COVID-19 pandemic leads IMC student to build Blonde Boomerang business

Cloi Bryan
Oxford Stories

STUDENT PROFILE – Online shopping has become the future because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s always an experience to support and shop from local boutiques in the comfort of your home.

When it comes to the world of fashion, Kylie Cockrell, a junior integrated marketing communications major born and raised in Madison, Mississippi, invites us to her online fashion boutique, Blonde Boomerang, which recently launched this past January. At Blonde Boomerang, you can find an organized assortment of turtlenecks, sweater vests, corduroy pants, and a pink metallic puffer coat. While shopping at Blonde Boomerang, you get a sense of what fashion means to Cockrell.

Cockrell was inspired to create her own online boutique after working at Arco Avenue, a clothing boutique in Ridgeland, Mississippi, outside Madison. During the first few years of working at Arco Avenue, Cockrell started out small. She worked the floor, assisted customers by styling them and making purchases. She later managed the store.

Being the manager meant it was her duty to pay the bills, focus on rent, and purchase inventory for the store. After Cockrell experienced the “behind the scenes” aspect of running a small business, she created the online boutique.

Cockrell is on the creative team of Square Magazine at Ole Miss. Part of her role is to help with planning and designing photo shoots for their website and social media accounts. Her job is to figure out new and creative ways to make each photo shoot unique, whether that is the location of the shoot or the hair and makeup of the models that correlate with a specific article written by the editorial team.

Being able to incorporate what she has learned from her involvement at Square Magazine and being an IMC major specializing in fashion promotion and merchandising has helped guide Cockrell in the right direction for building and creating a platform for her business.

“I didn’t really know anyone else in college who had started a business or who I could turn to for advice,” said Cockrell.

However, someone whom Cockrell looked up to while creating her business was her boss, Katie Miller, at Arco Avenue. Miller had started her small boutique from the ground up and had no idea where it would take her. Like Miller, Cockrell was compelled to do the same due to how passionate she was about her love for fashion. Cockrell decided to just go with the flow.

When it comes to everyday fashion, Cockrell mentioned that her go to outfit is a pair of straight-legged, light wash jeans, a white button up shirt and a pair of orange Nike Air Force Ones.

“Those are my prized possession,” Kylie said excitedly.

Cockrell used the time spent at home during the COVID-19 pandemic to finally begin the process of making her dream become a reality. This time allowed her to complete all the necessary tasks for her business. This consisted of getting the sales permits and tax licenses that took many weeks and months before proceeding with the process. After taking one step at a time in building the foundation of her business, Cockrell realized she needed a name for her boutique.

“My mom was actually the one to come up with the name,” Kylie said.

In a Western Australian tribe language, “Kylie” translates to boomerang. Cockrell’s mom Vicki thought this would be a creative and unique way to tie together Cockrell’s feature of having blonde hair. Before she knew it, Blonde Boomerang was born, and on Jan. 24, Cockrell officially launched her online boutique for the public.

Vicki Welch is Kylie’s mother who has supported her throughout the process of creating Blonde Boomerang. Vicki has witnessed all the hard work Kylie puts into developing her business.

“She did everything,” Welch said.

Kylie created her business on her own, from making important phone calls to designing the website and choosing the inventory. Welch said Kylie’s unique sense of style is something she knew customers would fall in love with while shopping at Blonde Boomerang.

Being at home during the COVID-19 pandemic was the perfect time to make Kylie’s dream a reality, said Welch.

“Throughout this whole process, I have seen Kylie become so independent,” she said.

Welch said this is the perfect time and age to get involved with something you are passionate about and to not be afraid to fail while doing so.

“I know she has what it takes to make this business go further,” Welch said.

Throughout creating her business, Cockrell said, “There were so many times I second-guessed myself.”

However, she adopted her previous boss’s motto, “You never know until you just go for it.”

Although Cockrell was nervous at the start of launching her boutique, she was excited to see where it would go and excited when someone from Connecticut purchased an item from Blonde Boomerang.

“It’s the little things like that that remind me of how glad I am to have started my business… It definitely makes my day,” said Cockrell.

As a full-time student taking 18 hours of classes, being involved with Square Magazine, and running an online business, Cockrell mentioned that it has taken a lot of self-discipline to stay on top of her everyday tasks.

“The business staying up and running relies solely on me,” she said.

If you are a student who aspires to create your own business, it is important to stay confident and true to yourself. All it takes is one big step of moving forward to make your dream come true. Whatever it is that you are passionate about, make it happen, said Cockrell.

“The more work you put into something you are passionate about, the more benefits you will get in return,” she said. “Once you make that commitment to yourself, you are already one step further towards your goal…You can only go up from there.”

After asking Kylie what her goals and dreams are for Blonde Boomerang, she said in the future, she aspires to open a physical location for Blonde Boomerang. Her love for working and managing her hometown boutique and getting to know the customers and their styles in person is a totally different experience.

“Make it from the ground up, and gradually it will become what you want it to be,” she said.

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