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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Get styled by Vivian B

In NoDa is one fashionable place called Vivian B. Inside the sun lit shop are the latest fashions, classic pieces and some funky art. Owner Kimberly Wilkinson, a graduate of Johnson C. Smith University -- which is my alma mater as well-- greets customers with a smile and an offer of a glass of wine while she shows off new styles by BCBG, Dolce Vita and more.

Wilkinson opened the shop, named after her grandmother, last year.
("My grandmother is still around," she said. "She told me to do her name proud!")
NoDa needed a place like Vivian B, eclectic, stylish and artsy; everything the area is supposed to be.
I went down to the store to talk fashion and business with Wilkinson. Since Charlotte is about to put on one of the biggest fashion shows in the city, also known as the CIAA Basketball Tournament.

When did you decide you wanted to own a boutique? 

Well, I always knew I wanted to own my own business, I just wasn't too sure as to what. But I loved to shop and I would spend so much money in the mall. So, I said I need to do what I love to do. I've always been an entrepreneur. I was going to do a day care, but after I went through the process, I said this is not going to work. I thought that I needed to do something that was recession proof. But when I started meeting women who were day care owners, they were like enrollment is down. So, I said, I'm going to do what I love. I moved over here and it used to be tons of people on the street for no reason. It hit me, they need something to do and I said, I'm going to open a store.

How would you style some people in Charlotte for the CIAA? Every year there seems to be a lot of 'fashion mishaps.'

I always think that classic is the way to go. If you're going to spend your money, you might as well spend your money on something that's always going to be fashionable. Then, mix some trendy things in there. Some people are super clubby and they feel like they have to have on something short and fitted. If people come in, I will give them my ideas on what would be cute for a day party, a night party--all of the above.

How would you style a woman for her first date? 

Cute. Something flirty, you know you can give a little but not too much. A first date can be hit or miss. You want to show if you have a flat stomach that you have a flat stomach--so wear a fitted top. If you have a nice behind, wear a pair of jeans that will show a little bit of what they can get if they want to continue. But nothing overly sexy because you don't want to do that.

What would you say is your best selling item? 

The dresses go fast, the candles go fast. We have these different greeting card that you can write little sayings in. It just depends on what you come in for.

Vivian B
3100 North Davidson Street 
Charlotte, NC 28205
Store Hours: 
Tuesday - Saturday 11am - 8pm
Sunday  12pm - 5pm

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