Editor's note: Muncie Origins is a Ball State Daily News series profiling various businesses that originated in Muncie.
Amanda Hughes, owner of Forever Young Children’s Boutique, has always known she was a business woman at heart.
“As a small child, I sold crafts and things that I would make up and sell around my neighborhood,” Hughes said. “Before opening the store, I hadn’t had any experience actually running a business.”
Although Hughes had never actually ran a business herself, her previous experiences prepared her for the challenge. She worked for a manufacturer, where she gained customer service experience, and she worked for the Minnetrista, where she got experience in hospitality and events. She then went on to obtain a business management degree from Anderson University and returned to Muncie in 2016 to begin her business life at the children’s boutique.
“I never imagined what my business would be until I had children myself and decided that my hometown needed a boutique for kiddos," Hughes said. “Having my own really helped me see a vision.”
Supporting local charities and giving back to the community has always been something that was important to Hughes, and she knew she wanted to incorporate it into her business since the beginning. The children’s boutique donates to four different charities.
“Our hometown is important and the uprising of our downtown is important," Hughes said. “We currently support the Women's Mission with donations, First Choice for Women, Bridges Community services, and The Foster Closet. All of these missions are important to the women and children of this community.”
As the owner of the brick and mortar, Hughes keeps herself busy with endless responsibilities. While it may seem like it never ends, Amanda said she loves it and “wouldn't have it any other way.”
“I am the manager, store designer, buyer, point of sale associate, e-commerce manager, cleaning lady and all," Hughes said. "It never ends, but I love it so much I wouldn't have it any other way. I enjoy everything I do.”
Forever Young Children’s Boutique has many loyal customers, one being a local grandmother, Roberta Smith, who says her favorite part about shopping at the boutique is the uniqueness of the clothing.
“A lot of the brands sold at the children’s boutique are unique items, so you can’t find them in any regular retail store," Smith said. “The style of the clothing is just different. It’s not something that you see everywhere. I shop for my granddaughter and not every little girl I see has on that line of clothing."
Smith said her first time going into Forever Young Boutique was a fun experience. She had nothing but positive things to say about the owner.
“I think the owner, Amanda, makes this store feel very unique,” Smith said. “She puts a personal touch on everything she sells and she gives recommendations that I wouldn't get at a big box retailer.”