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Sookie Sookie | Hutto
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Sookie Sookie | Hutto
HUTTO — Hutto artist Susan Boyles wore one of her handmade necklaces while dining in downtown Austin one evening when a woman in the restaurant offered to buy the piece on the spot for $50 cash.
Sookie is for Susan
The name of the boutique, Sookie Sookie, comes from the nickname artist Susan Boyles’ grandmother gave her as a child. Growing up, her grandmother had had a childhood friend named Susan who everyone called Sookie, and the endearing name stuck on Susan.
While Boyles did not sell her molded clay cross pendant and turquoise beads right off her neck, she did offer to fill a special order for the woman.
That is how Boyles sold her first piece of custom jewelry. Inspired, she consigned several of her necklaces at Hippie Cowgirl in Georgetown and Oo La La boutique in Pflugerville. They sold out in both locations. The owners encouraged Boyles to offer her wares to other retailers on the wholesale market.
“They are the ones who inspired me to go to market,” Boyles said of the wholesale merchandise show Dallas Market.
Now, about three years later, she takes nearly eight orders a week to stock the shelves of approximately 400 stores across the country with Sookie Sookie jewelry and products. She not only makes necklaces, but also earrings, bracelets and hand-painted cowgirl hats.
Recently, Boyles upgraded from her industrial production building on Front Street to a storefront in downtown Hutto. Sookie Sookie boutique opened on East Street July 10, brimming with her own products as well as trendy home décor, several clothing lines and Western boots. The historic building had enough space behind the retail area to house her workshop, too, where she and three employees create Sookie Sookie jewelry.
“It’s really fun to see how it’s grown over the years and months,” she said.
Despite being a trained artist, Boyles said she never would have dreamed her businesses would reach this scale. After graduating with a fine arts degree from Texarkana College, Boyles lived in East Texas and began working from home part time as an interior decorator and contract artist. The palm-size clay pendants she created much for her own enjoyment after moving to Hutto in 2002 became a signature element of Sookie Sookie jewelry design.
Though her style has become popular on the retail market, Boyles said all her pieces are one of a kind, and she is still proud to wear it.
“It doesn’t feel like work to me at all,” she said. “I can come in here every day and pick out something really nice to wear.”
And these days, if a customer happens to like a piece she is wearing, Boyles will sell the item right off her neck.
101 East St., Ste. A
Mon.–Fri. 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Sat. 10 a.m.–4 p.m.