When Naomi Lentz first opened the doors to Heaven Boutique in May 2008, it was a yarn shop and a custom sewing studio. Since then, it has expanded to include consignment clothing, including the Wild Things Children’s Resale boutique.
“I love the idea of recycling clothing, reducing ones' environmental footprint and also having a variety of brands and one of a kind items available in a small town,” Lentz said of her inspiration to start the business. “Reducing environmental impact by not having to drive to a city to visit the mall, shopping in a relaxed boutique style atmosphere and keeping money in the community through supporting local business are all ideas which are important to me.”
Lentz is originally from Calgary, Alta. and has fostered a love for clothing and sewing since she was a child. She pursued her passion, getting an education in fashion.
“I have been sewing since I was 9, have a diploma in Fashion Production and have worked as a freelance seamstress for many years in Calgary,” she said. “ I'm generally pretty crafty and taught myself to knit and crochet. I used to sell handmade hats, purses and jewelry at the Fernie Arts Co-op and at craft fairs and summer markets.”
After moving to Fernie in 2004, Lentz always had the idea of opening this style of boutique in the back of her mind.
She operated a small business, Fernie Alteration and Repair, from her home.
“I've always been somewhat entrepreneurial, but don't have any formal business training and have fumbled my way through opening a retail business, making mistakes and learning along the way.”
When the opportunity to open a retail space arose in 2008, Lentz didn’t begin to sell consignment clothing right away, as there was already a consignment boutique in Fernie at that time.
“When that shop closed, I jumped at the opportunity and opened 'Heaven Boutique', the consignment shop, within the existing yarn shop/sewing space. It was a hit and has been growing ever since. Best decision I ever made,” she said.
Last year, Lentz doubled the retail space to open the Wild Things Boutique, which complements Heaven Boutique next door.
“Wild Things sells children's clothing, shoes & accessories on consignment as well as a selection of new & handmade items, with a focus on Canadian makers,” Lentz said. “We operate with the same consignment system as Heaven Boutique and customers are welcome to spend their consignment credit in either shop.”
Lentz keeps the focus of the shop on local artists, and allows designers and artists to sell their work in the shop on consignment.
She also still sells a variety of yarn and supplies for knitting, crochet and felting. Heaven Boutique is located on Second Ave. and is open everyday.