When local fashionista Kristen Bishop opened Lucky Mí in 2007, I thought the name was so apropos. Chapel Hill hometown girl opens up her own high-end fashion boutique at the tender age of 23. Talk about living your dream at an early age…how lucky is that?!
But it was more than luck.
Born and raised in Chapel Hill, Kristen attended Chapel Hill High School and graduated from Peace College in Raleigh with a degree in Graphic Design. Kristen discovered her creative veins early in life and has channeled that passion into a succession of entrepreneurial endeavors.
For many fashion-forward shoppers, it was a sad day when the doors at Lucky Mí in Eastgate Shopping Center closed in 2009. I caught up with Kristen recently to find out how she got started on her creative path, what she’s been up to since her Lucky Mí boutique days, and where she’s headed next.
What were your career aspirations when you entered college and when you graduated?
I realized at a young age that I was most successful when I was being creative, whether it was with watercolors, pencils or computers. However, I had no idea what I wanted to be or do when I entered college or when I left. All I knew was that there were endless opportunities for me, and I was so excited to start checking off my “life’s to-do” right away.
Who and what influenced this career path?
This will probably sound cliché, but my parents have always been the most influential people in my life. No matter what crazy idea I had or business venture I wanted to undertake, they were standing right beside me every second. Growing up, they always encouraged me and my art, whether it was art camp or private art lessons. It is because of them that I’m where I am today. Though they have little to no artistic abilities, they have always been my biggest fans!
How scary was it to open a business at such a young age?
It was very scary when I opened Lucky Mí. At 23, I had no idea what I was doing but enjoyed every second of it…well not every second; there were a lot of difficult moments, but I kept my head held high every second of the way and learned a lot in the process.
Tell us about how the boutique name Lucky Mí was born.
At 23, I felt very honored and lucky to be in a situation where I could open my own boutique. I kept thinking “Geez, I am so lucky,” and after doodling on a piece of paper one day, I came up with Lucky Mí.
Kristen at her former boutique Lucky Mí
Were you the primary buyer, and how and where did you seek out labels?
I carried designers like Corey Lynn Calter, Max & Cleo, Charlotte Ronson and Mynt. I traveled to New York about four times a year to do my buying. The buying trips, along with getting to know my customers, were the best parts about owning my store.
The line of jewelry you carried in the store was beautiful. Tell us who created it and how that business evolved.
A few months after I opened Lucky Mí, I met a fellow jewelry designer, and we instantly became friends. After I closed my business, I was able to invest all my time developing the line. Shortly after starting Sweetie Pie Jewelry, it was featured in magazines like InStyle, Life & Style, Glamour, Real Simple and was even featured on Gossip Girl. I recently sold my share of the business to follow other dreams.
Kristen at a Sweetie Pie Jewelry photo shoot
Do you feel that you created a unique void for Chapel Hill fashionistas when you were in business?
The one thing I knew was that I wanted a place for girls and women to come where they wouldn’t break the bank but could still find quality pieces. It is funny looking around now and how the “affordable” boutique has become the norm.
How difficult was it for you to close the doors on Lucky Mí?
It was very difficult, but I was so excited for the future. There are SO many things I want to do in my life and I have been lucky enough to start checking those things off.
In your opinion, what boutiques in Chapel Hill have filled your shoes?
Hadley Emerson and Fabrik. (Both located in Chapel Hill’s East 54.)
Tell Chapelboro readers where you went from Lucky Mí and Sweetie Pie Jewelry and what you are doing now.
Currently, I am working on my fashion blog (me and belle) and a new project, Me and Belle Couture Silhouettes. I am so excited about both ventures and even more excited about where they are going to take me.
What advice can you share with aspiring young business owners?
Do not rush into anything. Make sure you do your research and know every nook and cranny of your idea or new business. Do not be afraid to take the leap. You will learn not only a lot about the business world but about yourself.
Name your dream career…or have you found it?
The million dollar question! I am still in search of my dream career. I like to think of it as what’s my next “dream career.” There are so many things I want to do and accomplish in my life. Who said you just had to pick one?
Kristen in the Big Apple ~ sky’s the limit for this fashion diva!
Amen! I completely agree and relate to that answer. Variety is the spice of life! Fellow fashionista Kristen Bishop and I are alike in that we both have lots of things to accomplish on our “Career and Life Bucket Lists.”
Kristen plans to launch Me and Belle Couture Silhouettes in the next few weeks. And The Fashion Plate plans to report back on this new venture in a future column!
Thanks to Kristen Bishop for sharing her story, advice and photos with Chapelboro readers!
Look for future columns on favorite local fashionistas and where they are now, and share your stories of favorite former Chapel Hill boutiques and owners below.