Kayla and Jenna Elko are still in awe that what started as a simple hobby at the beginning of quarantine last year has turned into the successful boutique and business they always dreamed of.
They first created Happy Soul Sisters a year ago, selling tie-dye clothing through Instagram that they created for fun while stuck at home in Forsyth County taking college classes online.
Then, as they started to promote their products on Instagram and through social media influencers, they started receiving hundreds of online orders. They could barely keep up with the number of messages and followers coming their way.
The two sisters said they couldn’t believe it. They had always dreamed of opening a store together one day, and they immediately took on the opportunity to grow Happy Soul Sisters into that dream come true.
“I love everything about this business,” Kayla said. “I would never want to give it up.”
For the past year, the two sisters have worked nonstop to grow the business while finishing school, and they have come a long way from the days last August tie-dying pieces in their parent’s garage.
Now, Happy Soul Sisters has become more than just a small hobby. Jenna and Kayla reached and surpassed many of the long-term goals they set for the business, and they have gotten to a point where they can live off sales from the website, reaching six figures in just under a year.
Their websitefeatures more than 300 different products, including jewelry, crewnecks, jackets, tank tops, shoes, accessories and more. They also recently released a new line of activewear, Sweat Souls, which Kayla said customers have loved so far.
Of course, they still offer classic tie-dye pieces, which come in more than a dozen different color combinations.
These pieces, still extremely popular after tie-dye caught on as a trend during the pandemic last year, bring attention to the Happy Soul Sisters Instagram page, which Kayla said they focus on growing every day.
She and Jenna both attribute much of their success to their platform and followers on the social media app. One of the sisters’ biggest goals was to reach 20,000 followers, which they were able to do before the one-year anniversary.
“It’s one thing that has helped us tremendously,” Kayla said. “Like one of our posts on Instagram …. reached 250,000 people. So that got us so many followers.”
Now, they have more than 24,000 followers, and Kayla said the number continues to grow by 100-200 each day.
Part of this growth comes from partnerships Kayla and Jenna have created with online influencers both on TikTok and Instagram.
They first started working with Libby Christensen, a fitness influencer and Gymshark athlete, a year ago. Soon after creating Happy Soul Sisters, they sent her a package of their clothes, hoping she might share them with her followers.
When Christensen shared a post featuring the clothes, their Instagram immediately blew up with hundreds of followers and messages.
From there, they started working with even more influencers, and the sisters have kept to those partnerships over the last year, especially focusing attention on TikTok.
They have since worked with influencers such as GiaNina Paolantonio, a TikToker and cast member on the TV show, ‘Dance Moms’; Bryn Sato, a lifestyle TikToker; Lilah Pate, an influencer and daughter of Jonas Pate, who directs popular Netflix series, ‘Outer Banks’; And Amber Lancaster, a model who also stars on the game show, ‘The Price is Right.’
Kayla said that Sato usually posts unboxing videos on TikTok where she opens packages of clothes, and each time she posts one of the videos, they end up with thousands of sales each day.
Similarly, Paolantonio occasionally posts TikTok videos of her dancing in her Happy Soul Sisters outfits, and Kayla says the videos always seem to blow up on the app.
“I was scrolling on TikTok — and it’s who you follow and then your For You page, and you just see random videos on your For You page — I saw all of them, and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh! That’s our outfit!’” Kayla said.
The sisters want to continue working with Sato and Paolantonio as long as they can, and they already plan to partner with Sato to help promote their upcoming new releases in the fall, including their new hoodie collection.
Looking forward to the future of Happy Soul Sisters, Jenna and Kayla want to continue growing the business both online and in the community.
Jenna recently graduated from school with her marketing degree, and she has since gone into a sales job with another company while Kayla plans to finish school in the next year. But the two plan to finally see their dreams of having a storefront come true in the next year after Kayla’s graduation.
In preparation for the next year of growth, the two are already looking for a warehouse where they’ll be able to store their merchandise — a huge step up from their parents’ garage.
“We started in my parents’ house, and we’re still there and we’ve outgrown it,” Kayla said.
In the meantime, they plan to connect more with shoppers in Forsyth County by getting out to different markets and events where they will be able to meet interested community members in person.
Kayla said there are a few events in the area coming up that they have already secured their spot in. The first event will be the Gibson Co. fall vendor event at The Collection on Oct. 2-3. Shoppers will be able to stop by and grab some Happy Soul Sisters clothes anytime between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
They will also be at another similar event at Cumming Baptist Church on Nov. 6.
“We’ve come a long way, and I hope we keep growing,” Kayla said.