Raleigh, N.C. — Kayla Brewer sits proudly in Voda's beautiful interior, excitedly talking about her favorite clothes and trends, her commitment to promoting comfort and confidence in her customers, and her adorable French bulldog, Hank.
The North Carolina native grew up in the tiny town of Star, and owning a boutique has been her dream since childhood. "From a very young age I have always loved fashion," said Brewer. "I remember sitting on my bedroom floor dressing and styling by dolls -- just being really into clothes. I loved sitting by my grandmother, watching her sew and helping her pick out patterns. The fabrication was just so fun for me as a little girl."
By age 15, Brewer knew her dream was to attend North Carolina State University to learn more about fashion and brand marketing. "After graduation, I worked on a product development team at Belk, helping to launch a private brand," said Brewer. "I learned so much there."
After a few years in the corporate world, Brewer left Belk to manage a trendy clothing boutique in Charlotte. "That gave me the confidence I needed to own my own store," said Brewer. By October 2016, she knew returning to Raleigh was the right move.
"I love what downtown Raleigh is doing with retail," said Brewer. "It's becoming more of a destination for for shopping, and I'm excited to be a part of that revolution."
After months of hard work and planning, Voda's doors opened on June 2. The thoughtfully decorated, spacious, well-lit boutique is located at 725 Tucker St. in a new apartment building.
Shelves and hangers of distinctive, trendy clothing and accessories line Voda's walls, and Brewer said it's her goal to sell products for diverse styles and budgets.
"The Voda girl is a lot of girls," said Brewer. "We have a little bit of boho and sophistication and also a lot of trendy and edgy styles. I want to provide products for everyone."
Whether shoppers are picking up comfy loungewear or a special occasion dress, the pieces in Voda are all incredibly distinct -- and Brewer said the fun patterns, fabrics and designs she selects for the boutique are definitely for a "trend-conscious" customer.
"I wanted to find trends that aren't necessarily being represented in Raleigh right now," she said, referencing brands like Blank NYC, Moon River, Buddy Love and For Love & Lemons.
All the items sold in Voda are hand-selected by Brewer based on what she knows is tried and true -- most of the brands can be found in her own closet!
"Selling high-quality, comfortable clothes is important to me," said Brewer says as she holds up a pair of unbelievably soft dyed sweatpants. "I also try to have a good price range for everyone's budget -- the bulk of Voda's clothing assortment is in the $50 to $150 price range."
Although Voda is a great "stop-in" boutique, Brewer has worked to create an atmosphere perfect for special-occasion shopping with friends and family.
Beautiful, spacious fitting rooms and a rosé wine bar provide a comfortable, luxurious shopping experience for first date outfits, soon-to-be-brides or mother-daughter shopping excursions.
Dogs are even welcome inside Voda, which is made obvious by a sign outside the storefront. "I love dogs," said Brewer. "In my mind, dogs are welcome everywhere. But a lot of people walk by everyday with their dogs, and I wanted to make sure they knew they could still come inside. They can even take them off the leash, have some water and play with Hank's toys."
And, with a variety of creative, high-fashion styles and colorful, sparkly, or distressed graphic tees, sweats, flats and sneakers, skirts, shorts and funky dresses, shopping for outfits and statement pieces at Voda couldn't be more fun. "I really love making people feel good," said Brewer. "I believe that if you look good and feel good it will shine through in your personality and your confidence will be through the roof. That's why I wanted to do this."
Grand opening Saturday
On Saturday, Voda will host a grand opening party featuring giveaways, mocktails, hair braiding, treats, a jewelry truck show and more from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.