FARGO — The Dove's Nest, a new boutique at 4609 33rd Ave. S. in the Blu Water Creek shopping district, specializes in comfortable and fashionable women's clothing and accessories.
That includes a line of jeans owner Kelli Ackerland said a customer recently referred to as "airplane jeans."
"Someone two weeks ago called them 'airplane jeans,' which I thought was really smart. Who wants to wear jeans on an airplane? These you really can because they're really stretchy," she said.
Other top sellers include Wanakome hoodies, athleisure wear and shoes, she said.
"It's a little more relaxed style than you might find at other boutiques. Most places don't carry a lot of sweatshirts, hoodies and athleisure, but I love it and wear it and feel like it's an opportunity to keep people comfortable," she said.
'Its been a blast'
Ackerland has been interested in fashion since she was a young girl.
"I've been all about clothing since I was super little. I would shop with my grandma, and she kind of started that beast in me," she said.
But she didn't start out in retail. She was nearly 20 years into a career with Wells Fargo when a friend posted a cute outfit online that got her attention. When she inquired, she learned it was from a direct sales company similar to LuLaRoe.
"I have no idea what made me think I should take that on while I was working full time," she said. But she bought the kit and sold for the company for three years until it changed its business model in 2019.
"I thought 'You know what? I still love what I'm doing. I love my online customers, but I think I can do this on my own,'" she said. "So I started Dove's Nest and started sourcing my own clothes through different vendors instead of just the direct sales company."
She quit Wells Fargo to focus on selling her clothing online from her home.
Then the pandemic hit and her four young boys began distance learning at home.
"Over the pandemic, working from home, I realized I wasn't the best mom I could be nor the best business owner I could be, so I started the storefront," she said.
Her retail store opened in the Shoppes at Blu in September.
"The storefront has been so fun to be able to not only get out of my house and separate my life a little bit, but I meet customers I've known for five years from just a profile pic on Facebook," she said. "It's been a blast."
She calls the business community at Blu Water Creek "phenomenal."
"We kind of feed off each other. Willow District knows I do more everyday casual and I know they do more dressy, so we send people to each other. It's been super nice, not competitive at all," she said.
That doesn't mean she's forgotten about her online customers. Ackerland continues to sell her merchandise online in a private Facebook group of over 3,000 members.
Brenda Dougherty of Waukon, Iowa, is a member of that group.
"Kelli is two sizes smaller than me, but she does such a wonderful job showing you fit by trying things on and showing you how they fit and feel on her, then I can figure what size to go with for my fit that I like," Dougherty said. "Buying online can be a challenge, but with Kelli and the Dove's Nest I am very comfortable with doing so because she will answer any questions you have. I have even bought shoes from her and have had no problems and love the comfort and fit of all of them."
Ackerland strives to provide a high level of customer service to shoppers at her storefront as well.
"I feel like a lot of women don't know how to put outfits together and they're scared of it. I want them to walk in and not be scared and know I'm here to help them, and just have fun with them," she said. "I'm a mom just like everyone else. Or a working woman. And I just want to feel good in my clothes."