Emmy Stephens’ Emerald Grace Boutique reflects the laid-back style of Sunset Beach.
Mix an entrepreneurial spirit with an artistic flair and a keen eye for fashion and you’ve got Emmy Stephens, the owner of Emerald Grace Boutique in Sunset Beach.
Stephens moved to Brunswick County from Stokes County, North Carolina, in April 2019 and two weeks later she started welcoming people to her shop.
“I offer dresses and blouses plus accessories like scarves, earrings, necklaces and pocketbooks that can make a woman’s outfit pop,” Stephens says. “Most of the clothes are casual and business casual. Many of them have that beachy feel. They are perfect for looking good on those informal, laid-back days when hanging out with family and friends.”
When ordering new inventory for her shop, Stephens just pictures what outfits would be perfect on her friends. Her busiest time is from Easter through Labor Day, when she estimates that visitors to the Sunset Beach area account for about 75 percent of her business.
Her customers range from women in their twenties to mother/daughter combinations who are out shopping together and who want to upgrade their wardrobes or simply try a different style.
Stephens attributes her entrepreneurial spirit to her mother, Connie Stephens, who owns an event center in Stokes County. “We’ve often talked about the benefits of owning a business,” Stephens says, “and I figured I’d go for it.”
When deciding where to open up Emerald Grace Boutique, Stephens chose Sunset Beach. She and her parents vacationed often in Brunswick County over the years, so the move four hours away from her hometown of Danbury, North Carolina, made sense.
Stephens worked as a hairdresser full-time for five years after graduating from high school, but she decided to switch careers. A self-described shopaholic, she explains, “From an early age I was always interested in fashion. Choosing my clothes, mixing and matching colors and fabrics, and expanding my wardrobe was right up my alley. I had a knack for pulling together cool outfits.
“My mother encouraged my interest in fashion and she has always said, ‘When you look good, you feel good.’ I’m a laid-back, beachy type of person, and the clothes and accessories I have in my shop reflect that feeling.”
Stephens recently launched an online site for ordering every item she sells in the store.
“Whether someone lives nearby, in another state or even in another country,” Stephens says, “Emerald Grace Boutique is offering that person the chance to purchase our clothing and accessories — many of which are one-of-a-kind pieces.”
Greeting the customers, helping them find just the right outfits, ordering inventory and anticipating the upcoming fashion trends are all part of the job for Emmy Stephens. She spends her spare time dining out with friends, painting and taking Georgie, her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, on long walks and to the beach.
Want to see it for yourself?
Emerald Grace Boutique
1780-10A Chandler’s Lane, The Village at Sunset Beach, next to Pelican Bookstore, Sunset Beach
Summer hours are Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm.
During the winter months the store is closed on Sundays and Mondays.