The store’s name may be Random, but there’s nothing random about the success of this family owned business that first opened 15 years ago at its Broadway at the Beach location.
“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, hence where the name came from. We had a very random, though selective, mix of offerings.”
Random, says Karst, 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. Karst’s parents, Kathy and Bob Hillman (now co-owners of Random), owned a few businesses while she grew up in Illinois, with Kathy working as a successful visual merchandiser for a few malls in Chicago. Karst 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 natural, 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, Karst migrated to Myrtle Beach, following the lead of other family members, took a summer internship with a local boutique chain, and opened their first Random Boutique location. The store moved to its current location here at The Market Common in October 2008.
“We saw a huge potential here,” says Karst. “We saw a community and a place for locals and tourists to co-exist in a place that’s real – 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 family business at Random is run by Karst and her mom, while her dad and two brothers, Brody and Drew, run a men’s specialty store, Rambler, in Myrtle Beach. The family also owns Random and Rambler locations in Illinois.
The women’s specialty boutique on Reed Street offers a wide variety of styles for a wide spectrum of ages.
“I know, growing up, that 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 Karst. “And women as a whole should not be put into a box. At Random, I want to encourage women to, no matter your age, your background, or your style, have fun – to wear what inspires you. I want to eradicate the thoughts of ‘I love this, but I’m too old for it’ or ‘This is so cute, but it’s not my style.’”
Karst 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 for me. That helped inspire a world of anything is possible. We love our customers to come as they are, because they are family to us.”
Stop by and visit Summer and family at Random Boutique at 3315 Reed St. Their website is currently undergoing renovations, but you can find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/randomboutiques/ and Instagram.