BROOKINGS – Hello Sunshine is a store that’s meant to brighten everyone’s day, from the name right down to what’s on the shelves, according to owners Ariel Ullom and Kristin Goetz.
Hello Sunshine opened Nov. 16 at 404 Main Ave. and has clothes – including plus-sizes – home decor and gift items.
“We (wanted to be) a one-stop shop, but yet still have a lot of custom, unique items,” Ullom said.
They have their pulse on the here and now but are keeping an eye on the future, so they can change with their customers.
“We definitely would like to fill the needs that we see in town,” Ullom said.
Hello Sunshine is open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays.
Goetz and Ullom have known each other since they were kids.
“I’m a native from the Egan area,” Goetz said.
Ullom moved to Colman in the fifth grade and they graduated from Colman-Egan High School a year apart.
Goetz earned an associate degree in cosmetology at Lake Area Technical Institute, where she got a foundation for running her own business.
“Not only did we learn cosmetology, but … you learn the background of business and financing,” Goetz said. “If you ever do decide to go out and pursue your own business, you have some of that education behind you.”
She’s been doing cosmetology about 11 years.
“I had a boutique in Flandreau and then I’ve had a salon up in Milbank,” Goetz said. Most recently, she managed the Smart Style Salon in Brookings.
Ullom moved to Brookings about 10 years ago and earned a bachelor’s degree from Southern New Hampshire University. She’s done office work for Twin City Fan, Harm’s Oil, and United Living Community. Mostly recently, she worked at Hy-Vee.
Making a change
The two friends were talking in September about needing a change.
“We kind of started talking about how great it would be to do something for ourselves and doing it together; and Hello Sunshine was kind of born from there,” Ullom said.
“I remember just going over to her house one day and I was like, ‘hey, opportunity for you: how would you feel about opening a boutique?’” Goetz recalled.
In just two months, they found themselves opening Hello Sunshine.
“One of those meant-to-be things,” Ullom said.
“I think we both have the personality though, where you get that idea in your head and you just kind of run with it,” Goetz said.
The name was inspired on two fronts. Goetz and a co-worker of hers had the idea about a year ago to open their own salon.
“And Hello Sunshine is just one of those things where … it’s friendly, … it’s a warm greeting to you,” Goetz said.
“It’s coincidental that our mutual friend always says that every time she sees us. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the afternoon or if it’s in the morning, or she’s in a bad mood. She would always be like ‘Well, hello sunshine.’ And it just stuck,” Goetz said.
Doing it their way
They knew what kind of a boutique they wanted to run and what they wanted to offer their customers.
“A lack in one particular facet of boutiques was plus-sized clothing. So we kind of saw an opening and really wanted to bring in fashionable and affordable plus-sized clothing,” Ullom said.
Their clothing runs the gamut from casual to business wear.
“Brought in some pieces that every wardrobe can kind of use,” Ullom said, including timeless cardigans, fun graphic t-shirts, Christmas socks, and lots of Christmas sweaters.
“Gotta love those Christmas sweaters,” Goetz added.
They have “give-able home décor” and gift items, too, she said.
They have items for families, newborns, and bridal gifts.
“We even have coffee mugs and travel mugs and some of them have things like ‘Does this ring make me look engaged?’” Goetz said. “So just fun little gift ideas like that. … We even have a sweater up there that says, ‘I said yes!’ What you said yes to – that could be the true mystery of it.”
“It is up to interpretation; because I said yes to getting up to the day,” Ullom said.
There are bath bombs with rings inside, candles with humorous names, keychains, purses, pop sockets and bath and beauty products.
“We’re so proud of our soaps,” Goetz said. “The day that we opened those, it was just like, ‘we gotta sniff every single one.’”
The soaps aren’t the only good smells wafting through the store: they sell teas and have a teapot brewing away all day.
“Give people a chance to maybe try something they never tried before,” Ullom said.
Moving into the future
The duo plan to keep trying new things in the future.
“With us just starting out, we’re trying to play with some different pieces,” Goetz said.
They work with small-town vendors a lot like them.
“They started (their businesses) out of a little shop of their own and they’ve branched out,” Goetz said, adding Hello Sunshine supports small businesses because “that’s what we are.”
“We definitely just wanted to dabble in a little bit of everything so that way we could kind of be a one-stop shop,” Ullom said.
Working with small business vendors will give them flexibility to satisfy their customers’ wants. Goetz said they have the ability to make small orders and even customize items.
They already have plans to expand.
“Eventually, I will be moving my (hair) salon in here,” Goetz said. “This building is huge. It just keeps going back and back and back.”
They’re also keeping track of what’s happening in Brookings.
With Fergen’s Clothing & Shoes closing, it gives others an opportunity with men’s clothing, Ullom said.
“Maybe something we are able to do in the future,” she said.
They took over the building that used to house Your Special Day bridal shop and know the community misses having a formalwear shop. Goetz and Ullom are looking into working with a vendor to bring in formal dresses and tux rentals.
“We’ve got tons of possibilities that we can eventually work towards. But baby steps,” Goetz said.
They see a bright future because people are more aware of working with small businesses and local craftsmen.
“They want to support local,” Goetz said.
Contact Jodelle Greiner at firstname.lastname@example.org.