At the end of the spring semester, the new clothing boutique, Sophisto Soul, opened its pop-up shop on Wayne State University. This month, the shop will close with a 50 percent off sale until July 31.
Detroit native Nahariya Wright, the owner of Sophisto Soul, took 20 years of experience in sales and retail with her when she decided to open her own brand of stores. Wright buys pieces from retailers around the world including China, London and here in Detroit that reflect the wardrobe of a sophisticated transitional woman.
“I wanted to branch out and open a store that was more of my own personal style,” Wright said. “My style is sophisticated and chic, with a kick of soul.”
Wright first chose the WSU campus location because of her past experiences with a location at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where she was also working for the university at the time.
“I’ve always had a passion for the college atmosphere,” Wright said. “College students are transitioning into their career wardrobe, but still want a little bit of fun from their life. That’s the look that we go for.”
The campus culture is what initially attracted Wright to the current location. However, WSU’s nontraditional campus culture and the summer semester contributed to the shop’s decision to leave campus and begin looking for a more suitable space.
Whitney Kelsey, a WSU junior English major and current store manager, will remain dedicated to Sophisto Soul by continuing to fill online orders after the storefront closes.
While they do not have a new location for a pop-up chosen yet, Kelsey said that a different demographic is what Sophisto is also looking for in their next storefront.
“We want to start looking beyond the post-graduate student and focus on things that are a little bit younger,” Kelsey said.
Sophisto Soul plans to start selling to a younger customer audience, compared to the store’s current focus on transitional business attire.
Sophisto Soul’s decision to leave the campus location is a new development, but Derek Donnellon, the senior leasing and operations specialist at WSU, said no one is currently in line for the space. Donnellon also said that the available space will be open for use by anyone who wants to lease on campus.
“The space will be available for lease by entities both affiliated and not affiliated with the University,” Donnellon said. “Proposals for the space can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Before deciding to leave campus, the store offered multiple programs for students including fundraising opportunities for student organizations, internships for students and lifestyle workshops on campus. As a WSU student, Kelsey sees Sophisto’s involvement staying on campus as they look for a new location.
“We really would like to be involved in our community, so try to do and find things to get people involved,” Kelsey said. “Since I’m a student here, I do see that continuing.”
Sophisto Soul will still be hiring affiliates that market the brand on social media and offering new opportunities to WSU students as it gets ready to conduct a rebranding heading into the fall season.
The future of the store may include taking the ‘soul’ out of Sophisto Soul, finding a more suitable Detroit location, brand redesigning, and aiming towards a younger demographic.
With the store closing at the end of the month Sophisto will be offering 50 percent off everything in store.
The Carrie Dress is a piece currently displayed on location and available online. The little white dress uses clean and crisscrossed lines as a pattern, with a peplum panel just above the bra line and a smaller high waist for curves. The Carrie retails at $96, now $48 with the discount. Another popular piece available in store and online includes a $100 denim jumpsuit.
Sophisto soul also has a wide range of jeweled statement necklaces currently on sale ranging from $7 to $15.
You can apply to become a brand affiliate or Shop online using the code 50SALE.
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