I first met this month’s Badass Babe when she delivered a piece of furniture to my mom’s house a few months ago. The second she left, I told my mom that all I wanted to do was be her friend. Tamara Hudson radiates passion. Her energy is contagious. I knew right away that this was a person I wanted to get to know.
Tamara owns Encore, a boutique in Shawnee. In its thirteen years, Encore has had many faces. What started as a consignment furniture shop quickly evolved.One location was for furniture and a second location, Encore Too, was a clothing boutique. The two locations merged into a larger store, with furniture and clothing together. And as of last Saturday, it’s transformed again.
Encore is more than just a locally owned boutique, especially now with its latest update. You can still stop by and find unique pieces of furniture, clothing, and jewelry, but now you can also learn how to restore and reimagine furniture yourself. Encore is not just a store. Encore is absolutely an experience, and that’s just how Tamara wants it.
Tamara was born and raised in Kansas City.
“Kansas City is just so cool,” she explained, “there’s everything you’d ever want here. You just have to know where to find it.”
She found her passion here. Her father would take her shopping at the locally owned boutiques in downtown Overland Park to buy outfits for her mom. She always knew that she wanted to own a business. Even though she went to school for teaching, that dream never left her. Even in high school, she talked about one day opening her own store.
She’s more than just a business owner. The opportunity arose to introduce a new paint line to Encore, Amy Howard At Home. It’s since taken off. There’s hundreds of thousands of pins dedicated to the line on Pinterest. But at the beginning, it was more than just committing to buying regular shipments of paint. In addition to regular shipments, you also had to commit to attending trainings at their headquarters in Memphis. This was in the middle of bridge construction in the downtown Shawnee area. Businesses were hurting. Encore’s sales were down. That was money that Tamara didn’t have.
But that’s the thing about Tamara. I noticed it with every story she shared with me. She embodies the saying, “fortune favors the bold.” And Tamara is nothing if not bold.
So she was honest. She said she wanted to take on this line, but didn’t have the ability to make the $10,000 (plus $2,500, minimum, for training) all at once. So they gave her a deal. Pay for the shipments one at a time, and get the training in Kansas City.
When the Amy Howard website officially listed Encore as a location to purchase their line, people were excited. They flocked to Encore to get their hands on it. Tamara was excited too. She was excited to learn everything she could and to teach her customers the best way to utilize the product. Amy Howard took notice. They decided that Tamara needed to be in Memphis for the full experience.
Tamara was again overwhelmed with a decision. Could she afford the trip? Long story short, if she agreed to take a few other local girls with her to the training, her trip costs would be covered. Talk about the bold, and passionate, being favored.
As of October 8th, you can now visit Encore and take a hands on class with Tamara and learn techniques for using the Amy Howard paint. These moments are Tamara’s favorite thing. She wants to teach you to create the piece of your dreams.
“To empower someone to create that piece for themselves, when it all comes together and I see it click for them, that’s a freaking high,” Tamara told me. And I believe it. It’s why she’s so successful. She is driven to share that high with others.
When we were wrapping up our conversation, I asked her what I ask every Badass Babe, what makes someone a badass?
“A badass is someone who believes in themselves,” she said, “they just fucking go for it. You keep on, you keep steady. You go for it.”
When Tamara was telling me the Amy Howard story, she shared that her initial reaction to being asked about joining the Amy Howard team was, “yeah, I can do anything.” Talk about bold. And it’s true.
You can meet Tamara, and experience Encore for yourself at their new location at 11004 Johnson Drive in Downtown Shawnee.