23 years ago Sharon and Kwame Yamoah took a leap of faith to combine their business savvy with a love for fashion and Detroit to open the Offin Rivers Boutique. Life-long residents of the city, the couple dreamed of owning a business that would allow them to be central a connection point of the neighborhood, opening a place where shoppers could find the latest in fashion and jewelry hand-crafted by local artisans.
“Our combined business knowledge and my passion for fashion moved us to open the boutique”, said Sharon. When I worked in corporate America for Ford Motor Company, I wanted to incorporate my personal style into my everyday wardrobe. I discovered that working with local designers helped me do that and stay my authentic self while maintaining a polished professional look.”
Since then, the Yamoah and their staff have been doing just that for thousands of men and women throughout Metro Detroit. With a focus on providing an outlet for local designers to showcase their work, customers are guaranteed to find the perfect look for them. So what has been the keys to their success?
“It’s vital to develop a strong network in your community that provides your business the support it needs and allows for reinvestment back into the area” said Sharon. “We make it a priority to partner with local designers, printers, marketing professionals and more, which has allowed us to grow and in turn see the success of other small businesses. You can go fast and go alone or go slower and far together.” “We started off small with a specific focus on beautiful handmade scarves and accessories. After outgrowing our first space we moved to the Park Shelton building and after listening to our customers along with doing our research, we expanded into the area of apparel.”
Working with African –American designers such as Modell and Beulah Cooley they are able to provide a platform for these artists to be introduced to the community. “From trunk shows to fashion shows we help bridge the gap between the creative process and retail market place,” said Sharon.
“We believe in our city. We love our city. Yes there’s been changes we’ve noticed. Over the years some of our most faithful customers have moved out of the area to find new jobs during the wave of massive Detroit Public School layoffs or reductions at City Hall and a lot of African American professionals have moved to the suburbs. However, we see a new buzz around the corridor. More companies are moving in and people are starting to move back to the neighborhoods. I am hopeful for my city. I see the change taking place from lighting upgrades to new developments. I just hope that as things change for the better opportunities become more inclusive for residents and businesses of color.
Stylish. Elegant. Quality clothing. Personalized service. Find this and more by shopping small, shopping local at Offin Rivers Boutique. Visit them at 6080 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48202. For more information on Offin Rivers Boutique please call 313.870.1630 or visit www.offinriversboutique.com.