Tonyan Grace boutique focuses on empowering women
By Liz Moomey
SALISBURY — Tonyan Schoefield considers herself a serial entrepreneur.
Since the age of 17, she has been involved in business whether it was making hats, selling jewelry or having a retail store. After surviving breast cancer, Schoefield decided to start Tonyan Grace, a boutique focused on empowering curvy women.
“I feel like Tonyan Grace is a second lease on life because this is my second lease on life,” Schoefield said.
Her goal is for her customers to leave her store feeling empowered.
We’re a classy store,” Schoefield said. “When you see a girl from Tonyan Grace, you know they’re showing up. They’re going to own the room. We build confidence.”
Schoefield was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer on Oct. 6, 2011, and began treatments that November. Five years later, she started a mobile boutique traveling around North Carolina out of a truck.
“This store actually started after I was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer,” Schoefield said. “One of the things that I wanted to do because I was only given a year to live is after I got to my five year mark. I said ‘hey it’s time you do something different.’ I’ve always kind of dibbled and dabbled in retail and businesses. … After I was diagnosed with cancer, I opened up a store. That’s been the dream. I’m loving it.”
Schoefield was a curvy girl and wanted a place for women to shop and buy something that fit well. She has sizes 10 to 28
“I felt that we had a niche and our niche is curvy girls,” she said. “A lot of times our curvy girls really don’t have a lot of places to shop and if they shop online, when they receive their products, it’s not true to size. So I wanted to have a boutique where they could come in and have what I call the Tonyan Grace experience where they can come in and we can actually help them with their sizing.”
Schoefield said she has always had a passion for fashion.
“I’m a lover of fashion,” she said. “I love fashion. I love hair. I love makeup. I love lashes. I love fashion. This is me everyday. I love fashion. I used to get a lot of compliments about my attire. I always did something that was outside of the box. I’m very much a girly girl. I’m a 1950s woman. I love the look of femininity.”
She said she always loved how her grandmother dressed.
“If it wasn’t for 2018, I would probably be still wearing gloves and carrying a small clutch, because that’s the era,” Schoefield said. “My grandmother was my inspiration. She was a very, very fashionable woman and as a little girl, I just would love laying on her, because I loved her perfume. Even now as an adult woman, at 50 myself, I want to leave something as a legacy for our younger ladies to just keep the look of femininity.”
Her store isn’t just a place for people to buy clothes or home care, it also can be an escape for people with cancer to have some time to relax. Her vision, the Grace Room, has affirmations on the wall.
“Our first room is called our Grace Room,” she said. “Our Grace Room is for our cancer patients who have gone through any level of cancer whether its breast cancer, liver cancer, and you just need a break. We have what we call a prayer wall, because I am a cancer survivor. I really believe in encouragement and support when people are going through such a traumatic time. Our Grace Room is where you can come, you don’t have to purchase anything, just sit down and take a minute.”
In January, she will begin carrying prosthesis and mastectomy bras after she completes her certification.
Since opening her boutique in August, Schoefield said she has been welcomed by the downtown Salisbury community.
“My recommendation if anyone wants to start a business should come to Salisbury,” Schoefield said. “This is a great location. We’re right off the interstate. We’re very much centrally located. I love being here. The people have been very receptive. My neighbors are very receptive. Me and Caniche— I call us the anchor stores on this end — we’ve done a lot together.”
For more information, visit her newly launched website www.tonyangraceboutique.com. The boutique is located at 210 S. Main Street. Her hours are Tuesday to Friday at 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.