The Wildflower Boutique moved into the former Northwoods Music building at 1608 Tower Ave. this spring, holding a grand opening in June.
The shop, open Wednesday through Saturday, offers a rotating variety of styles for women in sizes small to 3X. Owner Tiffany Simons described the pieces as cute, casual everyday wear that can also be dressed up.
Simons launched the business in her hometown of Hibbing, Minnesota, in 2017 and moved to a Duluth storefront near the Stone Ridge Shopping Mall, a few doors down from Austin-Jarrow Sports, in 2020.
A statewide mandate in November that shut down in-person sales for restaurants and bars in Minnesota drove home the fact that businesses are intertwined.
“It was almost overnight that we lost pretty much all of our in-store shopping sales,” Simons said. “So we cut back on hours. And then we did a lot more sales online. And thankfully, due to the community and the group that we’ve grown, it just got exponentially busy at the beginning of this year.”
She attributed that to a concentrated effort to keep small businesses going.
"I feel like people really realized the value of shopping local, when they realized that you really have to be able to support these small businesses for them to continue through stuff like last year," Simons said. "So I think in the backside of it, it kind of grew our business because people really wanted to support (us)."
The pandemic also caused her clothing lines to shift from dressier pieces to comfortable at-home wear that looks good for going out on the town. New pieces arrive weekly and are featured on daily Facebook posts.
When the lease was up on the Duluth shop, Simons made the decision to cross the bridge to Superior. The footprint of the Tower Avenue space is double that of the Duluth shop, with a separate storage area and office. That has allowed Simons to expand, purchase more product and add more variety to the racks. It’s also in a high-visibility spot.
“This is a lot nicer, in general, location-wise,” Simons said. “You can’t not find it. You say ‘in between the Flame and Pizza Man on Tower Avenue.’ It’s like, boom, there’s only one place it could be.”
Online sales make up the bulk of business at The Wildflower Boutique — up to 90% — but that could be changing.
“Even just going from Duluth to Superior, the business has picked up like crazy,” Simons said, through word of mouth and social media shoutouts from local business owners.
In a way, it’s been a return to her small-town roots.
“It was nice to see that with this community, that it’s very much a family-type feeling once you come to town here,” Simons said.
She sees the fact that other boutiques are opening and expanding in the city as a positive for all.
“I think variety is what gets people to get out and actually shop," Simons said, and it can turn Superior into a shopping destination.
The Duluth woman has a passion for clothes.
“It’s been something that brings a lot of joy and a lot of happiness to my life,” Simons said, especially when she hears from customers who find the clothes boost their confidence or let them express themselves.