Lake Wales High School Graduate Opens Her Own Boutique
by James Coulter
Most fashionistas want to buy their clothes from a big brand name. Gucci. Louis Vuitton. Tiffany & Co. One local high school graduate hopes to make a big name for herself after opening her first storefront in Dundee. She’s started small, but she has big dreams of one day being a recognizable brand name.
“I have goals to make it big,” she said. “When someone looks at a piece of clothing, and they ask where you got it from, and they answer that they got it from Krae’s, I want to be a name [like that] someday.”
Kaylee Rae, 18, recently opened Krae Boutique, her first storefront for her boutique in Dundee. She previously operated her business through an online store, yet good fortune shone upon her when Davidson of Dundee approached her to set up her boutique in their venue.
Currently, Kaylee sells clothing and accessories like shoes, hats, and pants. Her boutique focuses on offering affordable clothing, with nothing over $50. She even sells many handmade products created by local businesses and even her friends.
Through her online store, she ships to 24 different states and two countries. While she has started small with her online and temporary venue, she has big dreams of owning her own permanent storefront.
“I did not expect to have a storefront,” she said. “And with everything that is happening, I found the time to open this, and that was really exciting.”
Kaylee always had a passion for shopping. She loved buying clothing, and she felt that she could even turn her love into a career. So with the support of her mother and using the money in her savings, Kaylee set up her business.
“I asked my mom one night about it,” Kaylee said. “I told her it was something I wanted to spend my savings on…She told me if this is what I want to do, then you can do it, I will support you.”
With her mother’s assistance, Kaylee bought a business name and tax identification number, obtained a business license, started her website, and ordered her first inventory. She initially started her boutique as an online store on November 2020.
“[It’s] a parent’s dream,” said Lora Donley, Kaylee’s mother. “She set a goal and put in the time until she reached it…I see Krae Boutique and any other project Kaylee creates reaching the next level. Hopefully, other young people will see her as an example. Most successful business owners started from the beginning. Kaylee is proof that the beginning can be created by a dreaming teenager.”
Earlier this year in August, she was approached by the owners of Davidson of Dundee. They were impressed by the pop-up she had set up there previously, and they wanted her to set up shop within their venue.
“They said they wanted to start something new there with their business where they can bring small local small businesses to other things,” she said.
Her biggest challenge thus far has been her age. As someone who started her first personal business in high school, Kaylee had to juggle many things to make her dream a reality, from applying to colleges to finishing her school work and participating in various high school clubs and the lacrosse team.
Moreover, other people remained skeptical of her endeavor. Starting a business so young seemed “foolish” when they assumed she should stick to focusing on her schoolwork. And yet, being able to run a business on her own in the past year turned many skeptics into supporters.
“They do not think it is such a good idea to start something so big at a young age,” she said. “Looking back at it, people now find me inspiring because I did it at such a young age, so it was an obstacle for me at the beginning, but it has not become something good for me.”
Currently, Kaylee is still juggling school and work with her boutique, as she is also attending college and working as a preschool teacher. Nevertheless, Kaylee has big expectations to turn her small boutique into something big.
“I have great goals of where this can possibly go,” she said. “Right now, we are going to take baby steps. We are going to do a lot of pop-ups. We are going to work with other small businesses, and we will work together with us.”
Krae Boutique is located inside Davidson of Dundee, located at 28421 US-27, Dundee, FL 33838. For more information, visit: https://shop-krae.com/