Hello everyone! Let’s kick off the new year right with a brand new interview with CCollections Boutique owner CiCi Henry! She is a visual artist, innovator, and creative individual setting her own standards. So let’s get to it!
Cici: My name is Cici Henry and I am the owner of CCollections Boutique.
Me: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
Me: You are fairly young. Can you tell me about your CCollections Boutique?
CiCi: It is vintage mixed with a modern style. I can make your grandma’s stuff look cool, but also take a new pair of nine west shoes and make an outfit out of it. The foundation is to take timeless clothes and put them together with today’s style.
Me: So your kind of mixing the old with the new and adding your own flavor to it. Were you inspired by something and did you always dress original?
CiCi: I guess my inspiration comes from decades. Each decade had an influence on me starting from the 30’s until now. It was something such as a hairstyle, the way they wore their bustiers back then, and the baggy clothes trend in the 90’s. I’ve never really dressed according to the era I’m in. It’s always been an influence from something in a different time such as an old movie, an old fashion blog, or magazine.
Me: So do you like history?
CiCi: Yes in a sense I like timeless vintage things and making them current today.
Me: What’s your favorite era?
CiCi: It has to be between the 60’s and the 90’s. I think both of those time periods were rebellious in fashion. In the 60’s it was very Diana Ross. Women wore fitted, colorful, color blocked outfits. In the 90’s girls started wearing baggy clothes and dressing like guys. I have a hard time choosing between the two.
Me: Your hair is giving me a 90’s type of vibe today! Who is your niche market?
Me: Is your company unisex?
CiCi: I have men’s clothes but mainly catered to women. My t-shirt line is unisex.
Me: We touched a little bit on your style inspiration but would you like to add to it?
Me: Who inspires you?
CiCi: God! He is the center of everything I do. Situations also inspire me a lot whether they are good or bad. I try to take some type of lesson from it. My peers, music, and life inspire me. It’s not one particular thing or person. I’m a movie and music junkie and those inspire me as well. I’m a visionary so I instantly turn something into a picture.
Me: In your mind? Cause I’m the same way.
CiCi: Mmmhmmm…so really life inspires me.
Me: Good answer. Where do you get your merchandise from?
CiCi: I mainly thrift for the clothes and I revamp them.
Me: Do you thrift locally or out of town?
CiCi: I thrift all over. When I’m out of town I make an intinerary of places I want to go and try to hit up at least 2 stores. I find pretty dope stuff. I’m headed to Miami soon so I hope I can find some really bomb stuff there.
Me: You will definitely find some good stuff! Can you tell me about your t-shirt line?
CiCi: I love statement t-shirts. I do graphic design as well so I order blank t-shirts and print the design on them. The last t-shirt I designed was The Black and Proud shirt with Angela Davis on the front. The reason I made it was because it was a lot of killings going on and I thought it was fitting for the time.
Me: It’s still fitting…
CiCi: It definitely is still fitting and I will be making more in regards to that. I feel like as an artist it is our job to make things aware. Like back in the day you had artists using their voice to be heard that inspired a lot of people. Fashion inspires a lot of movements. The next t-shirt I have coming out is “I’m an artist and I’m sensitive about my…”
Me: I’m digging that. It’s like you are a walking statement expressing yourself. Like moving art!
Cici: Yes! I feel like they describe you. Any T-shirt that you see a person wearing is a part of them. They bought that shirt because they could relate and it was significant to them. That is why I design them because I want people to have another way to express themselves boldly.
Me: I know that you are preparing for your boutique to open, but can you tell me about the struggles along the way? What did you have to face while doing your pop up shops and trying to get everything together?
CiCi: The main struggle that I had with the pop up shops was finding different locations and having people work with a decent budget. My main focus was getting the brand out and associating CCollections with the pop up shop. I was basically setting up a mini store so I didn’t have all the necessary tools in the beginnning. We made it work! Transitioning from that to a store you have a solid foundation to execute the way you want. As far as getting the store together it’s expensive. When I first started I made a budget for myself and I’ve been saving money by doing a lot of DIY projects for decor. It’s working out.
Me: When you did the branding with the pop up shops did that actually work for you?
CiCi: It worked out way more than I thought. When you put things on social media some people like it and some don’t. When I would go out to eat people would recognize me. You feel like you are not reaching a lot of people but they are paying attention. I started to get known for it even outside of Huntsville. My parents and their friends were sharing my stuff as well.
Me: I think that your store is a good accomplishment from your pop up shops and you are stretching yourself to get everything right. At the end of the day it is a good look for you. Do you have a team that helps you?
CiCi: My friends are super supportive as well as my mom and dad. I have a pretty good support system because I would fail without them.
Me: You have some cool friends and family. Do you feel like you’ve had any great accomplishments since you’ve started your journey?
CiCi: I’m pretty hard on myself because I feel like everything I’m doing is great. I have to have an outer body experience and look at it to give myself recognition. I hear it all the time that I am only 21.
Me: And that’s what I’ve been saying you are so young to be doing things of your stature.
CiCi: Yes I’m 21 and I’m still in school. It is stressful and frustrating but I have to recognize the blessing.
Me: Where do you see yourself in the future?
CiCi: I can see the direction where I’m going but not the clear picture. I knew it would be something artistically but me having a store…heck nah! Even when I got the store God put it in my mind to do it in October. As far as 5 years from now I don’t know. Hopefully traveling and opening stores in Atlanta and California. I want to branch out and expand on my other crafts: photography, creative directing, and helping others get their brand off the ground.
Me: I will share this with you. I don’t know where I’ll be in five years and I’m still trying to figure it out. You just have to let God lead you to where he wants you to be. I know you will do well! Can you tell me about any projects or events you have going on?
CiCi: Thank you!!! I recently discovered a local artist named Wade Brown. He was a contestant on “The Voice” on Cee-lo’s team. He makes amazing music. When I heard his EP I asked him if he was going to have a listening party and let him know that I would sponsor him.
**Guess who got to attend**
** Go check him out guys**
CiCi: I will also be having a holiday special where people can come and shop. I will be preparing for the store to open in February. In October we had a Love Jones spoken word event and I will have a part two coming in January.
Me: Let me know about the dates of upcoming events so that I can attend. Is there any advice that you would like to give to future entrepreneurs, creatives, etc?
CiCi: Just do it! Don’t second guess your craft or what you have to offer to the world. Understand that what you have is a gift and don’t let anything taint or dilute it. If you see yourself doing it figure out a way to do it period. A lot of times monetary things stop people from doing what they want to do. I was one of those people. When your creative you find ways to make it happen. So use your talent or gift that you have and just do it.
Me: Yes ma’am I hear you girl… thank you CiCi! Is there anything else that you would like to add?
CiCi: Thank you for interviewing me!
Me: Thank you for having me!
I can’t wait to see what CiCi has in store for her and I wish her much success! To stay connected with CiCi and to follow her blissful journey you can find her on instagram: CCollections.co, CCollectionsboutique_