ENID, Okla. — Growing up, Yanelli Cruz loved to help her family plan their outfits or give shopping advice.
Today, Cruz uses her passion for clothes to run her own clothing boutique, Isabella’s by Yanelli, which celebrates five years in business this month.
“Fashion has always been my passion,” she said. “I just love clothes, I have too many clothes. You should see my closet.”
She began selling clothes out of her home in 2016, but as her business grew, she said she knew she needed to expand. She opened her first storefront on Willow in March 2020 and has since moved to a bigger location.
“The business did well there, but it was a really small location, about a quarter of the size of my current store,” Cruz said. “We outgrew the location within a year.”
In the beginning of 2021, Cruz decided to walk around downtown to look at spaces available for lease. She was looking at two locations, but what drew her to the Randolph space was fond memories down the block at Boomarang Diner.
Her late father-in-law, Fidel Cruz, loved to eat at Boomarang after his doctor’s appointments. Now, her shop is just a few doors down, located at 224 W. Randolph.
“I have a feeling he is watching over me here,” Cruz said. “It was wild how the store was right next to his favorite place. It was a sign for me.”
Cruz said she was surprised how quickly she was able to move buildings, but was happy with how it all fell into place. She opened the Randolph store on the one-year anniversary of opening up her original Willow location.
“It has been amazing downtown,” Cruz said. “I’ve met so many people and I love how the number of boutiques, stores, breweries, restaurants down here now.”
Cruz’s passions grow
Before Cruz had her first child, she worked at the Buckle, where she enjoyed selling clothes and creating outfits.
When she started her at-home boutique, Cruz also was a stay-at-home mom of two children. After having her second child in 2014, Cruz decided she needed to do something more for herself.
“This is what I wanted to do,” Cruz said. “I decided I was going to give it a try and go for it.”
Taking baby steps, she used her children’s playroom to set up shop and got started on Facebook selling clothing.
The first time she went to the wholesale apparel market to buy inventory for her store was difficult, she said. She said she felt overwhelmed and didn’t know what she was doing, but once she received her clothes from market, they started selling well.
Five years later, Cruz’s family continues to love and support her in business. She said her spouse, Hector Cruz, and three children are helpful.
She also said she loves having her own hours so she doesn’t lose time with family.
Cruz’s advice for aspiring business owners is to not listen to the negativity, choose what you want and go for it.
“There are really bad days, but there are also times it is really amazing,” she said. “That is just part of owning a business. Keep looking straightforward and push through.”