Like Wildfire: Local Boutique Blossoms with Eco-Friendly Touch
What did you think was next for you when you graduated high school? For Emily McCarty, graduating from Central High School in 2017 led her to become interested in business and marketing, eventually leading to the opening of her very own store.
Wildfire Boutique in Martinsburg opened its doors in October of 2019 and the owner, Emily McCarty, knew this was what she wanted to do after working at her first retail job. “I really enjoy interacting with customers. My favorite part of it, though, would have to be marketing. My former boss allowed me to work with a side of the business that I never really saw before, outside of the sales store. That’s where I was like, ‘This is something I want to do.’” The name itself, Wildfire, was a name McCarty knew she wouldn’t grow out of. After discussing it with her former boss, they agreed it was a timeless name that wasn’t focused too much on being trendy with the times.
If you were to browse around her store, it wouldn’t just be clothes and accessories. McCarty has a keen eye for products that are both unique, in with the latest styles, but also local and American made. Finding products and pieces at shows, she even finds unique makers on social media, especially on Instagram. “Only 3% of clothing is made in the United States,” McCarty says, “and, granted, it’s been hard to find, but I am trying my best to find those pieces of apparel.” Her special interest in American made clothing and products reassure shoppers that, as a shop owner, she cares about the products she carries being dependable and long-lasting.
When she first started with the idea of opening a store, McCarty commented on her relationship with eco-friendly products. Even though they weren’t on her radar at first, she later found herself more driven to find these products for her customers around July of 2019. “I was looking at the waste I was producing in my personal life and I thought that should go hand in hand with my business.” Two of the unique, eco-friendly products are shampoo bars and makeup erasers. The shampoo bars come in compostable packaging, contain no harsh chemicals, are cruelty-free, work on color-treated hair, and are made in the USA.
The makeup erasers are another useful and environmentally friendly product she has in stock and has had to re-order on multiple occasions. “Instead of using disposable cotton rounds that you’d use once and throw away,” she says, “these makeup erasers last three to five years. For use, you just add cold water. All you need to do to clean them is throw them in the washing machine. They take off all your makeup, even the stubborn waterproof kind.” Both of these products are available in-store and on her website!
Since Wildfire opened in October of 2019, McCarty could have never predicted that five months later, she would be forced to close her stores due to a pandemic. COVID-19 made many of the stores, small businesses, and mom-and-pop shops close in the Martinsburg area. McCarty found herself being hopeful during that uncertain time. “I luckily had an online store to give me a little bit of a bounce through the 50 days I was closed. It was nice to have that to rely on. But online sales don’t do nearly as well as in-person sales. I think a lot of people like to touch their clothes and try them on before buying. So, as far as online, eco-friendly products and other accessories did much better than my clothing.”
With some of the counties moving to the yellow phase, McCarty has been offering local delivery and free shipping over $20. Many people who are avid shoppers have been taking advantage of them. It’s still uncertain times, especially for areas like Martinsburg. “Everyone is struggling in their own way,” McCarty says, “Martinsburg is more of a rural area. I don’t believe a lot of the retail businesses, like myself, have those online platforms to use, which really created a struggle for them.” She has high hopes for the future though and is excited to have a bit of normalcy come back into her community.
A continued goal for McCarty is to educate her customers on why it’s good to take both an eco-friendly approach to help eliminate waste and to find products that are made in the USA. “Because they are American made,” she says, “the price tag can be a little more expensive. I know some people won’t pay that but I want them to always be aware of other options.” With the American made products, it’s the quality and time that is put into making them. That’s what matters most!
Emily McCarty is an inspiring, young, small business owner who has a keen eye for good, quality products and wants what is best for her customers. Her store is currently still offering free local delivery, curbside pick up and free shipping over $20 on her website. If you’re interested in checking out what she has in store, visit her website, social media, and storefront below. Thank you so much for your time, Emily! From First Frontier Forward to you, we wish for your business to have nothing but success in the future!
Store Address: 518 S Market Street Martinsburg, Pennsylvania 16662