Imagine you’re shopping for Christmas presents for sisters, moms, girlfriends. You stumble upon a boutique you’ve never shopped. Fashions in the window catch your eye, so you wander in. The first thing you hear are two lovely women, Kelley and Michele, obviously shopping with sweaters and necklaces in hand, saying, “This is such a fun store!” “I’ll drive back from Durham to shop here!” “I love this hat!” It makes you wonder what’s going on.
This was my experience at Splentique, and I will tell you, I’ll be back, too. I bought two gifts and had the pleasure of chatting with owner and retail diva Regina Stiltner—I learned a lot. “It took me several personal life changes and challenges to realize that life is too short…that we need to lean into our passion,” Regina told me. “This business, Splentique, is a result of knowing that time is our greatest gift, family is who we are, and community is where we live.”
A BIT OF HISTORY
Regina’s story is impressive. She has been in the retail industry for over 20 years, wearing many hats with large and small companies. She started as a sales associate in high school with a family-owned business that eventually became a 300+ store chain, Body Central. She worked her way into management, moving to Asheville and Charlotte. Later, “I went to the Art Institute of Charlotte focusing on interior design,” she said, “but actually ended up back with Body Central in many roles—from district manager, learning and development, and finally in marketing as the head of visual merchandising for that brand.” Those roles took her from North Carolina to Pennsylvania and then to Jacksonville, Florida. She eventually moved back to Hickory, bringing her experience to Talbot’s, a fine women’s clothing retailer where she was district director for over 20 stores. “I learned so much about working with customers and employees—building brand loyalty—I got a lot from that experience.”
Regina’s passion however is in buying, merchandising, visual, marketing—the creative side of retail. Her passion also lies with her family. This was when Regina’s epiphany moment happened. “I was a busy working mom, traveling with long hours, very involved in my work, but when my son, Gavin, was born premature, and when Gary and I had to spend so much time with him in the NICU, I learned how precious time really is,” Regina shared. “I knew I needed to change my life and find ways to make a difference in the world. Being faced with what is truly important, that changed me.”
After a deep family brainstorming session with her husband, Gary, and daughter, Taylor, Regina put the idea of an online store out to the universe, but, “after giving that a try, nothing happened,” she said. “I’m used to brick and mortar—I was out of my comfort zone. Long story short, I started out by hosting in-home parties and got valuable feedback watching what women looked at, what they touched, what they tried on.” From parties to pop-up events, traveling mini-stores, barn sales, and learning from other entrepreneurs who were marketing this way, Regina saw her experience and ideas all merging into her first store in downtown Hickory. And the rest, as they say, is history.
“If you’re in business for the right reasons and realize that your product is just a moment in time—something bought and sold—then your mission becomes your focus, really,” Regina explained. “This store allows me to reflect on everything I’ve learned and to share that with others—my employees, my customers, and the community. It’s very satisfying, and I love it all!”
STYLE IS A LIFESTYLE
“Taylor actually came up with Splentique,” Regina said. “She felt it says it all—Splendid-Boutique. Taylor’s in 8th grade now, she loves to draw, loves playing piano and guitar with her sister Zoey, and best of all, she helps me a lot.” Indeed, Splentique is a beautiful boutique and fanciful gift gallery. The displays are whimsical, artistic, and many are hand-made. In fact, re-designing and fashioning the interiors was a labor of love. With sunny windows, hardwood floors, and rustic details, you’ll enjoy being there.
Enter through Shoppes on the Square at 246 Union Square and begin a shopping spree for stylish, unique women’s and teen’s clothing, accessories, jewelry, and gifts you will want to share. Regina carries lovely items I’ve never seen anywhere else.
“A huge part of my mission is to create a store with heart, a brand with soul and character,” Regina said with a smile, “to do a little good in the world helping women feel great and look amazing. So, with that in mind, much of our inventory is what I call hyper-local…we source many lines from the greater Hickory area’s artisans, clothing designers, and jewelers.” She showed me several local brands: Kim Crawford’s Studio 6212 jewelry is one of a kind, statement pieces to spark any outfit. Audrey’s Wood & Buttons’ handcrafted makeup bags, rice eye masks infused with lavender, coffee sleeves, essential oil holders, and more. And, Wendy & Company’s gifts and treasures for all our babies: infants and the fur-type. Beanies for the entire family—perfect for family photoshoots—bibs, blankets, and paci-clips for little ones and collars, plus fun leashes and bandanas for the four-legged.
On the fashion side, be prepared to love what you see. Regina’s sense of style and artistry have filled the store with so much to feel, smell, love, and try on. “I believe you can’t get enough of basics…tunics and long-sleeved tees, tanks, and sweaters with accessories done in fun ways,” she said. “When I select trends, I like to put a spin on it—like little bits of cheetah and leopard tastefully placed, just a touch of fringe, or a well-done mix of prints, paisleys, and dots—relevant but classic.”
All-in-all, you’ll find everything from eco-friendly metal and silicone straws in cases, inspirational bracelets, belly-laugh funny tees, funky local art, soaps, bath & body, and candles in glitter, folksy chic, and truly unique. Fashion-wise, in sizes to suit most, look for kimonos, lingerie and slippers, denim, dresses, outerwear, tops and bottoms, shoes, boots, bags, beanies, headwraps, and hats…plus fashion jewelry to pull everything together. I recommend visiting the website, www.splentique.net, where you can browse and order online with ease and within your budget. You’ll get a good sense of why you want to stop by, too!
AN INSPIRING TEAM
“I can’t do this alone. I need to be with people who inspire me,” Regina said, “and my team is part of my core values. Abby Killian, Cortney McCall, Abby Adams, Caitlyn Williams, Briana Hollar, and of course, Gary, Gavin, Taylor, and Zoey each and all make this business what it is…their talents are perfectly suited for this little enterprise of ours.” You can meet the team at the December 12th Sip & Shop from 11 am to 8 pm…do a little gift shopping, too.
Splentique’s value of giving back is seen in the team’s work with March of Dimes, Relay for Life, the Humane Society, Children’s Advocacy Center, and local schools and churches. “Together, we select which charities we’ll work with, where we’ll put our heart and soul,” Regina said, “just our way of doing a bit of good in this world because it’s the right thing to do.”
I heartily recommend you put Splentique on your list of places to shop this holiday season and throughout the year. Like Kelley and Michele said, “It’s a fun place to shop!”
Splentique Fashion Boutique
246 Union Square NW
Hickory NC 28601