It took heartbreak in Carol Thibodeau’s life to push her to pursue her aspiration of opening her own clothing store.
Sitting at her grandmother’s funeral in February of 2014, Carol began thinking about the strong woman, who pursued her passions despite oppressive obstacles and never missed an opportunity to champion her granddaughter.
“She always encouraged me if I had a dream to go for it,” Carol said. “She always said to follow your dreams … Know that you’re strong. Go for what you want to go for; don’t fear stand in your way.”
Carol, now owner of Rhapsody Faith and Fashion at 108 S. Cherokee Ave. in downtown Claremore, had had a dream where she owned an online store, and despite little background in small business or retail, she jumped in head first.
“I opened a store in two weeks,” she said. “I had no idea about how to run an online store or about what to do, but I just did it … (My grandmother’s) influence on my life is what made me decide to take that step.”
Just two months later, things changed once again.
“Then one night I had another dream that I had my stuff in this hair salon,” she explained.
The next day at her hair appointment at Oasis Day Spa, Carol was explaining her story to the hairdresser when the spa’s owner walked in and announced she suddenly had space available. The whole spa stopped dead in its tracks.
“Three weeks later, I had a physical store,” Carol explained.
She moved to her current location in downtown Claremore in November of that same year.
“I wanted to be downtown because I love the Claremore downtown area,” she said. “When I looked at all the places I could be … this was the place I wanted to be.”
In addition to clothes Carol describes as boho chic, the store carries Christian T-shirts and accessories. Recently, the store added infant and toddler clothes.
Truly a family business, the store is adding on to include a spa feature, which is a passion of Carol’s daughter, Aimee. The spa will open in February of 2016 and will include massages and wraps, eventually adding facials and spray tans.
Carol said she loves her store because of the people she gets to meet and interact with daily.
“My favorite part has been my customers and getting to meet with people. I’ve had some of the most awesome conversations with people coming into my store. People just touch my heart,” she said. “I feel like I get to be a part of people’s lives. You get to know your customers, know their stories, and then you get to be a part of their stories.”