Pink Hanger Is A Boutique Made With The Quintessential Charlottean in Mind

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The Pink Hanger is a staple of Charlotte’s burgeoning style scene, a fashion-forward, contemporary boutique nestled in the Cotswald neighborhood. It’s a bright, airy space with wood floors and racks of brightly colored clothes against the walls. If it looks cozy, that’s because it is in fact something of a second home and haven for owner Whitney Avishar.

Whitney is a force, and the type of shop owner you hope for when stepping inside a locally-owned business: She’s bubbly and involved, present for each customer who steps inside, and, naturally, she clearly knows more than a thing or two about women’s clothing. That’s what lights Whitney up – helping her clients, and spreading her fashion expertise wide and far.

“The best compliments I’ve gotten throughout the years are from customers who self-admittedly hate shopping and trying on clothes, but love it when they come to us,” Whitney says. “We genuinely love putting together outfits for people and helping them find their style.”

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Whitney, who grew up on the west coast of Florida, moved to Charlotte with her husband after college. Both had careers in the banking world. In many ways, Avishar has been witness to some of Charlotte’s biggest moments, watching it evolve over the past two decades – “It was such a different city back then,” she muses. Choosing to leave corporate America and open up The Pink Hanger allowed Avishar to add to the fabric of the city herself at an opportune moment.

Avishar answered some of our biggest questions about everything from business ownership to style influencers.

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Have you always loved clothing and fashion?
Yes!  I grew up the child of parents who were in the retail/buying world, so I have many memories of sitting in on vendor meetings at a young age.  When I opened The Pink Hanger ten years ago, I saw a need for a boutique where the primary focus was customer service and making each person feel valued.  My family has always had a very entrepreneurial spirit so they really encouraged me and helped give me the confidence to make it happen.

Tell us about the process of starting the business.
When we first opened the doors in 2007, I had two employees and my hubby was one of them (laughs). I worked seven days a week, and never wanted a customer to come in the store and not get my personal attention. It was such an amazing time and I loved every minute of it, even though I was living on coffee fumes.  Now that I have two young kids, I’m only here three days a week. It’s still my first baby, so I try to give it as much love as I can, but I am super lucky to have an incredible team of women who help me run the store. I literally couldn’t do this without them.

What inspired the name “The Pink Hanger”?  
I wish this answer was more exciting!  It was kind of a gut reaction; my hubby and I had a very clean, masculine inspired home at the time and I just wanted a girly outlet. I envisioned blush pink walls and pink hangers for the clothing, and that was it!

How has the shop evolved over the years?
When we opened, we had no idea who our customer would be.  We had a little bit of every trend and also a wide range of prices. I loved discovering new designers and introducing them to our city. Sometimes the risk paid off, and other times it was a bit of “well, that wasn’t well received!”  The recession hit about 6 months after we opened our doors. A lot of our fellow boutiques were closing up shop and it terrified me. We regrouped, focused on a few core brands that had history and staying power, and then also searched out lines that were a lower price point so our customers wouldn’t feel guilty about shopping. Once Charlotte and the economy recovered, we were in a great position to pull in higher-end designers again and expand our breadth into shoes and other accessories we hadn’t carried previously.

How would you describe the fashion scene in Charlotte?
I love how far we’ve come in terms of the fashion scene here.  I’m constantly inspired by the street style I see and even by my fellow mommies at carpool!  I think women in the south tend to take fashion very seriously. Even if they are not ready for the edgiest, most-trendy styles on the runway, they are always focused on what is new for the season and how they can incorporate it.  We love having our customers ask us what we are seeing at market and what new styles they can anticipate. I think the blogging scene here has really contributed to that. There are so many fantastic local bloggers who are making fashion a part of the daily conversation.

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Fashion moves so quickly – where do you get inspiration from?
Fashion is such an attainable, daily experience now. Gone are the days when you would anxiously await the new version of InStyle Magazine to see what the new trends are. I love looking up outfit inspirations on Pinterest, perusing blogger feeds on Instagram, watching live feeds of fashion shows….you can almost go into over-exposure from all the options!  Some of my favorite fashion influencers are Arielle Charnas (Something Navy) & Leandra Cohen (Man Repeller).

As Charlotte continues to expand, where do you see The Pink Hanger in the next few years?
For now we are going to stay a one-location store. Our biggest focus is on our customers, and I don’t want to dilute our product, so to speak.  I see us updating the store, but staying true to our customers and the community that has supported us for the past 10 years.