Pretty, hip and a picture of Dolly Patron is the atmosphere a customer will get inside a downtown store shared by two businesses.
Maddie P Boutique and kels+faith Company share space at 126 Pendleton St. SW in downtown Aiken. Another business – Indigo Child Wellness – shared the storefront before moving on September 30.
Maddie P caters to tweens and women looking for comfortable and chic clothing, while kels + Faith is also comfortable, but their clothes focus on younger, contemporary women and social media clothing trends like TikTok.
Maddie P was originally founded as a store for tweens, but has evolved to offer women’s clothing and accessories like earrings and other jewelry. kels+faith also sells accessories and other items.
Maddie P has been open for three years and kels+faith opened in 2021. The two stores shared store space in Warrenville before both decided to move to downtown Aiken in March 2022.
“Owning a boutique is something I’ve always wanted to do,” said Kelsey Cook, owner of kels+faith.
Jessica Gaskins, owner and founder of Maddie P, opened the store in Warrenville in 2019 after being a stay-at-home mom. The store is named after his daughter Madison.
“(Friends) always teased me for not working; but when I started working they said they don’t see me enough now because all I do now is work,” Gaskins said.
Gaskins said the demand led her to offer women’s clothing. When mothers were looking for clothes for their daughters, they asked for women’s clothes.
“I never saw myself in downtown Aiken…I never thought I would get to where I would be in Aiken,” Gaskins said.
Her favorite items in the store are flowy tops and statement earrings. Gaskins hand-picks items for the store.
Gaskins said the hardest part is planning for the seasons.
“You always have to be a season ahead, but then you have to make sure that you’re buying things that won’t be out of fashion by the time that season rolls around,” she said.
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Cook said that when kels + Faith’s lease ended in Warrenville, Gaskins asked him to move with her to downtown Aiken.
“I’m really grateful she asked me to go with her and it’s been fun ever since,” Cook said.
Cook said the store was shared between her and Gaskins.
She said their clothes were mixed together and separated by tags on the clothes.
“I own half and she owns half,” Cook said.
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Gaskins said what sets his store apart from others is the welcoming environment and going the extra mile for customers. One example she gave was helping a client choose an outfit from his own closet because he didn’t know what to wear.
“I tend to be very personal with our customers and would let them know that I appreciate their support,” she said.
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Gaskins said she can’t wait to see where Maddie P takes her.
“I wake up every day thinking, ‘How can I improve my business?’ and that’s what motivates me to do it all the time,” she said.
Cook is also grateful to be a business owner and credits all support to the Aiken community.
“It’s been good here and I’m very happy that we did it,” Cook said.
For more information, visit www.shopmaddiepboutique.com and www.kelsandfaithco.com.