By Cara Beth Lewis
This unique and modern company with a chic and colorful touch is booming. An extension of the McDougald family business, Casual Camel Boutique offers fashionable clothing, creativity and great design in the heart of Clarkton.
Camille McDougald, the 30-year-old owner of Casual Camel, said she moved back to her hometown of Clarkton after college and has been here ever since. After working in fashion retail for two and a half years, she decided to work for her father at McDougald’s, a well-owned family business in Clarkton that began over 100 years ago in 1917.
The proud owner of Casual Camel Boutique says, “It has been amazing” to expand the family business. She shared, “I like following trends and putting things together to make them my own. Mixing styles, whether it’s fashion or decoration, is my passion. She continued, “When I was little, I designed and drew different outfits and made ‘fashion magazines’ from my drawings. My mother has always had excellent taste in fashion and design (she still does). Everything I know about decoration and fashion, I learned growing up.
Casual Camels primarily offers clothing, jewelry, accessories, and giftware for women. Additionally, there are selections of baby clothes and men’s items. From loungewear to wedding guest outfits, Casual Camel is a great place to shop. Styling help is available at the store for those who need help and are looking to step out of their comfort zone.
Camille shared, “My dad always focused on quality and you get what you pay for. I use this theory when buying for my store. I’d rather buy a more expensive item, mark it up less, make less profit, and have a happy customer who comes back because their purchase held up than sell a hundred items that won’t last.
How was Casual Camel Boutique born?
“Having my own clothing store has always been a dream of mine. A few years ago I considered buying a very well-established boutique, but I knew I really wanted to live close to my family and that was going to change things. I decided not to pursue this and instead considered starting an online store. I did some research, made a list of brands I liked, picked a store name that related to me without using my name, and bought a domain for my website. My dad had bought the front connected to our store years before. He remodeled part of it for our garden, animal feed and seed storage. One day, I decided that I could still live my dream without being away from my parents. I decided to stop thinking and dreaming and do it. Instead of online, I would only have a small storefront for those who like to shop in person. We gutted the building next to our store and I worked with a dear family friend to design the store I dreamed of owning. He worked tirelessly to bring my vision to life. I’ve been told all my life that Clarkton is a boom town. I wanted to bring our town back to life by opening a new business where people could buy things they love and donate items without leaving our community. My sister has a background in web and graphic design. She was living on a catamaran with her husband and her cat, but had just decided to come back ashore. It seemed like the perfect time to start designing my website and start the process of chasing my dream. –Camille McDougald
Currently, Casual Camel has shipped products to customers in 26 different states. The owner is proud of this, as one of her main goals is to see Clarkton thrive as it did years ago. She said, “It’s great to think of all these people all over the United States ordering clothes from a little store in our little old town! In the future, I hope people will see my store and be like, “Wow, I could open a business in Clarkton too. » »
During her experience as a small business owner, she learned how supportive the community is and how much people really enjoy shopping locally. She explained, I think my main benefit of running my business on my own is that I now understand why my dad always worked so hard with little free time. When the business is yours, you feel guilty for not being there on the day off. You want to know who came shopping while you weren’t there, so you can thank them. You always want to work because there is always room for improvement and you want your business to be as successful as possible. »
Like all businesses, Casual Camel faces challenges. Issues such as product price increases and shipping can be difficult as the store strives to keep prices affordable for customers.
How does Casual Camel Boutique contribute to the community?
“My dad was always involved in the community and constantly gave back to schools, churches, non-profit organizations and people in general. He passed this attribute on to me and I try to give back in the same way. Whether it’s a school advertisement, a raffle donation, buying raffle tickets or simply offering help. I’d also like to think that we’re giving back by making our community members feel good about themselves and building confidence by giving everyone beautiful outfits. –Camille McDougald
Thursday and Friday 10-5 Saturday 10-3 (special holiday times to be announced on social media pages)
Address: 10375 N. College Street. Clarkton NC 28433
E-mail: [email protected]
Casual Camel Boutique | Facebook
instagram – @casualcamelboutique
“I am more grateful than words can express for the support our community has given my family and this little dream I have. I have customers who come weekly, others who travel to shop with me, and online shoppers who strive to make small purchases. It does not go unnoticed. As a small business, I know our community is what keeps my store going. Without all of you we could have celebrated our 1 year on October 29th! The outpouring of love and support from day one has been unreal. I hope people continue to shop local throughout Bladen County and keep all of our small businesses thriving. I’m so excited to continue making our customers feel beautiful for years to come. If you get the chance, stop by the store and say hi to the girls and me. We would love to meet you and help you feel like the beautiful woman you are! If you are not local, check us out online. We’d love to see Casual Camel under your Christmas tree this holiday season! – Camille McDougald, owner of Casual Camel Boutique