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Kelli Tracy has lived the boutique life since she was a young girl. “My mom owned a pop-up boutique, and she still jokes today about me being her buyer at age 11. She would take me to her vendors and everything I picked out would fly off the shelves.”
Even before Lil Bee’s, Kelli was a self-starter. She foot the bill for college by working three jobs, and when she moved to California, she sourced products from thrift shops to sell on eBay as a side hustle.
Soon after she moved back to her home state of Florida, Kelli was the victim of a layoff. It was that event that led to her future boutique: She used her severance package to start Lil Bee’s Bohemian. “I had a mannequin that I brought from California named Lola. I literally started pulling clothes out of my closet that still had the tags on them and started selling on Instagram. Most people don’t know that, but that is how Lil Bee’s Bohemian started!”
Today, as a full-time boutique owner, Kelli handles most of her store’s buying and merchandising and all social media and public relations. A creative mind, she gains inspiration from empowering women with her work. “I can’t tell you how many messages I get daily thanking me for helping them ‘feel themselves’ and be confident with the right clothing.”
Believe it or not, there were people that discouraged Kelli from opening Lil Bee’s, but it taught her a beautiful lesson. “I started this company out of the corner of the living room,” she says, “and as of yesterday just added a second warehouse. If someone tells you that they don’t believe in your ideas or dreams, don’t listen. Figure out how to do it anyway and get it done.”