By Amy Geiszler-Jones - Photography By Madison Ham
For the past two years, Pattie Durham’s business life has involved a lot of fashion, fun and Facebook, as well as philanthropy.
After working as a business broker, Durham opened a women’s clothing franchise in 2015 in northeast Wichita. Earlier this year, she rebranded her business as an independent women’s clothing boutique, and in August held a grand rebrand party to celebrate her business’ relaunch as Moxie sass and class boutique.
“I just love the word,” she said, hours after a 70-inch wall design bearing the store’s new logo had been installed behind the guest services counter of her shop at 2431 N. Greenwich. Even her Morkie – a Maltese and Yorkie mix – is named Moxie. “It’s not really about naming my business after my dog. I just love what it means. We’re bringing the word back.”
Search Google to define moxie and this is the first definition and example of how to use it that pops up: “force of character, determination, or nerve. ‘When you’ve got moxie, you need the clothes to match.’”
Durham would find that fitting.
“I’ve always loved clothes,” said Durham. “New clothes always make a person feel good.”
For those who like to indulge in retail therapy, Durham has ensured they can do so affordably in her boutique. “Everything is $50 or less,” she said. Tags reflect much higher suggested retail prices.
There’s no doubt that Durham finds fashion fun. Just watch one of the twice-weekly social media broadcasts on Facebook and YouTube from the boutique when she showcases new arrivals in the store and provides fashion and other tips. Durham has realized one of the quickest and savviest ways to reach her customers – which extend beyond Wichita – is through social media.
“These are going to be fun, fun, fun for the fall. Super cute,” she declared during a recent In My Closet livecast on Facebook as she pulled from a rack a pair of jeans embellished with two rows of rivets on the outer seams. Suede and velvet are going to be hot items this fall, she has advised shoppers in recent broadcasts.
The In My Closet broadcast goes live every Wednesday at 7 p.m., after she and her staff have spent the day stocking the floor with the weekly new arrivals. Sometimes she’s joined by another female small business owner or someone involved with an area nonprofit. Durham likes to sip her favorite Cupcake moscato d’asti wine as she describes the new pieces and how one can wear the items.
“Women seem to relate to wine,” she said. Highlighting the new arrivals in the broadcasts often leads to women showing up the next day to purchase those items.
At 9 on Friday mornings before the shop opens, Durham and Moxie’s manager Bobbi West share various tips – such as what to pack for a trip or comfortable Sunday attire suitable for church or brunch – in a shorter video for YouTube. The intent is to provide those tips in five minutes but videos often extend longer, hence the “five-ish.
At Moxie, regular customers can also take advantage of free private styling appointments. Durham said she’s planning to expand that consultation service via the video-telephone app, FaceTime.
For Durham, helping build up people, and women in particular, is important, and it’s something that she strives to do within and through her business – from helping a young girl who’s had a troubled family life pick out a new pair of jeans for free or bringing attention to another woman-owned business during the In My Closet broadcast to participating in fundraisers to help causes that help improve women’s lives.
One of her favorite causes is Carpenter Place, a longtime Wichita organization that provides a faith-based home environment for young girls and works with the girls’ families to help rebuild their lives. She gets involved with a number of its fundraisers, has helped host a fashion show and allows the girl recognized each month by Carpenter Place for behavior and progress to select a free pair of jeans from Moxie.
“We as women have to help raise up other women,” Durham said. “You can choose to spend your enery being negative or spend your energy being positive. I think it’s better to lift up than to push down.
“I love owning a boutique but it’s a platform to do good for the community.”