I often find myself going down an Instagram rabbit hole when I can’t sleep. One such night I stumbled upon VIDA MOULIN and immediately fell in love. Today I’m so excited to welcome the owner, Chantell Moulin Nighswonger, to the next installment of my spotlight on local creatives and businesses here in Phoenix. Not only does Chantell have great style, she’s super friendly and sweet. Visiting her boutique is like chatting with a friend!
Me: How did you decide to open a storefront boutique?
Chantell: I grew up a boutique shopper and thrived on finding brands that everyone else wasn’t wearing. I dreamed of one day curating my own selection of unique brands for a shop of my own. Moving to L.A. and later San Francisco, my love for local boutiques only grew as I was surrounded by them. In addition, I fell in love with concept stores, where boutiques did not simply sell one thing. I had always wondered why Arizona did not have similar types of retail destinations. VIDA MOULIN was built on this idea and brings together my love for fashion and interior design into one space.
Me: What is your background? How did it help you to open your own business?
Chantell: Before VIDA MOULIN, I spent 7 years in the PR and Digital Marketing industry, most recently running marketing communications at JanSport in the bay area. I have to admit while picking out the beautiful clothes and home items is certainly fun, I truly love the time I get to spend building marketing plans for the shop, from in store events to photoshoots to social media promotion. My background definitely has been a huge driver of the business!
Me: What is the inspiration behind the name, VIDA MOULIN? And how do you pronounce it?
Chantell: I’m half Mexican and fluent in Spanish which is where the word vida (life in Spanish) comes from. Moulin (pronounced like the movie Moulin Rouge) is my maiden name and my mother’s Maiden name. My mother is an only child so the name would not be passed down through her and when my Grandfather was diagnosed with cancer, (he unfortunately passed away last month) I decided to have the name forever live with my business. He lived his life as an entrepreneur and the fact that I was starting my own business, made him very proud.
Me: What is a typical day for you?
Chantell: Morning cuddles with my cat and husband, open the store at 10 am, usually process, unpack, steam and merchandise inventory, there’s probably at least 3 hours dispersed throughout the day I spend on our social media channels (planning, posting, engaging), close the store at 7 pm, evening cuddles with my cat and husband, then I spend about 2-3 hours simply answering emails from the day or uploading new product to www.vidamoulin.com and then I finally make it to bed around 11 pm.
Me: The photography for your look books and website is gorgeous. How did you determine it was an investment you wanted to make in your business?
Chantell: How sweet! Thank you! Honestly, conceptualizing photoshoots and coordinating everything from the photographer, models, locations, looks is what gets me giddy and makes me excited to open the shop everyday. It certainly is a time and money investment but we live in a visual world and if you’re not first thinking visually and how the world absorbs your brand/business through visuals, then you will certainly fall behind.
Me: What’s the biggest challenge of running your own business?
Chantell: Feeling the need to please everyone. I often struggle with choosing product as I truly want everyone to be able to find something they could fall in love with in the shop. Whether it’s the perfect dress for an event or a candle for a hostess gift…. the struggle is real! There are definitely products I have brought in that have totally bombed and there others, that I questioned bringing in, that have been a huge success, so it’s all a big learning curve for me and I, honestly, can’t wait for 2017 so I can take all of these learnings and apply them.
Me: I saw a sneak peek of the Moulin Makers Series. Can you tell us more about this upcoming collaboration?
Chantell: Yes! This has been something that has been in the works almost since we opened. I love the idea of bringing local makers into the store but I had a difficult time of relaying the message of local and quality to customers. I thought, what if I brought several local makers together for one large collaboration? That’s when the Moulin Makers Series was created. Every season, the shop will launch a collection of home products that tells one cohesive color story, created by a group of local makers, each specializing in their own category. People can follow the collection with the hashtag #MoulinMakersAZ, launching August 25 with a launch party on the 27th.
Me: Other than VIDA MOULIN, what are your favorite places to shop?
Chantell: Honestly, since returning to AZ from SF and jumping right into the shop, I have very little time now to shop! But if I can spare some time I always visit all of the antique and consignment shops on 7th Ave in the Melrose district. I also love urbAna in Arcadia for entertainment ware and T. Madison in Chandler for it’s beautifully curated selection of accessories.
Me: What is your favorite vacation you’ve been on?
Chantell: Oh my, I used to be quite the traveler before the store so that’s a hard question but for sure, Amsterdam, is our favorite vacation destination. My husband and I dream of moving there in 10 years or so.
Thank you so much Chantell!
All photos courtesy of VIDA MOULIN