Inspiration can come from anywhere, and during the pandemic, Jacqueline Smith found it on TikTok.
“I saw so many women starting their own businesses, and I thought, ‘If they can do it, why can’t I?’” she recalls. “I started Googling and watching YouTube to learn what type of paperwork I needed to have, etc., and how to do ordering and getting my wholesale license.”
With that, the Coast native, wife and mother of four launched Fashion Factory in 2020 out of her living room. Smith started selling on social media, and her venture kicked off with just two racks of clothes.
“To reach more people, I started doing pop-ups in people’s homes, and Fashion Factory ‘sip and shops’ were born,” Smith says. “I also went into local schools, and teachers were allowed to shop with me on their off periods.”
One of six sisters, Smith was always the go-to sibling for fashion advice. For as long as she can remember, she’s had an eye for sparkle and “anything girly.”
Now as a boutique owner with a store in the heart of downtown Gulfport, Smith is on a mission to make women feel confident and beautiful at any age and size.
“My biggest reward is seeing someone who’s not sure how to dress their body type find something they love and feel good in,” she says. “I love putting looks together for customers when they are heading to an event or just looking for something casual.”
Fashion Factory aims to be inclusive, which is reflected in its size range of extra small through 3X. From bodysuits and
flirty party dresses to work-appropriate pieces, the store strives to satisfy its diverse clientele.
“I feel like the majority of boutiques don’t cater to curvy women, and that’s something that was important for me to offer,” Smith says. “Something else that makes us unique is that we have clothing and accessories for the more mature look while also catering to the teenage crowd. We pride ourselves in having options for every age.”
While Fashion Factory carries trendy items, featuring color block, sequins and more, it also reliably stocks pieces that never go out of style, like classic denim, dresses and blouses. Inventory is consistently replenished, Smith says, with new shipments arriving daily to keep the store fresh and ensure there’s always something new to
see. She makes a point of supporting other local businesses, so the store also carries handmade gifting options and pottery.
“We are told pretty often by new customers that we have so many things that you don’t see everywhere else,” Smith says, “which, of course, we love to hear.”
JACQUELINE SMITH’S TOP FIVE STYLE TIPS:
- While we love new and trendy items, a classic never grows old.
- Dress for your body type.
- Always wear something that you love and makes you happy.
- The best thing you can put on is confidence.
- “People will stare; make it worth their while.” – Harry Winston