The best part of a photoshoot for photographer Amy Thomas has been watching people get ready. So after 15 years as a professional photographer, she turned away from photography to clothing, jewelry, makeup and accessories.

For a little over a year, Thomas ran an online clothing and accessories store. In July of this year, she opened a brick and mortar retail store called Believe Inspire Beauty Clothing Boutique, 132 Uptown Drive.

Amy Thomas started out as a professional photographer, but became the owner of a clothing store dedicated to empowering women.“We always liked to see all the people and help them prepare, so we kept that part,” says Thomas.

The women’s boutique that tries to be as inclusive as possible aims to empower women and support charities.

It fulfills its empowerment mission by offering a full line of casual wear in sizes ranging from Small to 2X. Thomas is working on adding Extra-Small and 3X clothing. Believe Inspire Beauty also offers accessories such as jewelry and makeup.

Empowerment also comes from supporting charities.

Thomas says the store raises money for a different charity each month. She has special printed t-shirts for sale each month, and a portion of the proceeds goes to the monthly charity. Her goal is to raise at least $ 500 per month. In August, she raised $ 1,000 for the Underground Railroad. The September charity was suicide prevention and in October funds will be raised for breast cancer awareness.

“We have a company that makes special t-shirts just for charities,” says Thomas, adding, “They’ll do a design for breast cancer. “

Thomas says that although breast cancer awareness is a national event, she prefers to donate to local charities if possible. She does some research to find the right one. “We also talk to our clients, and whenever we can, we also relate their personal story to the charity. “

Inside the store, you will find clothes for all body types.Supporting its neighboring businesses is also a priority, she says. Believe Inspire Beauty Clothing is teaming up with other Uptown Bay City businesses for special programs like September’s style show, Back to the Runway. The style show was a joint project between Believe Inspire, Infinity Bridal and Omoni Boutique. She also plans to join an upcoming Shop-a-Palooza involving businesses Uptown and Downtown Bay City.

While much of the inventory focuses on women and women’s empowerment, Thomas says his son, Kole, 6, is involved in selecting a portion of the inventory. On the site, Kole’s Kollection presents a bit of everything, but especially animal prints.

Thomas says the collection started because Kole cuddled up to her when she ordered inventory at night, and he wanted to help.

“It’s his collection and he adds to it all the time,” she says.

At the beginning, he chose an outfit or a shirt every day. Finally, there was enough for a collection. Now the collection includes clothing, sleepwear and accessories.

“It’s important for us to have everyone in my family,” says Thomas, who adds that the website includes photos of his daughter and two grandchildren modeling. Her mother helps in the shop. “We are a family business,” she says.

Each month the store sells special t-shirts to raise funds for a different charity.When she took the business from an online store to a physical storefront, she said, “Me and my significant other really built it all here.” This goes for everything from the cash register to the decor.

“Part of our trip was to take all the old wood we have and turn it into a showcase. “

They not only reused pallets, but she said the counter was once her grandparents’ entertainment hub.

“It was really part of our history and our journey,” she says. “This is how we came up with the name – Believe, Inspire, Beauty – by simply believing that beauty is all around us, and believing in yourself that you are beautiful inside and out. .

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