What is a boutique?
A boutique is a small shopping outlet that commonly specializes in fashionable items such as clothing and jewelry.
Kept advertises that they would only sell items they would wear themselves or put in their own homes first.
Did You Know?
According to the United States Small Business Association Office of Advocacy, there are roughly 28 million small businesses in the United States, which outnumber corporations by 1,162 to 1.
A Local Impact
When a customer supports a small business, such as Kept, they’re boosting their direct economy by keeping money within the business circulation. When money is kept within the community, it’s more likely to have a positive impact on the surrounding area in a faster time.
Madonna Wald & Summer Czeczok – Mother & Daughter Owners, Kept
Madonna Wald & Summer Czeczok are a mother/daughter duo with a vision at Kept, a boutique that sells fashionable women’s clothing, accessories, home decor and furniture. While they’ve come to find rising success over the years, they’re maintaining the guaranteed small business customer care that they’ve always advertised first and foremost.
What was your journey like for you to get to the position you’re at today?
Madonna: I am an interior designer and worked full time as a commercial interior designer for over 25 years. 11 years ago, my other daughter, Hope and I started LOT 2029 in Bismarck and expanded to Fargo. Hope opened Mint + Basil in Fargo and Sioux Falls. We have since closed the LOT 2029 stores and now my daughter Summer and I have Kept together.
Summer: I am a full-time teacher in the Bismarck Public School System. I helped with LOT 2029. My mom and I, along with help from our husbands, renovated the space for Kept. We had a vision to offer classy, fashionable, on-trend clothing and accessories along with quality furniture and home decor.
Which parts of taking this risk will stick with you forever?
We signed a five-year lease which was scary. With that comes the uncertainty of if there are enough sales to pay the rent and overhead that comes with owning a business. The most memorable are the months of hard work renovating the space while still keeping a full-time job.
What steps were the hardest when taking the leap to start Kept?
The hardest step to starting the business was growing our customer base. That is something that you strive to do every day.
What was a typical day in your life like when you were beginning your business?
A typical day for us when we opened our business was constantly buying inventory to stock the racks. Keeping up with the latest trends in fashion comes naturally to us and that is the fun part of the business.
What would you have done differently if you could go back and start again, knowing what you know now?
We wouldn’t do anything differently if we could go back and start again. Since we had another store before Kept, we kind of learned the fundaments of starting and running a business.
What advice do you have for readers considering taking this leap?
You have to have passion for what you do. If there is no passion, there is no drive and motivation. If you are willing to work hard and put in some long hours, do it. Keep your expenses as low as you can. Follow your dream with your eyes wide open. If you have the passion, drive, and ambition, you will be successful!
What else would you like to add regarding your personal experience in taking this risk?
We are having so much fun with our store. We love seeing our customers that come in. Many of them have become friends. If we can brighten someone’s day, then the day was a success!
What made you decide that the Bis-Man area would be a great place to start Kept?
Bis-Man is our home. We wanted to offer more shopping options in a fun and beautiful environment. We love Bismarck-Mandan and the incredible people here!
What do most people not know about Kept?
We offer quality clothing and accessories. We have clothing and accessories for women of all ages; whether it be high school, college, working women, or retired women. We have classy on-trend business wear for women; not your typical boring business clothes. Everyone of all ages should be able to have really nice fashionable clothing and accessories. We also are a very affordable store. Shoppers at first glance think we are very high-end. Then they see our prices and comment on how affordable we are. That makes them smile! Literally, every day, customers comment on how beautiful the space is and how nice and affordable the clothing is.
Our furniture is high quality that will last. We only sell furniture that we would put in our own homes. Our upholstered furniture is custom. Customers pick the style they want and also the fabric they want. We encourage them to pick a washable fabric that they can zip off and toss in the washing machine. Yes, the fabric is truly washable! Our upholstered furniture has hardwood frames and springs. It is made to last. Our wood furniture line has so many styles to choose from. We help with the selections and offer design advice. We want our customers to love their homes and make their homes look like they came out of a magazine!
What is a day in your life like for you now?
A typical day starts with running the store, stocking and merchandising it. After closing hours, we are buying things for the store. This includes researching the latest trends, as well as researching new products to bring to our customers.
What’s one thing the local business community could do to help you/your organization?
Downtown is growing and made up of local family businesses. There are so many unique shopping experiences downtown. The shop owners and friendly and ready to help. We always tell people that if they aren’t coming downtown, they’re missing out!
Are you looking to expand your business? If so, how?
Yes, but not in the way that you would expect. We want to expand people’s experiences for downtown shopping. We have such an incredible community in BismarckMandan. Downtown shopping can be so much fun!