Fashion merchandising student ‘dolls up’ clients with self-started boutique

Many students go through college to prepare for their journey into the professional world. For sophomore fashion merchandising major Samantha Humphrey, that journey has already begun.

Humphrey is the founder and owner of the Barbwire Barbie Boutique, located online and inside the Curves at 279 State Highway 75 N in Huntsville. Barbwire Barbie is a southern-inspired boutique that sells fashionable clothes for juniors and women, sporting selections such as dresses, boots, handbags and accessories.

Humphrey has a great love for fashion and has envisioned herself as a boutique owner her entire life. She said her upbringing had a positive influence on her.

“I have grown up shopping at boutiques and I have always dreamt of owning my own,” Humphrey said. “Both of my parents are business owners so I have had great role models growing up of how to run a successful business.”

She said these influences ultimately led to the creation of Barbwire Barbie.

“While I was working at my dad’s office one day, it occurred to me that if I wanted to own a boutique there was no time like the present to make that dream a reality,” Humphrey said. “It was that moment when I decided to launch the Facebook and Instagram page for my boutique.”

Humphrey’s personal style and country roots inspired not only the clothing that is sold at her boutique but also the name of her business.

“I knew that my boutique would always have southern country roots just like me,” Humphrey said. “Like many other girls, I also love the Barbie brand – both her image and what she stands for. One of the things I love about Barbie is how diverse her clothing options are and how she always is dressed for the occasion. I started thinking of words that rhymed with Barbie and also had a southern twang. That’s when I thought of ‘barbwire.’ I put them together and bam, ‘Barbwire Barbie’ was born with the perfect amount of sass, class and a southern twist.”

Humphrey said juggling her academic and business responsibilities is often difficult.

“At times I feel like I am not managing, but it is really just a balancing act combined with a lot of support from family and friends,” Humphrey said. “Being a fashion merchandising major is also a huge help because I am able to relate much of my schoolwork to the boutique.”

Running a business may be something Humphrey loves but it is not always easy, she said.

“Owning a business is not all rainbows and butterflies, otherwise everyone would be doing it,” Humphrey said. “Each day presents its own challenges as the boutique and I grow together. I find that the things that used to be difficult to me are not anymore but that there are new difficulties every day.  If I had to pin-point one thing that is the most difficult part about running my own business, [it is] is all the paperwork that comes along with it.”

Despite the many obstacles, Humphrey is extremely passionate about running her business and hopes to continue Barbwire Barbie after college and beyond.

“I wake up everyday and just think to myself, ‘You are one day closer to graduating and after that you can chase your dream all day, every day,’” Humphrey said. “I can not wait to see what the future has in store for Barbwire Barbie and I.”

Humphrey believes her business is preparing her for future career endeavors and eventually wishes to expand outside of the Curves owned by her mom, city councilwoman Tish Humphrey.

“I am not one to rush into the future,” Humphrey said. “I like to live in the moment, but I find myself often wondering what the future holds as far as Barbwire Barbie is concerned. I am optimistic that upon graduating from SHSU, I will be able to give Barbwire Barbie roots and open up its first brick and mortar store.”

Humphrey said running a small business is a learning process and that anyone looking to start their own business should begin small and seek advice from other business owners.

“I wish someone would have told me when I was starting out to take baby steps,” Humphrey said. “Talk to someone that owns a business in the field that you are wanting to go into and pick their brain as much as possible. Remember, you have to walk before you can run.”

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