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Meet Carla Bailey of Carla’s Boutik

Today we’d like to introduce you to Carla Bailey.

Carla, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Growing up in the segregated South has been a very interesting feat. As I looked over my life I never envisioned how something as evil as racism could turn what I believe to be part of my life’s mission into a positive. It happened at eight/nine years of age, after desegregation of schools. I remember being excited about attending a new school and meeting new people. I was raised not to see color, but a person’s heart. So to me in my new school we were all the same, just a bunch of kids . As time went on, I was talking to a friend of mine over the phone ( yes it was a rotary phone and we could make a call about homework).

Then I heard her big sister tell her ” I told you to stop hanging around that n—-r, I was really torn and so was my friend. We hung up and of course, I cried, but I thought if her sister really knew me she would truly like me. Little did I know that my first encounter with racism would turn into a business model for me! Fast forward, after high school graduation… while attending Georgia State University in the 1980’s where I earned a bachelor degree in marketing. I began working at the Atlanta Americasmart ( known then as the Atlanta Apparel Mart). I loved selling and learning about different clothing and accessory lines from a wholesale perspective and had an “aha” moment -” why don’t I do this for myself”?

I began my journey where I met so many people of different nationalities and saw beautiful pieces of jewelry and clothing. I started selling accessories to women using a Mary Kay-est model. I began to sell to family and friends all over Atlanta. I called my line Carla’s Boutique Accessories Collection with the hopes of a full fledge boutique to come. At this time it was modern fashion jewelry. I started with a very modest approach. I saved enough money to purchase a handmade three-tier rolling jewelry case and I would go from home to home or wherever and I do mean anywhere someone wanted to purchase and sold my pieces! I found a space that used to be an old trading post and God put in my heart, it would be a great place for a boutique.

The area was so reminiscent of Atlanta’s Virgina Highlands ( which was always a very hip area in Midtown) I just believed that one day this area would be just as amazing. So as fate would have it, I met my husband Thom and we began our family. We have 4 wonderful kids twins, Sarai and Seth, Faith and Jared. I became a stay at home mom for 20 years and I had to put everything on hold. As the children aged I would not let my hope die, that one day I could own my own business. I just believed that it could be done! As time went on I met jewelry designers from Quebec and the global light bulb went off. The pieces were so unique and well made I knew that I had walked into something interesting and thought” what about bringing in pieces from around the globe”.

I found out that when you touch something unfamiliar you are exploring an area that you haven’t thought about. It almost takes you on a trip to that place and stirs up questions and a desire to understand that particular land and culture. So I would pull out my trusty case and apply to vend at local festivals and events . I did this as much as I could and took my troup with me! In 2013 as fate happened again I went back to my spot and met the owner and it just happened to be up for lease! Today, I am in that very location I envisioned over 20 years ago. I am also proud to say that our area is booming with growth just like I envisioned !

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The road has not been smooth, to say the least! I had to look at it as an adventure. There was a large gap from the time I started, but God brought me through because I trusted in him. There are a lot of obstacles and challenges along the way. Mostly getting over self and fear. Always remember when you take the leap don’t look back….. keep rolling.

Please tell us about Carla’s Boutik.
Carla’s Boutik shares, explores and embraces cultural diversity through an eclectic fusion of fashion, art and beauty products from around the globe. Established in 2000 as Carla’s Boutique Accessories Collection carrying handmade jewelry from Quebec. The collection grew into a curated blend of products from Africa, the Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia. Carla’s Boutik was then born so that the name reflects its uniqueness. The store’s mantra “Global Infused Style” is clear when an ensemble is put together. It forms an eclectic mix which encompasses the artistic passion and culture of designers from around the globe.

As curator of Carla’s Boutik it is my duty to find mostly handmade products locally and globally. I work with designers, artists, and skin care professionals sourcing the most unique products that fit my clients’ global mindset. I want you to understand how in Ecadauor the tagua seed or Ivory plum is a nut found in the rainforest and is used for making jewelry. Also, how the huipil from Guatemala is handmade by artisans that grow their own cotton. It is then woven and hand dyed with berries or fruits. Each huipil denotes the community where the wearer resides.

I am most proud of the fact that our store is a mecca for all people.

What sets me apart from others is how each piece is unique and takes you on a special journey around the globe.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Nothing. There is a time and place for everything. I think any pursuit is difficult just stay the course no matter what. Be prepared for bad decisions and bad choices but as you learn you won’t continue to make the same mistakes. The pieces to the puzzle are all around you once you recognize them and put them in the correct space, the big picture will come to life.


  • Clothing and Accessories $60 and up
  • Art – $200 and up
  • Beauty Products – natural skin care and organic juice products $ 6 and up (coming soon)

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageATL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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