“One snow day, I was sitting on my couch, looking at online boutiques on Facebook, and then I thought, we could do this!” said Tara Broyles, co-owner of Esther & Ella boutique in Greeneville. “We applied for a business license the next week, and we started growing much quicker than we expected.” The online boutique, with inventory kept at Tara’s house, quickly outgrew the space, and they opened their doors in 2015.
Building Homes & a Friendship
Emily Latham, the other co-owner, moved to Greeneville with her husband, who is from the area. “We couldn’t figure out what kind of house we wanted to build. We were driving around looking at other houses, and walked right into this house under construction, because we’d finally found a house we liked. The owner of the house just happened to be there, Kevin Broyles, Tara’s husband. We all started talking about building houses, and I’d call to ask their opinions on things, and the friendship just grew from there. So now we’re friends, who own a business together, and have basically the same house!”
“When we’re buying inventory for the store,” said Emily, “we mesh well together. We don’t always agree on what to buy, but then we get back from market and the things that I didn’t think would sell are selling and vice versa.”
“Jenny Bowman at BCS has been a God-send!” said Tara. “Jenny’s kept us out of jail! We don’t have business backgrounds at all, so Jenny has been there every step of the way, and we appreciate her late hours at tax time, her willingness to answer questions whenever we text her. Jenny’s not just our tax lady, she’s our friend,” said Emily.
“We call ourselves stay-at-work moms because our kids come to work with us. There are always kids here!” said Tara. On the main level of the store, you’ll find Kavu bags, SIC cups, HOBO bags, jewelry, fashion clothing, “Home” shirts, home décor, children’s clothing, wedding décor, no-wax farmhouse paint, high school and college sport apparel and Christian-focused items, such as Bible journaling accessories. Down a short flight of stairs, they have sale items, an open space anyone can rent out for Bible studies or showers, a corner with comfy chairs and a coffee maker for moms to have a time-out while their kids play in the kid-friendly area (called The Nook at Ella’s), and Two Little Stitches, where Cheray will add custom monogramming, embroidery or decals to anything you buy in the store or bring in.
Esther & Ella sells several items that support charities, such as the Banded headband. With every purchase of a Banded headband, three meals are provided to children in need in Uganda, Latin America and the Caribbean.
“When we were opening the store, we had one month to get everything ready, and everything that could possibly go wrong, went wrong. So every time something new would go wrong, we’d just say, ‘Fix it, Jesus!’ and then keep working. We said it so often, that we decided to paint a wall with chalkboard paint, and people could write their prayer requests, so it started a tradition that every Friday we’d take some time to pray over all the things written on the wall,” said Emily.
“We encourage people to come in, have some coffee, take a break, hang out and let their kids run wild,” said Emily.
Esther & Ella is located at 1305 Tusculum Boulevard in Greeneville. You can like their page on Facebook for updates about new items, sales and special events.
Photos by Peter Nelson Photography.