1846 Hamilton street
In business, as in clothes, it’s important to find a good fit, and Kendi Boutique has found just that in its new location at 1846 Hamilton Street. Like its owner Cristel Mukendi, Kendi Boutique combines chic elegance with a warm and welcoming attitude that makes room for everyone. Large front windows showcase Kendi’s exclusive product: high quality garments from fashion centers around the world. Carefully curated displays show these gems to best advantage, catching the eyes of passersby and bringing in walk-in traffic.
After three years as mostly an online presence, Kendi Boutique spent almost a year in a 2nd-floor brick-and-mortar location on 11th Avenue. In May 2020 – in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic – Kendi moved to this larger, more visible and accessible storefront on Hamilton Street. Online shopping is still an option for Kendi customers, which is even more essential since the outbreak of COVID-19. Though plans to expand her staff have been delayed by the pandemic, Mukendi puts a positive spin on her current situation, saying that this time allows her to hone her procedures and the arrangement of the new space. The larger location is certainly an advantage, allowing customers to stay safely distanced while shopping in the boutique. New product arrives about every two weeks, though some shipments have been delayed due to the global impact of coronavirus. Mukendi is not daunted by these challenges and continues to follow her passion for fashion, which grew during her years as a fashion model. After completing studies in business and marketing, Mukendi is now focusing on her business full-time. In addition to her formal education, Mukendi also exhibits the very valuable trait of being a self-taught, continuous learner, which is essential in a field as variable as fashion. She loves the challenge of keeping up with the fashion industry and credits her childhood with giving her a “never give up” attitude, which serves her well when adapting her business to succeed during a global pandemic.
Mukendi characterizes the Kendi woman as “resilient, and she doesn’t limit herself. …It’s not just clothes, it’s about the woman wearing it. What she represents.”
Mukendi places high value on the exclusivity, elegance, quality and affordability of her merchandise, as well as the excellent customer service experience she offers. The items at Kendi Boutique range in price from around $50-$500, with something for every budget and taste. “Don’t follow trends!” she told me; “it’s about finding what works for you and choosing pieces that can be worn through more than one season,” with styling adjustments such as layering or accessorizing. This attention to styling and to the uniqueness of each customer is a large part of what sets Kendi apart from larger clothing chains, with Mukendi acting as a personal style coach to her clients. She enjoys building relationships with her diverse clientele, remembering their preferences and previous purchases. When something new comes in that she thinks will work for a certain client, she doesn’t hesitate to let them know. Mukendi is committed to helping her customers express their best, most confident selves. She characterizes the Kendi woman as “resilient, and she doesn’t limit herself. …It’s not just clothes, it’s about the woman wearing it. What she represents.”
We certainly see the resilience in this woman and in Kendi Boutique, and we invite you to stop in and see it for yourself, and maybe find new ways to see yourself as well!
Kendi Boutique is currently open 11 am – 4 pm and is also accessible online at kendiboutique.com. Find Kendi Boutique on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest @Kendiboutique.