For Bora Chiemruom, it is a homecoming of sorts. The owner and founder of Kravant Boutique grew up in Lowell and spent many years working in the area’s local nonprofit sector including time spent at the Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association and Community Teamwork before relocating to Boston. After three years in her most recent position as the executive director of the Massachusetts Asian American Commission, Bora was ready for a new challenge–starting her own business.
As detailed in a recent Lowell Sun article, the spark of Chiemruom’s entrepreneurial turn was the experience of paying for her daughter’s prom dress a few years ago. With many families–particularly in the Cambodian community–spending thousands of dollars annually on formal dresswear worn only a handful of times, she figured there has to be another way for women to look good while saving money.
Enter EforAll. The entrepreneurship-focused nonprofit organization has been accelerating economic and social impact through entrepreneurship in mid-sized cities since 2011. Chiemruom turned to EforAll to help her realize her vision for a new type of shop in Lowell that would specialize in consignment and rental of formal wear. She participated in a pitch contest in October 2017 at the Glory Buddhist Temple in Lowell before enrolling in the Winter 2018 accelerator program. She was also able to secure a loan from the Lowell Financial & Development Corporation to help get the new endeavor off the ground.
Now, just a few months later, her business officially launched with a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony at its Branch St location in the heart of Lowell’s Cambodia Town district.
Kravant Boutique is the first and only Khmer woman-owned rental and consignment boutique in the city of Lowell. The shop’s mission is to offer women access to beautiful elegant dresses at affordable prices. Simultaneously, creating a movement within the Khmer community that the renting and consignment of dresses is acceptable and should be appreciated.
On May 12th, Bora was joined by her family, friends, EforAll mentors and colleagues and Mayor Samaras for a grand opening celebration.
Through the EforAll program, Bora met three mentors who helped her in launching her new business, Gail Goodman, Hugh Kelly, and Matteo Forgione. Goodman, the founding CEO of ConstantContact recently posted a congratulations note to Bora on her blog.
Kravant Boutique also plans to collaborate with other small businesses and local organizations. One such collaboration is a partnership with Faces by Sophan for makeup services.
Kravant Boutique is located at 21 Branch St in Lowell with regular hours on Thursday-Sunday and available by appointment on Monday-Wednesday. For more information visit www.kravant.com