A Boutique of Inspiration
Seated on a beautiful metallic upholstered couch, U& I Boutique owner, Maya Ozokur, is deciphering through pictures to publish for her upcoming Spring look book. The decor in the store is just as amazing as the clothing and accessories being sold.
From the black and white accent walls and curtains, to the little touches of yellow staged all around the store, U&I boutique embodies elegance and chic. With the help of a beautiful chandelier hanging up by her lounge section, the ambiance is impeccable; her clothing and decor impressed me immediately, however, it was the spirit of this Bosnian refugee turned local business woman that had me completely engaged.
Q: Thank you so much for doing this interview and your store is amazing but before we get into what U&I stands for, let us know some background about yourself.
A: I am originally from Bosnia and when I was six years old, my family and I escaped to Germany and lived there for seven years. My family and I moved to the U.S. when I was thirteen years old, where I attended high school in Mobile and went on to Auburn University. I feel like it is such a cliche thing to say but I’ve truly loved the art of fashion all of my life. Unfortunately, I did not pursue it in school but I’ve had opportunities to work in the fashion industry to find out if fashion is my calling.
Q: What inspires you in fashion?
A: I recently learned that one of the bags Dior sells was originally made for Princess Diana and the reason they made it was so that no one could look inside her purse; the hardware of the purse was made so immaculately that everything was undetectable; so things like that inspire me so much more to move forward in my business and to bring quality unique pieces to my customers.
Q: Who is your favorite designer right now?
A: Oh gosh! I have always loved Chanel since I was a little girl. I’ve seen her movie over a thousand times and reviewed her story. I connect to her in so many ways with her coming from a background similar as mine and not giving up on her dream.
Q: What does U&I stand for to you?
A: U&I has definitely evolved from what I created, but U&I is about intimate relationships and what we give back to our customers. I don't even tend to call them customers because they are our family. U&I is a place to be uplifted and to give back.
Q: What is next for U&I?
A: I definitely see the next step for U&I is opening more stores and expanding our social media. Hopefully, launching a website and having it up and running soon. I want to always push the limits and bring things that other boutiques do not carry.
With two stores in Mobile and Auburn, AL, Maya took full advantage of the opportunity her husband, Nazmi, gave her. She puts her all into whatever she is doing and takes every challenge head on.
One thing Maya wants her customers to remember about their U&I experience is how great they felt when they made their purchase and how they left U&I making a new friend.
“Our mission statement is really to be the best of ourselves every single day to encourage people to be the best of themselves.”- Maya Oozokur