Tucked under the new LUXOR sign of the historic Vogue building on Douglas Street, Dara Huber’s Xpressions Boutique has been a fixture in the downtown Lee’s Summit landscape for almost 14 years. During that time, Dara’s business has grown, but her dedication to helping women feel good about themselves has remained a constant.
After getting a degree in computer science and realizing that was not her calling, Dara moved into the cosmetic business at the tender age of 21. What began as mall kiosk locations eventually grew into the brick-and-mortar business. “My dream was to be a boutique owner,” she says.
Xpressions Boutique is small but mighty. Customers are greeted with an eclectic mix of women’s clothing, fashion accessories of every kind and even a sprinkling of baby and children’s clothes. Paired with Dara’s personal service, there is something for everyone.
Dara is passionate about being yourself. Her best advice is to start with a classic style, and then accessorize by adding a necklace, earrings, or a fun purse to spice up your outfits. “Right now, simple jewelry is really in. But you should buy and wear what best fits your personality and comfort level,” she explains. She is happy to provide personalized styling advice for her shoppers.
In addition to the wide selection of women’s items, Dara also carries an adorable collection of baby and children’s clothing. When Dara first opened Xpressions Boutique, she was eight months pregnant with her daughter, Zoe. What started out as just a few baby items has grown, just like Zoe has! Dara has dedicated an entire wall to baby, toddler and kids items up to size 10/12. She also offers Mommy and Me outfits, which are a big hit for local moms.
While about half of Xpressions Boutique is dedicated to apparel and accessories, the foundation of Dara’s business is natural skin care products and ColorXminerals (CXM), her private label of cosmetics.
CXM products are organically designed for clean beauty. “I provide all natural, non-toxic, chemical free makeup. It doesn’t have any of the components that most makeups have which cause them to expire. This product will literally last decades,” she says. From lip color to eyeliner to nail polish, you can create your own palette with the multi-purpose pigments and blending agents.
Long before YouTube and TikTok makeup tutorials, Dara loved to play with makeup as a teen. Over the years, she has learned to use makeup as an enhancement of natural beauty, and not a mask. At Xpressions Boutique, Dara has a ‘try it before you buy it’ philosophy. She offers free color match makeovers for CXM foundation and blush on a walk-in basis. If you are looking for a complete makeover, she can help with that, too!
“I love seeing the transformations with our makeovers—taking someone who maybe doesn’t wear a lot of makeup normally and helping them feel good about themselves when they look in the mirror.”
Dara understands that her business depends on building relationships with her customers. As a self-created cosmetics company, having a dedicated client base has helped her business grow. “It makes me feel really special to have clients from around the country come into the store when they are in town. They are here visiting family, but they make a point to stop in and stock up,” she says.
“Being in business this long, it's about personal relationships with people, having a superior product and getting to know the community.”
Praising the community of Lee’s Summit, Dara adds, “Our customers are civic minded, caring, and eager to support local businesses. Downtown Mainstreet is also a big advocate for our area. They create events, maintain the beautiful ascetics and overall, keep the ball rolling. They are dialed in to help the small business owner succeed.”
Dara is no stranger to the joy, and hard work, that accompany owning a small business. She grew up as a first generation Asian American whose parents are still in the restaurant industry. With fond memories from those days, she says, “Here I am now self-employed and working weekends—just like my parents!”
Dara has cultivated a friendly, welcoming environment at Xpressions Boutique that is sure to inspire a one-stop shopping experience. Whether you are looking for a gift for Mother’s Day, a new spring accessory or a fresh makeover, stop by and mention this article for 20% off a regular priced item in the month of May.
Expressions Boutique, 311 SE Douglas Street, Lee’s Summit, Follow on Instagram @ xbxpressions