To look at what Savannah Vonada sells at her Peppered Skye Boutique, it’s hard to believe she once was a banker, but it was her banking career that allowed her to start her eclectic online store.
Now, she’s taking that store to Revolutsia in what will make the fourth space for the Garages retail incubator program.
“The theme is neon eclectic,” Vonada said. “We’re talking, like, bright.”
She’s not yet sharing pictures of the new space, which is at Central and Volutsia just east of Grove, but there will be at least one wall covered in fur.
“I’m a very, very bright, bubbly, outgoing woman, and you’ll see that reflected in the store,” Vonada said.
Her women’s clothing and accessories reflect that, too.
“Witty humor is a huge part of it,” Vonada said.
That includes clothing, bags, kitchen towels and posters with fun and funny sayings.
The clothing comes in extended sizes.
“That’s something I really try to pride myself in,” Vonada said.
She said she believes color generates emotions and feelings, so that’s a big part of her store and product line as well.
“My goal is really when people come in, they leave with a piece of me.”
Vonada was a manager at Fidelity Bank during the pandemic, and she said the bank generously incentivized its essential workers, and she used that money to start her online boutique.
“I really was able to test the market with all the women that I worked with, and it was really, really rewarding,” she said.
The store had customers from 32 states.
“It was really successful.”
It was hard to juggle two careers, though, so Vonada left the bank. She began doing shows in person and meeting customers for the first time, such as at the Women’s Fair last year. She said it was incredible to see customers experience her collection “and see it basically just fly off the racks.”
The experience gives her confidence to open a store, and Vonada said the incubator program is an opportunity to further test the market and elevate her concept.
The Wichita Foundation via funds from the Knight Foundation supports the incubator program, as does Fidelity Bank.
The other incubator spaces are the new Blush Bookstore at the original incubator space called the Garage at Cleveland Corner at First and Cleveland; 2 Beatz Boutique at Fidelity Bank’s Rise Car Park on Market between Waterman and English; and the new Las Adelitas Cafe by Esperanza Coffee Roasters at the Lux at First and Market.
Peppered Skye Boutique will have a soft opening May 3 to 5 and a grand opening on May 6 and 7. For now, it will be in a small shipping container next to where Little Lion Cafe used to be.
Vonada said her goal is to continue to expand the store, which she named after her rescue dogs, Pepper, a boxer, and Skye, a blue pit bull.
The store carries a line called Kindness & Confetti with graphic T-shirts featuring dogs, and Vonada will donate 10% of the annual sales to the Kansas Humane Society.
She said it’s not a big stretch to go from a more staid banking career to one in which she’s selling a lot of funky and even flamboyant items. Vonada said it’s all about helping people, especially if her clothing can bring confidence to shoppers.
“Any capacity that I can help people, it doesn’t really matter the job title.”