Feature Story About Brick and Motor Boutique
By: Brooke Hass
Brick and Motor Boutique
DAVENPORT, Iowa -- The Quad Cities offers a wide variety of small businesses, but there is a hidden gem in Rock Island, IL, called Brick and Motor Boutique. Brick and Motor Boutique, established July 23, 2018, is owned and operated by sisters Haley Walker and Lauren Corwin. The two began their business operating out of “Stella,” the duo’s mobile boutique, and through an online store that sells a variety of women’s clothing, accessories and gift items, while being based on a great cause. Each month, the boutique donates five percent of their profits to a local charity or organization to give back to the community that supports them.
Brick and Motor originally began as a “mobile” boutique, which operated out of a trailer with the interior styled for selling. Walker said that, before starting their business, the sisters knew that they wanted to start a boutique together, but they were not sure if they wanted to start a true “brick and mortar” boutique. “Our mobile boutique is definitely the bread and butter of our business,” Walker said. “We have had over 10,000 orders.” Drawing inspiration from online and from other businesses, the duo began planning their dream. “Lauren already had owned a truck, and the mobile boutique was much cheaper and a lot more reliable,” Walker said. “We didn’t want to start with something that we weren’t really sure
The duo would travel to events such as farmers markets, university pop-up shops and several other events within a three-hour radius of their location. While the sisters did not originally plan to have a storefront location, in November of that year, the Development Association of Rock Island reached out to offer a storefront for the business. “We were planning on using that for about 3 months, for the winter, since we couldn’t operate the mobile boutique outside,” Walker said. “Rent was really cheap down there, so we ended up doing that. That ended up being our storefront today!”
The sisters both worked day jobs after both graduated from Bradley University, Walker with a degree in advertising and marketing and Corwin in finance. Walker worked for a website development company for a year, building upon her marketing and social media experience. Corwin worked for Von Maur, representing the company as a buyer for men’s underwear and ties. While the two were both stable in their positions, they decided to take the leap into being their own bosses. Walker discussed their roots in their entrepreneurial nature, beginning with a project when the two were eight and twelve years old.
“When we were growing up, we were always thinking of ways to start businesses together,” Walker said. “We started a business called In Good Hands. We would help people with doing their yard work and anything else they needed.”
In the future, the duo seeks a franchising opportunity, hopefully opening several boutiques. They also hope to have a solid storefront with, potentially, a coffee bar of sorts to top off their storefront-mobile boutique collection. Walker offered up insight for those seeking to take the leap to owning a small business. “First of all, save up your money,” Walker said. “Second of all, do it. If you are passionate about it, you’ll find success with it.”
Be sure to check out Brick and Motor Boutique on Facebook and Instagram or see their
website at www.brickandmotorboutique.com.