Remember when we wrote about Anna Steffen, the 21-year-old owner of The Native One, a wildly popular Over-the-Rhine women’s clothing and home decor boutique? Well, she’s 22 now, and her shop has garnered even more success—so much so that she’s opening a second storefront in Covington this fall. “Last year’s sales completely blew any goals that I had out of the water, and this year, it’s only gotten busier,” says Steffen, who buys new products for her shop every day to meet the increasing demand. “Saturdays are no longer a calm day; it’s guaranteed mayhem. Rain or shine, it gets crazy and we clear the racks.”
Opening a second location was always a part of Steffen’s plan. “I just didn’t think it was going to happen this soon,” she says. “That was kind of my five-year [goal], but once the opportunity was there, I jumped on it.” The opportunity presented itself in March, when Steffen started touring potential retail spaces in Northern Kentucky. Of the seven spots she explored, two stood out, and she signed a lease for both in April—just one year after opening her Vine Street storefront.
The first space, located at 326-328 Scott Street near Molly Malone’s Irish Pub and Restaurant in Covington, will serve as The Native One’s second brick and mortar. The 1,600-square-foot space, Steffen says, will have a similar feel as the current Vine Street shop, with plants, hand-painted murals, and racks of chic women’s clothing decorating the interior. It’s also 200 square feet bigger and less narrow than the Vine Street location. With the extra footage, Steffen plans on increasing her home decor inventory to include larger pieces like accent chairs and mirrors, as well as more planters, prints, and cards. Steffen also notes that the abundance of nearby parking serves as an added bonus: “Sometimes here [in OTR], it can be difficult with parking to just run in; whereas, in Covington, there are guaranteed spots right out front.” The Ft. Thomas native plans on hosting a grand opening celebration for her new location in early September.
In addition to the Covington storefront, Steffen is also revamping an old auto body shop in Dayton, Kentucky, into a private garage studio space, where her team can process inventory, photograph products, and host events. “It can be stressful to do everything in [the OTR shop], because we don’t have a huge back room. So to have a separate space to just work out of and be creative will be really beneficial,” says Steffen, who aims to host three to five events at the garage each month like yoga, floral arrangement classes, and warehouse sales.
Customers can typically catch Steffen and Milo, her playful one-year-old Miniature Goldendoodle, working at the Vine Street shop nearly every day of the week. And when she’s not in the shop, she’s either on her computer researching new products or scouting products in person at fashion shows in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, or Atlanta. As she adds two more spaces to her brand, Steffen says she’ll likely step back from her OTR shop to spend more time at the Covington location and help get it off the ground.
Ask Steffen if she’s proud her success, and she’ll humbly admit that it feels “really weird” to give herself credit, but she recognizes that hard work pays off. “I feel like not a lot of people my age can say that they’ve done this, so I am very proud,” she says. “I just can’t believe how well it’s done.” Still, Steffen refuses to let anything—including her success—slow her down. “That’s the biggest thing I’ve learned is to just keep going, stay motivated, and don’t think that you need time off because you had a really good day,” she says. “You just gotta keep going.”