At 21 years old, Stephanie Carter decided she wanted start her own clothing retail business called DéjàVu. Filled with ambition and determination, she began by selling women’s apparel at Alabama country clubs and sorority houses. With her dedication to her customers and eye for the desired style of the area, Stephanie found herself opening, not just DéjàVu, but three other boutiques as well creating Southern Fashion House. We’re pleased to introduce you to this stylish achiever, who shows us just how successful a young woman with passion and a dedication to a dream can be.
Darling Magazine: What was the immediate success of your first retail store, DejaVu, like?
Stephanie: Overwhelming, yet exciting, because it was 100 square feet and I had to completely restock four to five times a day.
DM: What compelled you to open DejaVu?
Stephanie: One of my favorite projects in college was creating a pretend store for a marketing class. Then when I was selling clothes out of my car, I participated in the West Indies market in Rosemary Beach and sold out in less than two days. I realized instantly that there was a market for fun, easy to wear clothing in the area.
DM: Can you describe the vibe of each of your stores?
Stephanie: While each store is unique, we stay true to the vibe of our flagship store in Seaside, Florida. I wanted to create an open, fun space where you can stroll right off the beach with sandy toes and pick out a dress for dinner that night. In all our stores we try to recreate the open air boutique feel of the stores I’ve loved growing up.
DM: How do you manage all of your stores at once?
Stephanie: I’m blessed with an amazing CEO and team that truly get my vision. They help me manage the day to day functions of each store so that I can spend more time focusing on designing, both the clothing and store décor.
DM: Which of your retail stores most reflects your closet? Why?
Stephanie: Seaside is still closest to my heart. We just started doing one of a kind custom dresses; on a given day I, or a member of my design team, will design an item that we’d personally like to wear, have it produced and in the store by the afternoon. It gives us incredible customer feedback and gives the customer an opportunity to go home with a unique piece.
Images courtesy of Colleen Duffley Photography