Once again we shine the Rebound spotlight on our local Boss Babes: Montana’s ladies who survived the pandemic as business owners and now continue to thrive. This time we meet a mother and daughter who say their passion for fashion helped them find their way to Apricot Lane, a boutique for women located in the Gallatin Valley Mall.
“Apricot Lane is a mother-daughter boutique which I love running with my daughter Alex,” said Amber Sartain. “It’s really fun to bounce things off each other. We have lots of mother-daughter couples that come in.”
“I love working with my mom,” said Alex who is 21. “This brought us closer than anything we could have imagined.”
Amber says it all started when she learned her favorite store, one she loved to shop at with Alex, was shutting down.
“This used to be my favorite store to shop at and unfortunately it closed. I tried to unsubscribe from an email when it offered me a sale ad. It had an offer for a franchise, so in blind faith I followed a few questions,” recalls Amber.
She believes it was all a "God thing," saying from there the path lit up for her to be the next owner.
“Every door opened for me to re-open Apricot Lane,” said Amber.
That was in 2018. Soon after she discovered the role of business owner turned out to be the perfect fit.
She says people were as excited as she and Alex to see the store reopen—mothers and daughters, young and old alike who came in looking for the perfect outfit for any special occasion. The perfect piece when the experience is about so much more than clothes.
“It truly is so much more than clothes,” said Amber. “It is feeling good, confident, pretty in what we are wearing. It makes me so happy when a woman walks in, maybe a little hesitant that she’s not going to find what she’s looking for, and then when we find her the perfect outfit for her occasion it makes all of us so happy because she’s just glowing and marching out of here so happy.”
Eighteen months after opening, the pandemic happened. Amber says she and Alex had to try on a new look. She remembers the day she got the news they’d have to shut down.
“I was on vacation, so I was trying to navigate my girls and so that they could be comfortable and know what to do,” said Amber. “So I was over cell phone trying to figure out how to close, when we were going to close, what’s this looking like, and we spent a lot of time sorting it out and shuffling inventory.”
They turned to sales online, local shipping, product pick up—anything they could to keep shoppers connected and business flowing.
She says they simply took it one day at a time and now they are excited to welcome women once again, some who come in planning to go to their first big event in over a year and a half.
“We’ve seen everything was casual and then we came out of pandemic and now she’s ready to dress up,” said Amber.
As they head through 2021 the pair says they want to lift up all local business owners and also remind people the mall is made up of plenty of businesses that are locally owned.
“It’s very important to remind people and Bozeman that over 50 percent of the mall tenants are locally owned and are small business. Small business isn’t just downtown, we’re here too,” said Amber.
“I think a lot of people forget that local businesses rely on community and I feel like we have the community’s attention now and that is very exciting,” said Alex.
Meanwhile, for Amber, she says having Alex by her side over the past three years has been key.
“I love working with my daughter,” said Amber. “She’s great at what she does. She’s always been a little fashionista. I know even if she ever leaves me I’m gonna be calling her and bouncing things off of her.”
“Sometimes you never know how often you need to just spend time with your mom and I’m grateful I get to see her every day,” said Alex.
Alex and Amber are excited to go to market and shop for the next line the store will feature in August.
Meantime, Alex says she might way to continue the family tradition and own her own business in the future. Dad owns a business too.