Marissa Simms, 23, envisioned a store where she and her peers could don the latest fashion trends. "I've always been a lover of fashion," says Simms, now the CEO of Royal Bleau boutique. When she was a senior mass-communications major at Jackson State University, Simms wanted to open a consignment store. When faced with the opportunity, Simms chose the more professional platform of a boutique instead.
Initially, Royal Bleau merchandise targeted college students. After opening her doors in February, though, Simms realized she had a larger market than she first thought. "We cater to everybody: alumni, students and the community," she says. The boutique sells the latest trends, Greek apparel and JSU apparel. Simms recently launched "Marissa's Closet," a small consignment section in the rear of the store, and she plans to offer more contemporary wear for working women.
The boutique sits right across from the JSU student center in a newly constructed building. Simms loves the convenience of her location but thought it was unattainable. "It's farfetched for me to get this type of real estate as a startup business owner," she says.
Simms attributes much of her success to her mother, Camille Simms. "If I'm the CEO, then she's the CFO," Marissa Simms says. Her mother, who is also a JSU alumnus, is often at the store when Simms is unavailable.
The store owner really anticipates the upcoming school year. "We are doing some remodeling before the fall," she says. Simms also plans to have a big back-to-school fashion show with a surprise celebrity guest.
"I like predicting what's next and the idea that people express themselves through fashion," Simms says.
Royal Bleau Boutique (1100 J.R. Lynch St., Suite 8, 601-321-9564) is open Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. The Back to School Fashion Show is Aug. 10 at Dreamz Jackson (426 W. Capitol St., 601-979-3994).
See the definitive guide for college students and newcomers to Jackson at Jackpedia.com