Photography: Sarah Brooke Lyons
Passion, faith and unwavering support from family and friends have helped Victoria Santoscoy turn her vision into a reality with Evolve Boutique.
At the tender age of 24, Santoscoy has managed to run an upscale, trendy boutique that is garnering a lot of press and attention throughout the San Antonio community.
Evolve has only been open for a few months, but it has generated the kind of reputation and consumer attention that rivals other boutiques. The trendy styles, authentic merchandise and service attract current and potential customers not only to shop, but to enjoy an experience. Every aspect of the store from the color scheme and fashion trends to customer service is designed to give the customer an optimal shopping experience unlike any other.
The name of the boutique came from the word, “love,” backwards with a series of hidden and deep meanings. “Evolve stands for love God, love people, and that resonates from our merchandise to employees,” Santoscoy says.
The passionate environment and concept put into this business make it “more than just fashion.” Santoscoy believes that “retail is service,” and involving herself in a boutique like this allows her to be part of the community and impact others globally through the merchandise sold in her store.
The logo is intertwined with a dragonfly, which Santoscoy says “represents seeing beyond your own limitations because a dragonfly can see in all 360 degrees.” The purple dressing rooms and accent color in the store derives from Proverbs 31, which intensifies Santoscoy’s vision and inspiration for carrying fair trade products.
Fair trade is one of the principles Santoscoy advocates for in her store by selling merchandise from countries like India, Thailand and Africa, as well as local merchants of San Antonio that meet the fair trade concept. Santoscoy is very passionate about equal rights and fair pay; she takes pride in being able to sell items that come from organizations that honor these values.
Evolve came from a “spark in the heart” by Santoscoy, a Baylor graduate. After learning the fair trade concept in a class taught by Jimmy Dorrell, she was inspired to incorporate this method into a “store that could be a part of the community – a place you would gladly call a neighbor.”
It’s not just about clothes for this entrepreneur. She believes “what someone clothes themselves in is intimate, and being able to assist in this process is a humbling experience.”
She came full circle with her vision through a “business partnership” with God, which she made a staple principle of the boutique from the name to the goods sold. What started her business from the ground up was a written business plan she highly recommends for young entrepreneurs. “You need to be able to communicate your business through written format in order to devise a plan for implementation.”
As a businesswoman, faith, determination and perseverance are the essential skills Santoscoy feels can make a young, aspiring entrepreneur a business owner. Incorporating her personal beliefs in every single aspect of the store keeps a warm, inviting atmosphere that leaves customers with a sense of “strength and dignity” that not only keeps them coming back, but bringing their friends, as well.
Santoscoy designed the store with a “home-like” ambiance to resonate a comfortable atmosphere. She carefully chose couches and inviting colors to ease her customers into the aura of Evolve.
Evolve is a “girly store” Santoscoy says “has personality which reflects the array of products.” The store holds the latest trends and has apparel designers from L.A. to Paris and everything in between. There are outfits for every occasion from rhinestone jeans to cocktail dresses.
A unique jewelry line only available at Evolve comes from local designer Marlo Mullins. Santoscoy also carries authentic Ugandan beads, the proceeds of which go toward Kirabo Seeds, a local organization that operates an orphanage in Uganda, Africa.
The marketing strategy Santoscoy lives by is using the community to help advertise the store. This concept is based on the high value Evolve places on customer service that is prevalent to each employee. Evolve uses connections with large companies in San Antonio and places itself within the community to truly help others embody what the store is about.
Evolve maintains a diverse demographic that ranges from high school students to mid-40s, giving it a large range that accommodates all types of women. It offers personal styling for each and every customer who enters the store free of charge and no matter the occasion or accessory.
Santoscoy is a Helotes, Texas, native who enjoys spending time with her fiancé, large family and friends, and staying involved at Community Bible Church. At this particular time in her life, she is soaking in the fun adventure of planning her wedding with her fiancé, Travis Mayfield. The couple will be married this September.
She describes her life as a business owner as “a humbling and fulfilling way to grow her relationship with Christ and serve her community and Lord.” She believes being a young entrepreneur is “a blessing in which most young adults are not granted the opportunity. This dream could not have come to fruition without the support of my parents.”
Her father and grandfather are her largest inspirations who provide key mentorship in the entirety of her business development.
Evolve will continue to thrive and make a name for itself as it expands and ventures into the San Antonio community and possibly other large Texas cities. The positivity and faith that surround the store make it very original and inviting to customers of all backgrounds, whether you go to shop, browse or have a nice chat with an employee.
Santoscoy has truly created something of real substance and foundation that others can enjoy.