Apricot Lane Fort Mill: A Fashionable Venture

Text by Aubrey Ducane

Jackie Kimbrell, owner of Apricot Lane Fort Mill photographed by Simona Walters.

Apricot Lane Fort Mill is a 1700-square-foot women’s clothing boutique with a “glam bohemian vibe” located at 810 Brayden Parkway in Fort Mill, SC. Here, Jackie Kimbrell, the owner shares with us the story behind Apricot Lane Fort Mill.

What brought you to this as a business venture?

“I never dreamed I could own a women’s clothing boutique but yet here I am. I am not a risk taker and I always thought I needed to stay the course of a corporate job until I retire. After twenty-three years of self-guided training toward directorship in the healthcare field, I met my maximum goal. I realized it was time for me to make an extreme change and go for it. I am the product of my expectations and success. I wanted my two girls to learn and witness that if you have a vision and goal you can obtain what you strive for. I give tremendous recognition to the healthcare industry for the experience and leadership I acquired which helped me get to the place I am proud to be now. I also felt connected to the mission and vision of Apricot Lane which is ‘It's always the right time to do the right thing.’” 

The Kimbrell family photographed by Simona Walters.

Why did you pick Fort Mill for your store location?

“I have lived in Fort Mill for 40 years and have seen the tremendous growth of our community. There would be no other choice for me than to open in the community I essentially grew up in. Fort Mill is thriving with a multitude of women who have great fashion sense and need a place to shop without having to drive to Charlotte. There are some great other boutiques in Fort Mill and we all offer something a little different to our customers.”

What is your day-to-day like at Apricot Lane Fort Mill?

“We open at 10 am and begin the day by checking in new arrivals and prepping the store floor for new inventory. We engage with customers who come in by getting to know them, what brought them, and asking how we can help. We will pull items we think would work for their particular style or request.” 

What sets Apricot Lane Fort Mill apart from other area shops?

“While Fort Mill offers other wonderful women's boutiques we offer a place where both a mom and daughter can find something. Serving multiple generations. Allowing moms and daughters to shop together again in a unique fun environment.”

What is unique about Apricot Lane Fort Mill?

Apricot Lane Fort Mill works tirelessly to make sure women of all ages are offered flattering, timeless, and fun clothing and accessories that are high-quality and affordable. We make sure our customers' experience is easy, friendly, and all about helping them find exactly what they want or need at the perfect price. We love seeing friendly faces in our boutique and our customers don't feel overwhelmed or out of place. Our relaxed yet fun atmosphere is meant to give customers the time and space to browse our product lines, try pieces on, and make the perfect choice. Our stylists love to interact and engage with all of our customers, making sure they find the right color, size, and style. They are truly the reason we love to come to work every day. It is the mission of Apricot Lane Fort Mill to offer each customer an experience that will be long remembered. Our boutique creates a unique adventure and shopping experience that captures the look and vibe of Fort Mill and the surrounding areas. Every item is carefully curated with the Fort Mill fashionista in mind. We have the newest styles and we bring them in with very limited quantities, so you can be sure that you won't see every other woman in town wearing the same outfit at the same event. We have new arrivals almost daily, so shopping at Apricot Lane Fort Mill is always a discovery and truly an affordable, unique boutique experience.”

What can new clients expect to find at Apricot Lane Fort Mill?

“From that perfect date night dress to a comfy and casual outfit, Apricot Lane Fort Mill has everything you need to create the perfect look for any occasion. You can count on our expert stylist to help you find what you’re looking for and if we don’t yet have it, we’ll do our best to get it. We pride ourselves on putting the customer and the community first. Some may think, ‘It's just a woman’s clothing boutique’ but honestly I have learned that it is much more than that. We have a welcoming vibe that allows our customers to feel comfortable and confident when shopping and trying on clothes. This comfort allows our customers to share their personal stories from breast cancer survival, weight loss success, fertility journey, motherhood, girls' trip plans, and so much more. These stories lead to a connection and a positive experience for our Apricot Lane shoppers and they know they can always come to our store and find a friend and a perfect outfit for any event. We want to be the go-to for the mom, teacher, real estate agent, workout fanatic, etc in Fort Mill, Tega Cay, Rock Hill, and all surrounding areas.”

Jackie Kimbrell and family. Photos by Simona Walters.

Do you work with anyone locally here in the greater Charlotte market?

“Yes, we partner and collaborate with other small businesses. As a small locally owned business, it is imperative to lean on and partner with other businesses. We have had the pleasure of highlighting multiple local vendors in the Fort Mill area. We do pop-ups at several local community events and offer discounts to members of several surrounding small businesses. We build each other up and share ideas to help drive clientele traffic and awareness for each other's various businesses.  I have also had the opportunity to work with a few local influencers who do a wonderful job sharing information about Apricot Lane Fort Mill as your ‘go-to’ boutique.”

What advice would you give to other people considering starting their own business?

“While I am very new to owning my own business, I suggest you choose something that doesn't feel like a job. It makes it easier when times are tough and more rewarding when you succeed. Waking up each day and not feeling dread of going to work is an amazing feeling. Also, investigate a variety of aspects that may affect your business such as the weather, surrounding businesses, traffic patterns, and even stop lights. I never would have thought that Mother Nature would have a part in my success. You will feel like you want to give up at times and you will be on cloud nine one minute and possibly crying the next.”

Tell us about your fashion sense.

“I have an eye for fashion and I am open-minded to ever-changing styles. Since opening Apricot Lane Fort Mill, I have learned a tremendous amount about fashion, retail, and consumers. One thing I have seen is that consumers seem to have emotional connections with celebrity endorsements and social media experiences. However, those are usually fast fashion and are not sustainable for small clothing boutiques.” 

Have you always loved clothing and fashion?

“Yes, of course. I always wanted to have the latest trends in my closet and loved to see what was next.”

What is it about fashion that speaks to you?

“The differences in fashion from coast to coast are interesting to me.  What customers want in Montana won't be the same as what they want in Florida, New York, Texas, or South Carolina.”

Where do you get your fashion inspiration?

“I’m mostly inspired by magazines, the internet, and Pinterest.”

How do you decide on new styles or collections?

“Keeping up with the trends that align with the customer is how I decide on collections.”

How do you select what clothing, accessories, and goods to offer?

“I get to know who my customer is, what season it is, and what is the next thing she will need in her closet.”

How would you describe the Apricot Lane Fort Mill style?

“Traditional clothing with a slight southern edge best describes our style.”

Is there anything new or upcoming at Apricot Lane Fort Mill this year that we should know about?

“We are focusing for 2024 on connecting more with other local entrepreneurs and fulfilling our goal of having a heart for community and an eye for fashion.”

What are your favorite pieces for this Spring?

“For spring, my favorites are dresses, dresses, and more dresses.”

What are some of the “must-watch” trends right now?

“Pantone’s color of the year was announced as Peach Fuzz which we will correlate to Apricot Fuzz. The warmth of Apricot Fuzz is embraced through our desire to nurture ourselves and others. It's a velvety gentle peach tone that can easily be infused into contemporary edge and traditional styles. We will incorporate Apricot Fuzz with some warmer pastels of lilac and blue. Metallics were strong for the holiday, but they will continue in the spring. It’s taking on a more sophisticated and hard intensity paired with feminine and white. This is a whole new look for spring.  Of course, white, white, and white which bring a crisp appearance to every outfit. It’s a great neutral, transitioning into spring, just changing your black bottom to white. Spring fashion has experienced some change with less focus on printed styles, and a greater emphasis on textured fabrics, so prints are not the main focus. We will also see more large-scale images which are extracted to resonate as a graphic. Then, there is denim. Denim will continue to be an investment that is projected to continue to grow year over year.  We know southern ladies have particular preferences and we also know that others have moved to Fort Mill from other areas around the country, so we strive to curate multiple options for everyone.” 

Jackie Kimbrell, owner of Apricot Lane Fort Mill photographed by Simona Walters.

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A team of staff writers at The Mill Magazine work closely together to provide fresh content on topics we find interesting and hope you do, too.