR: What advice would you give to an aspiring entrepreneur?
AF:Have a business plan in place before you get started. Also, get a mentor in your field. Find someone who is doing what you want to do and pick their brain about success and failures that lie ahead.
Autumn’s Vintage is located at 4317 Upton Avenue in South Minneapolis. MSR readers are invited to receive 20 percent off an item now through November 30.
Call the shop for more information at 612-244-8405, or check out their vintage clothing at AutumnsVintageSpot.etsy.com.
— Interview conducted by Sheletta Brundidge