Inspired by outfitting the modern women, Fabtique is a fashion boutique serving up fresh and trendy clothing in Upper Arlington. The idea to open Fabtique was born when Pat Schmuki Barker visited a shop in Cleveland and noticed they were selling unique brands not found in Columbus. Barker got in touch with Amber Wilson, a longtime friend who met when they were both working at White House Black Market, and the duo has been crushing it since they opened their doors in October 2016. We chatted with Amber about how they got their start, empowering others, brands they carry including Buri and Beach and the future of Fabtique.
Shown above: Chloe Leaves tote
Tell us about your backgrounds?
I worked at White House Black Market for eight years as a Manager.
Pat had a career in advertising, public relations, working as the Director of Ohio tourism.
What brought you guys together to start your own business?
I was living in Florida and planning a return to Columbus and was searching for my next career change and reached out to Pat, who was at that time looking for a passion project after leaving her job at Ohio tourism. Pat threw out the idea of opening a boutique together that would carry unique items not found in Columbus. I said, “Let’s do it.”
Describe how you guys work together.
Oh my gosh, it’s amazing! The coolest thing is when we started the project, we sat down at the kitchen table with our laptops. We didn’t know what we had to do but came up with a list of things that had to get done. We naturally grew towards what we were good at. We never had to be like so, I don’t want to do this, will you do it? I had the retail experience of running the store, inventory, operations, sales, while Pat had the financial and marketing background. The things we are good at, we just naturally separated.
What is your inspiration for Fabtique?
We wanted affordable fashion that was fun, trendy, modern and fresh for women beyond 20 something.
Shown above: Sophie round handle bag in coral and green with striped dress from Bishop+Young, necklace from Halle Dusseau
Describe your customer in three words.
Modern, hip and sassy…Yeah (laughter).
How often do you change your inventory?
Everyday. We have over 100 vendors we work with and we get limited amount of inventory so when we sell out, that’s it. Each week, when you come into Fabtique, you’ll see something new.
Which brands resonate most with your customers?
We carry Liverpool, a denim, and bottom brand, they are the most comfortable fit for any body type. We also love THML, a boutique brand and French Connection, a classic that is coming back. Bella Dahl, an L.A. brand that is casual and a little sleeker.
We also love to collaborate with local artists like Meghan Brown and Halle Dusseau, and our collaboration with Buri and Beach. We’re so excited about these bags. I think it’s important to support the community.
Shown above: Claire Sand and Sea Tote in navy with red dress from French Connection, necklace from Meghan Browne.
How do you want your customers to feel when they walk out of your store?
Inspired. We want to inspire a style. We want women to come in and no matter what they want to wear, if they come in to look for jeans and a t-shirt, a dress for a date, if they have an interview, if they just want something new, we want them to feel good about their outfit or the one earing they purchase.
How do you empower others?
So many times, women come in and they’re self-conscious about their body type or something else is going on in their life. Come in! This is a safe place, try on some clothes, branch out a little bit. If you like it, great, if you don’t, we’ll get you back in your comfort zone. And it’s just about feeling good. Because, when you feel good, it’s when you look your best. You can wear jeans and white t-shirt and feel amazing. When we know we picked the right stuff for our customer, we’ve done them justice. That’s what we are here for.
What’s the most gratifying thing about being an entrepreneur?
First, it’s about our customers and hearing from them that they had a great experience.
It’s also about spreading positivity among our team. Hearing my girls say they are learning how to run a business, or that I’ve inspired them to start their own business.
One of the coolest thing about starting Fabtique was we were able work with all these wonderful people in our lives, mostly women. Women who were a photographer, graphic designer, blogger, coming together to work on something. Sometimes, women have a tendency to compete and we loved that we were able to pull these women together and be okay, let’s use all these great minds and see what we come up with collectively. And we couldn’t have done this without them.
What should a new customer expect when they walk-in to Fabtique?
So much fun, energy. Stop by, say hi. We can pop open a bottle of wine if you want. Just come in and say hi to the girls. We love to learn about our customers. It’s amazing the things you’ll have in common with different people from experiences or places you’ve lived or jobs. We love to hear their stories.
Where do you see Fabtique in the future?
We’ve talked about having a second store. We’ve talked about opening a location in Florida because we have ties there and we both love the beach. Possibly a Short North location with a different assortment. Right now we don’t do e-commerce, so we’ll see.
3 Things about you.
I talk a lot.
I love food.
I go with my gut and stay positive.