If you want to shop for unique and trendy clothing in Lubbock that you won’t find anywhere else, you definitely want to stop by Hulla B’Lu. This women’s boutique offers a wide variety of clothing and gift items with a little something for everyone. The owner, Karla Hope, is a passionate business woman with a heart for the people of Lubbock. We spoke with Karla to learn how she got into the retail industry, what she loves about running her boutique, and the special local experience customers get when they shop at Hulla B’Lu.
How did Hulla B’Lu get started?
“I purchased this boutique five years ago. I was an art major in college, and then I taught art for five years. After that I raised my kids, and when they went off to college I thought it would be fun to own a boutique. Hulla B’Lu came up for sale around that same time so I purchased it. I’ve been the owner now for five years, and I love it.
Originally Hulla B’Lu was started about 18 years ago by two women who were Lubbock locals. They mainly sold the brands Bella Notte and Jon Hart, and they had some painted furniture as well. Eventually they partnered with another local business – a dress shop – for a few years. Then they sold the business to the dress shop. So Hulla B’Lu has gone through quite a few changes over the years.”
Can you talk about your recent transition into the new building?
“Sure. We just built a new building for Hulla B’Lu about six months ago, and we love it. The transition was great. I now have about 4,400 square feet of sales floor, and we have a huge dock room which is awesome. Also, the new location has increased our foot traffic. Of course when people saw something being built from the ground up they were curious about it. So more people wanted to know what Hulla B’Lu is and what we have here. Overall it’s been a really good move for us.”
What do you love about the retail industry?
“I love the customers I get to meet and help. It’s always satisfying when you have things your customers want and your customers leave happy. We try to provide good customer service and build a good relationship within the community. On a day-to-day basis it’s the people and the relationships that I love most about this industry, and I hope to continue to build on that throughout the years.”
Speaking of CUSTOMER relationship do you have any moments with customers that stand out?
“I can’t point to one specific moment, but 11 years ago I had a kidney transplant. My best friend from high school, Leigh Hudson, is the one who gave me my kidney for the transplant. Lots of people in the community were praying for me during that time. Dozens of times people have come in my store and when I say I’m Karla Hope they say, ‘hey, we prayed for you,’ or ‘my Sunday school class prayed for you.’ It’s really neat, and it has happened dozens of times. I really appreciated those prayers, and it’s heartwarming when people come in and let me know they were praying for me.”
What’s the local difference people get when they shop at Hulla B’Lu as opposed to the chain retailers?
“Well first of all, it’s the personal customer service. Our customers are treated like friends and, honestly, most of the customers who come in are our friends. The relationships is a big thing and a big difference between us and box retailers. The second difference is the uniqueness of the clothes we sell. We’re the only MacKenzie-Childs retailer in Lubbock and customers can get items here at my that they can’t get anywhere else.
The clothes that we buy are constantly changing. We buy unique pieces, and we only buy one or two of each. You’re not going to see someone on the street with the same clothing you have on because we don’t order hundreds of the same thing. The uniqueness of our clothing is definitely a benefit.”
What do you love about the Lubbock community?
“Being that Lubbock is a small town, although it’s growing rapidly, I feel like there’s a lot of support from everyone. There’s just more of a welcoming and family atmosphere in Lubbock. Even when I think about my relationship with other retailers – I don’t feel competitive with them. Even though we carry some of the same lines, we still wish them well. There’s none of that cut throat competition. I think Lubbock supports small business really well. Everyone is friendly and personable, and it’s a great community to live and own a small business.”
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
“I want people to know that we carry a wide range of prices. We’ve had a stigma for being expensive, but while we carry the expensive items, we also carry more reasonably-priced items. We have a wide range of pricing for everyone, and I want anyone to feel comfortable coming into the store knowing that they’ll be able to purchase something. We have an expansive selection of clothes and gifts, and while we have nice things we’re not overly expensive.”
When you shop at local Lubbock businesses like Hulla B’Lu, you are not only building a robust economy, but you are also supporting your very own neighbors. Find them on Towny – the free tool making it easy to choose local.