A Deeper Dive into the Life of Aaliyah Kissick: Soldier, Entrepreneur, and College Student
Aaliyah Kissick, the creative entrepreneur behind AK Boutique.
Meet Aaliyah Kissick
A soldier, an entrepreneur, and a financial planning student, Aaliyah Kissick embodies an unwavering dedication to duty, an insatiable thirst for knowledge, and an unyielding entrepreneurial spirit. Crowned as the queen of Miss Illinois United States, Aaliyah's grace, intellect, and compassion have gained her well-deserved recognition. Her multifaceted journey, marked by humility and resilience, serves as a guiding light for those striving to achieve greatness while remaining grounded.
The Genesis of AK Boutique
Aaliyah’s journey into entrepreneurship began during a summer break in high school, when she decided to turn her abundant collection of thrifted clothes into a business. With just $50 and a dream, she set up shop in her mother's garage in her small town of Athens, Illinois. Despite the humble beginnings with a makeshift logo and a cardboard sign, her determination led to the establishment of AK Boutique. Today, Aaliyah has grown her business into a successful enterprise with two locations, offering a size-inclusive selection of women's clothing for work, play, and everyday.
Making a Difference
More than just a clothing store, AK Boutique serves as an unofficial community center, offering a space for women to connect, share stories, and build relationships. Aaliyah has utilized her platform to mentor young girls, promote anti-bullying messages, and advocate for financial literacy. Her outreach efforts earned her a Good Citizenship award from the City of Athens in 2019, a testament to her commitment to making a positive impact in her community.
A Unique Approach to Fashion
Aaliyah's approach to fashion is unique and personal. The curation process for her collections is a blend of science and art, driven by trends, personal perceptions, and a deep understanding of her customers. This process, which Aaliyah describes as a reflection of her own soul, has allowed her to create a unique shopping experience and stand out from her competition. Her choices of color and print not only reflect the current fashion trends but also mirror her emotions and personal journey.
Like many small business owners, Aaliyah faced her biggest challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic. Juggling her roles as a full-time college student, a student trustee, and a business owner, Aaliyah experienced burn-out at the age of 20. Recognizing her limits, she chose to pursue her Bachelor's degree full-time while running her business part-time. Despite the challenges, she continues to develop her business and broaden her skill set through her education.
As Aaliyah completes her education, she plans to cultivate a robust digital presence for her boutique. After earning an MBA, she aims to hire management for her boutique and build a career as a financial advisor. Her journey serves as an inspiration for anyone with a dream, proving that with hard work, determination, and a little creativity, anything is possible.