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K. Ellen’s celebrates five years of business

Posted on Wednesday, March 27, 2024 at 8:50 am


Ellen Boutique on North Main Street is celebrating its five-year anniversary this month.

It officially opened on March 8, 2019, and over the course of those five years, owner Kailin (Kesselring) Graves has changed a lot along with her boutique.

“Definitely seeing how it’s changed and how it’s evolved with me,” she said.

But seeing the change has been the most rewarding part of this business venture in addition to building relationships with customers.

The boutique serves everyone from ages 16 to 60, but she learned her average customer is right in middle, so she tailors her clothes to fit that age range.

“I took every bit of a year to open, and I’m still figuring it out with my clientele and what they want.

“When I first opened, I feel like I had the styles for my more mature customer, but not necessarily the right fit. So it was a lot of trial and error as far as my brands, my price point, my styles, so things have definitely changed over the course of five years,” said Graves, adding that knowing just how much to have in the store is a challenge.

Majoring in fashion merchandise at MTSU, where she graduated in 2018, helped fill her with the know-how on running a boutique.

After graduating, she opened the boutique about a year later. They did a lot of work to the building, which used to be an antique store, gutting it and refurbishing a few parts.

The goal was to make the boutique feel like you’re walking into your own closet versus a department store. It’s comfortable, private, and a great place to browse and try on.

“It feels approachable. That’s how I want us to be, too,” Kailin said, explaining how she and her co-workers want to be approachable enough to help customers figure their style or guide them through the sections.

With spring in full “bloom,” florals are, of course, very in trend, and K. Ellen’s feature many garments featuring floral patterns in addition to bright colors like green and yellow, pink and blue.

Her price point is anywhere from $50 to $150, but the sale room is always full of current items as well.

“But I also try really hard to have different stuff, so I don’t have the same stuff as to what you can find at some of the other stores in town.”

Having different options is also one of the reasons why shopping small businesses is a great option.

“You’re getting something that’s more unique, especially in specialty pieces,” Kailin said.

“Shopping at small businesses, you’re definitely going to get better service, better quality. A lot of things that you’re going to buy are going to last.”

She added that small businesses are also the ones that support other organizations or families in town, whether it’s through donations or sponsorships.

Now as a new mom, Kailin doesn’t work as much as she used. But that’s ok. Kailin’s number one advice to moms is don’t be afraid to take time for yourself.

“Do what’s best for you. And it’s alright to do both, to work and to be a mom. Find a balance.”

Now, Kailin’s 11-month-old, “Baby Gray Graves,” is another precious part of the store.

“She’s into everything, but she’s also never met a stranger,” Kailin said with a laugh. “There are days when it is challenging…but I think it’s something I’ll definitely look back on and be glad I had the time with her.”

Ellen Boutique is located at 716 N. Main St. They are open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. Visit for more information.