Collegetown in Tallahassee, Florida is home to one of my favorite boutiques: Tally and Fin. This boutique was founded in 2019 by Kaylyn, Tiffany and Hannah. It started as a small bikini boutique and slowly progressed to what it is now: the go-to spot for affordable and stylish clothes for women at Florida State University. They have also recently added a coffee bar, Deja Brew, so trust me when I say it truly is the spot in Collegetown. After being a satisfied and frequent customer myself, I got the wonderful opportunity to sit down with co-owner Hannah Lewis and talk to her about some of the behind-the-scenes as well as her goals for the shop. Keep reading to find out what gives Tally and Fin its spark.
Her Campus (HC): On your website’s “about us” tab, we can read a little bit about the business, but do you mind telling us your side of the story?
Hannah Lewis (HL): Kind of random, but it is all owned by the same people as BB Studios. So, I worked for my business partner Tiffany since senior year of college for a couple of years managing the studio and I was here since we moved locations. About a year and a half after I graduated from FSU, I was looking for a job because I wanted to get out of here. A client of ours at BB plus, Kaylyn, who heads the hair over there, and Tiffany decided to come together and start a business. They wanted to bring me on, which I know was their way of getting me to stay here. We have a couple of ideas before a boutique. We talked about a workout place, a food cafe and then we finally landed on a bikini store.
We couldn’t do clothing because there was another clothing store, and if you don’t know anything about Collegetown, they like to keep things different. No two restaurants are the same and as long as we are here, there won’t be another clothing boutique like us. Since there was another boutique, we got around it by making it a bikini boutique. It just kind of blossomed from there. Once the other boutique wanted to leave, we expanded BB studios with a tanning space, and at Tally and Fin, we expanded our merchandise. There is one more owner, but he is a silent partner. Kaylyn, Tiffany and I are the more hands-on, in-person partners.
HC: How did you guys come up with that name? Does it have a deeper meaning?
HL: Tiffany always liked the idea of having the name be “something and something.” The inspiration came from the brand “Emma and Sam,” the sister brand of LF. They reached out to me while I was doing an internship in L.A., and when I told Tiffany about the opportunity, she said she liked those ideas for the name. So, we just started spitballing name ideas. I came up with the idea of maybe doing Tally and something since everyone calls Tallahassee ‘Tally.’ My name got thrown into the mix, but I didn’t like that. Someone, I can’t remember who, came up with the idea of ‘Fin’ since we were doing bathing suits at the time, and funnily enough, we were eating sushi when having this conversation, and Tally and Fin just happened. There is no deeper meaning, it was literally all done through brainstorming.
HC: What was the inspiration or reasoning behind adding a coffee bar attached to the store?
HL: You’ll hear Tiff say that she wanted to create a shopping experience. It’s a destination. There is no coffee on our street since Brooklyn Bagels closed. So, then everyone was saying how there was no coffee. The closest place is Catalina, and they roast and filled the kegs for us. So that is kind of how coffee came into play. It is another way to get income besides people getting clothing. If someone can’t spend the money on clothing now, everyone wants coffee in the morning, especially students. We’re under an apartment complex so it makes sense. It made sense to choose coffee too because of places like Ralph Lauren in New York and Alo Yoga in Miami. It isn’t a weird or new concept.
HC: I see that you guys renovated the store. Do you see Tally and Fin growing even more, maybe expanding to other cities, or do you wish to keep it local?
HL: I would prefer to just keep it local. If somebody did come to us and said they wanted to do all the work and open it somewhere else and we’d still be the owners, I wouldn’t be opposed to it. This is the third space that we’ve created and even though it was a headache, it was so much fun to do. It’s hard to keep it trendy but not too trendy to where it becomes outdated. All my friends want me to open one back home, but I am aware that boutiques like these would not do well in every town.
HC: What are your future goals and hopes for Tally and Fin?
HL: I want us to be one of the biggest online retailers. We started our own clothing line too, so we have some of those pieces there now, but it is a lot to juggle. I want us to be like Princess Polly and Edikted, but better. We try to keep it a wide range for everyone but in-store, we will keep everything closely related to FSU.
As you can probably tell, Hannah’s passion for Tally and Fin is unmatched. Please support your local businesses as much as you can so places like these can continue to exist and be successful. Whether you are looking for game-day apparel, afternoon cold brew, or accessories, Tally and Fin is your one-stop shop.