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Boutique Bosses

Aiken's Boutique Owners Who are Taking Care of Business!

Article by Rebecca Williams

Photography by Rebecca Williams

Originally published in Aiken City Lifestyle

Aiken is fortunate to host many women-owned businesses, especially in an industry that is thriving-women’s fashion. There is no shortage of Aiken boutiques, and while they all strive to be successful, their owners have also managed to maintain a camaraderie that is inspiring. 

We gathered some Aiken boutique owners for a “Boss Lady” photo shoot, and who better to have front and center than Bobby Ard, otherwise known as #bossbobby! Bobby, a former nurse, is the owner of Beyond Bijoux on Laurens Street. Her passion for fashion started as a child. She wanted to be a costume designer since she was a little girl, and nine years ago in collaboration with her sister who owns Beyond Bijoux in New Jersey, Bobby opened Beyond Bijoux Aiken. Bobby noted, “I fell so much in love with helping ladies dress and accessorize their outfits and making them feel confident and beautiful! We started with around 800 square feet in 2014, and because of all the fantastic support from Aiken, we have grown to a whopping 5,300 square feet. It’s been an amazing ride thus far, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve the great people of Aiken!”

Right across the street from Boss Bobby is the Queen Bee, Brooke Thomas. Brooke started her fashion journey during her freshman year at the University of South Carolina Aiken by making homemade jewelry and selling it at local markets. She saved her profits and in her senior year, secured a location on Laurens Street. She signed her lease on March 1, 2020, and then COVID hit. She finished school online and worked to renovate the shop during the pandemic. Ginger Bee opened its doors on July 18, 2020. “We are going on year three, and I still love owning a women’s clothing store! There is nothing more rewarding than helping women feel their best!” Brooke said. 

Just a street over, Jessica Gaskins and Kelsey Cook share a space on Pendleton Street. Jessica owns Maddie P Boutique, a bright, trendy shop for girls where all are sure to find something they’ll love.  Kels+Faith is owned by Kelsey. She serves young women who are looking for something comfy to wear at home or work.

Apricot Lane Boutique, located on Whiskey Road, is owned by Lyndsey Mari. Her special mission is to spread community and make everyone feel welcome in her shop, including fellow shop owners. Lyndsey wants women of all walks of life to know that regardless of their background, they can do what they want and encourages women to work together as sisters instead of breaking each other down.

Holding down the south side of town with two locations is Vikki Woody, owner of Vikki’s… A Unique Boutique. Vikki’s favorite saying is “Shop Aiken, shop local, shop Vikki’s!” Vikki opened her Whiskey Road location in 2017. Last year she added a new shop on Pine Log Road which specializes in resort and vacation wear as well as inclusive sizing.

Aiken is fortunate to have such an impressive collection of boutiques with owners that stick together and provide a great example to our girls of how women-owned businesses can be successful and supportive.

Our Featured Boutique Bosses

Apricot Lane- Lyndsey Mari (Represented by Taylor Hanna, assistant manager)

Beyond Bijoux- Bobby Ard 

Ginger Bee- Brooke Thomas 

Kels+Faith- Kelsey Cook 

Maddie P. Boutique- Jessica Preissler 

Vikki's…A Unique Boutique- Vikki Woody 

  • Brooke Thomas
  • Taylor Hanna
  • Kelsey Cook
  • Vikki Woody
  • Bobby Ard
  • Jessica Preissler

Businesses featured in this article