An Inside Look at this Unique Women's Specialty Boutique
by Ashley Daniels
The store’s name may be Random, but there’s nothing random about the success of this family owned business that first opened fifteen years ago.
“We were a few things back then,” says co-owner Summer Karst. “We were a clothing store that offered men’s and women’s clothing, vintage clothing, accessories, home goods, gifts, and a full service coffee shop. That’s where the name came from; we had a very random, though selective, mix of offerings.”
Random, says Summer, was actually a concept she created as her senior project in college. She graduated from Western Illinois University and studied fashion merchandising, with a minor in art. Summer’s parents, Kathy and Bob Hillman (now co-owners of Random), owned a few businesses during Summer’s childhood. And Kathy worked as a successful visual merchandiser for a few malls in Chicago. Summer helped her mom with more contracts in Peoria and Springfield while attending college, and, at the same time, sold jewelry and body jewelry from a kiosk in one of the malls.
“I loved the whole world of business and the creative side of business and I wanted to be involved in as much as I could,” she says. “It came naturally, and I inserted myself anywhere I could to soak up as much as I could, knowing my ultimate goal was owning my own store someday.”
After she graduated from college in 2005, Summer moved to Myrtle Beach, following the lead of other family members. She took a summer internship with a local boutique chain, and opened her first Random Boutique location. The store moved to its current location, in the Market Common, in October 2008.
“We saw a huge potential here,” says Summer. “We saw a community and a place for locals and tourists to co-exist in a place away from the flashing lights and wax figures. We saw a place where we could thrive. We care so much about the area and its future and we’re so thankful to be a part of it.”
The women’s specialty boutique on Reed Street offers a wide variety of styles for a wide spectrum of ages.
“Growing up, I never fit into a mold, and because of that, I was always seen as a free spirit, which is now something I take pride in,” says Summer. “And women as a whole should not be put into a box. At Random, I want to encourage women to have fun—no matter their age, background, or style. Just have fun; and wear what inspires you. I want to eradicate the mindset of, ‘I love this, but I’m too old for it,’ or ‘This is so cute, but it’s not my style.’”
Summer says that her main goal for women who walk through the doors of Random is to have fun, relax and enjoy themselves— and to feel loved, inspired, and empowered.
“We try really hard to infuse a realness into how we run our businesses,” she says. “We are a family business and that is important to us. So, on any given day you could see me there working with my kids, just as my parents did with me. That helped inspire a world of, ‘anything is possible.’ We love our customers and want them to come as they are, because they are family to us.”