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Illinois Metro East Small Business Development Center at SIUE

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School of Business

SBDC Metro East Supports New Aristocrats Boutique in Highland

February 13, 2019

Aristocrats Boutique Logo

The red carpet to success for Aristocrats Boutique owner Felicia Frey began when she joined the Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for the Metro East at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) at the SBDC Day Open House in Highland in September 2018.

Frey attended the exclusive workshop of “Starting a Small Business in Illinois,” and she met with Business Specialist Marti Guntren to gather information on how to develop a business plan, financial referrals, and advice on marketing and social media.

Guntren also provided market research on industry reports and census information that provided insight to execute Frey’s business plan. Guntren also offered networking connections for Frey in Highland and the surrounding areas.

 “Marti was always there to help me stay on the right track,” Frey said. “She helped me figure out what I needed to get done before I started the business. Marti was constantly checking with me too to see where I was in the process.”

A women’s clothing shop, Aristocrats Boutique has styles that help women feel youthful, fun and flirty, but still portray an age-appropriate look. Frey features an exclusive collection of clothing, accessories and local handmade products, such as soaps and more.

Frey brings in fresh, unique products every week, providing exclusive clothing, so customers are not wearing the same outfits. Her inventory stocks a few selections of each item. This also allows Frey to rotate the products frequently to keep up with fashion trends and new looks.

 “Felicia had a clear vision of what she wanted to do, and where she wanted to locate her business,” Guntren said. “We discussed her possible product lines and her marketing plans, as well as what she would need to have in hand before seeking financing.”

Customers can visit the storefront or purchase through the website. However, to see the entire Aristocrats Boutique inventory, consumers need to visit the storefront at 821 Main St. in Highland. Store hours are noon-7 p.m. Thursday, noon-6 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. The store is closed Sunday-Wednesday. For more information, visit or on Facebook.

The Illinois SBDC for the Metro East assists start-up ventures like Aristocrats Boutique as well as existing businesses headquartered in the nine-county region of Calhoun, Jersey, Madison, Bond, Clinton, St. Clair, Washington, Monroe and Randolph. It is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and SIUE as a service to Illinois small businesses.

By aiding entrepreneurs and companies in defining their path to success, the SBDC network positively impacts the Metro East by strengthening the business community, creating and retaining new jobs and encouraging new investment. It enhances the region’s economic interests by providing one-stop assistance to individuals by means of counseling, training, research and advocacy for new ventures and existing small businesses. When appropriate, the SBDC strives to affiliate its ties to the region to support the goals and objectives of both the SIUE School of Business and the University at large.

To learn about the SBDC, contact the IL SBDC for the Metro East at SIUE at (618) 650-2929.

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