Kekti Arya is a real estate agent with The Real Estate Group, but despite having a very busy year in 2020, she still decided to move forward with plans for launching her own retail business. When businesses began opening back up following the COVID-related shutdowns, she noticed that boutiques were doing well. “It seemed like a fun business opportunity, although I don’t have a background in retail,” Arya said. “I started doing a lot of research every night after my kids would go to bed.”
In April, she launched This or That Boutique as an online-only store, after hiring people to help her with the website design and management. “After a couple of months, I realized that as much as online sales work, people still want to see clothes in person and try things on,” Arya said. “I decided it was time to do a brick-and-mortar store.”
She also used feedback she had received from online customers to tweak the store’s inventory. “I heard from a lot of plus-size people who complained about not having cute clothes, so we expanded our plus-size line.” She also noted that while there are a number of other boutiques in Springfield, many of them focus on shabby chic or Bohemian styles, while she described her store as more of a glamorous vibe. “We wanted to do something different from the other boutiques in town.”
Through her real estate work, Arya had met Amna Ghumman when she first moved to town and bought a house through Arya. The two became friends, and Arya thought that Ghumman’s makeup business could be a good complement to the boutique.
A graphic designer by trade, Ghumman says she’s always loved makeup. “A face is a canvas for me,” Ghumman said. “I do makeup for weddings and events, and I also offer one-on-one lessons.”
After noticing that there were not many makeup studios in Springfield, Ghumman decided to open one of her own. Ghumman named her new business Naukhaas to reflect her South Asian heritage, a combination of the words “new” and “special.”
The two businesses will share space at 2943 W. White Oaks Dr., Suite 5, in Springfield. A grand opening is planned for Sunday, Sept. 19 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.