Meet Ryleigh Fleming, Owner of Wildflower Boutique

Ryleigh Fleming is the new owner of Wildflower Boutique in Five Points. Wildflower Boutique specializes in trendy, stylish clothes with a vintage feel. Originally from a small town in Alabama, Ryleigh moved here to keep Columbia, SC on trend, and like a wildflower, grow in the most unexpected places.

HCSC: You mentioned you were from Alabama. Why did you move to Columbia?

Ryleigh Fleming: I moved here with my family almost 5 years ago. My dad is in the army and was stationed here.

HCSC: How did you become the new owner of Wildflower Boutique?

RF: This time last year I was let go from my job at a different boutique here in Columbia with no reason or notice. I interviewed with a few boutiques over the course of 6 months and nothing seemed to work out. A friend of mine reached out and told me that Wildflower Boutique was hiring, so I went in to talk to Karley Vehaun and she hired me on the spot. After working at Wildflower for three months, the previous owner, Karley Vehaun decided to sell the store to me. I decided to keep the name but wanted to make a few changes to fit my style and make it feel more like my own.

HCSC: Since you are currently in the process of rebranding Wildflower Boutique, how do you plan on accomplishing that?

RF: You will notice that the clothing style has changed a little bit. You will start seeing more edgy, trendy styles in the store. Fashion is constantly changing, and I plan to stay up to date on the latest trends and always keep the store fashion forward and unique to Columbia.

HCSC: What is the inspiration for Wildflower Boutique?

RF: I get a lot of inspiration for the store from the West Coast. Most of the brands I carry are out of LA., even the store itself has lots of cacti and rustic pieces. I follow a lot of Australian brands. They’re a season ahead, their fashion is a season ahead too, so it helps me stay up to date on the newest trends and styles.

HCSC: Do you have any advice to girls that want to own a store one day?

RF: For any girls that want to own their own boutique, I would just say go for it! It’s a dream come true for me and I love coming to work every day. It’s a lot of hard work, be ready to work all day, every day. Since I just took over in October, I’ve been the only person working. I run/do everything by myself. It’s really hard and very stressful at times, but it’s possible and definitely worth it.

HCSC: What is your favorite part about owning a store?

RF: Owning this store is a dream come true. It allows me to do all of my favorite things. I love styling outfits and helping customers look and feel good. I enjoy visual merchandising as well. It’s so fun getting a big shipment in and creating a new color story or theme for a rack. Putting together and styling photo shoots is fun too. And, it’s pretty great being my own boss.

HCSC: What can we expect from Wildflower this year?

RF: I’ve been working really hard on the website. It launched in February, but it has been difficult to put the entire store inventory online as well as on the floor in the store. I also want to host more events this year. I plan to offer private shopping experiences for birthdays and special occasions.

HCSC: Do you have any hidden talents?

RF: I don’t really have any hidden talents, but a talent of mine that some people might not know about is that I make jewelry. I have my own jewelry line called Ophelia Stone. I handmake necklaces and earrings. I have several pieces for sale in Wildflower that I’ve designed.

Ryleigh is such an inspiration. Her Campus South Carolina wishes her the best, and cannot wait to see what new things she has in store for us (pun intended). She is truly like a wildflower: beautiful, fierce and free.