Couple Opens Unique Boutique With Portion of Profits Helping Women in Need
Photographer: Erin Feldmeyer
“I was burnt out from my day job and had always dreamed of opening up a boutique that sold cute women’s clothing,” Kimmie says. Originally from Houston, Texas —“where there’s a boutique on every corner,” — one day she announced to her husband, “I’m doing it!” And she was off and running —starting First Harvest on a wing and a prayer.
Technically, their first-ever introduction to the public was at the Center Grove Craft Fair. Following that event, they started selling at other craft fairs, then managed a pop-up store at Clay Terrace for a couple of months before doing an online store launch in September 2016.
The name First Harvest was chosen from a bible passage: Proverbs 3:9, which encourages giving the first of your harvest to the Lord.
“We decided when we went into this venture that if we were going to start a business, we were going to be sure that it was meaningful and worthwhile from the giving back standpoint,” says Matt, noting that for years they had been faithful stewards to the Mercy Multiplied ministry, which helps women, free of charge, recover spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally from abuse, addictions or sex trafficking. The Bridges faithfully donate 10 percent of their profits to Mercy Multiplied.
“It made sense that if we’re going to sell women’s clothing, we wanted to give back to women who need it the most,” Kimmie says. Their tagline is both catchy and appropriate: “Give more. #lookgoodgiving.”
Though the couple had no experience in retail, sales or merchandising, they jumped in with both feet and an open heart.
“I was honestly scared to death that we might not sell a single item,” Kimmie says.
Turns out, she had nothing to fear.
“We had about 60 items, and we sold out of almost everything in the first day,” she says.
They opened their first store at the Fashion Mall at Keystone. In August of this year, they opened store number two at the Greenwood Park Mall.
The couple is excited about the Greenwood location — not only to bring First Harvest back home for Matt (a 2007 Center Grove graduate) but also because it offers a unique shopping experience for patrons.
“We studied the market and were confident that people would appreciate having something like this on the south side,” Matt says. “It’s a different shopping experience from anything else that’s here.”
Last year, Matt and Kimmie were named finalists in Forbes 30 Under 30.
“We are proud to represent the Midwest,” Matt says. “Especially considering that 95 percent of the winners are from the east and west coast.”
Future plans include launching the brand nationally but that likely won’t be until spring or later.
“We want to establish ourselves on the south side of Indy,” says Matt, who admits that he never envisioned getting into the women’s clothing business. Yet, he and his wife seem to have found their sweet spot.
“Honestly it’s been a good fit for Kimmie and I. We partner really well together,” says Matt, who helps with interviewing employees, shipping and logistics.
Several times a year the couple travels together to Dallas, Las Vegas, Chicago and Los Angeles to hand-pick their items.
“We try and select fashion-forward pieces that you can’t find anywhere else,” says Matt, noting that their First Harvest designs are theirs.
Though the couple has no kids, they do have a 5-year-old Valley Bulldog named Tarzan who is half boxer and half English bulldog.
“He’s spoiled,” Matt says.
The verse that follows Proverbs 3:9 states that if you give your harvest, your barns will be overflowing, meaning that prosperity follows faithfulness.
“It’s cool to see what God has been doing in our lives,” Matt adds. “So many people have come behind us to help us out and make First Harvest what it is right now.”
First Harvest in Greenwood is open 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sundays. For more information, visit shopfirstharvest.com.