By Megan Child

Keys jingle into the lock as Nicole Dougherty opens the doors to her beloved establishment early in the chilly, brisk morning. Ready to begin her busy day, she flips around the “closed” sign near the windowsill and sets up Posh North for business at 10 a.m. sharp. 

Upon strolling inside, z-racks lined with the latest fashion styles adorn the inside of local boutique Posh North. What began as an occupation to stay busy turned into one of the most successful exclusive shops throughout Scottsdale and North Phoenix.

Before she could take her first step, Dougherty always had a “passion for fashion” along with her mother who was also a business owner. 

“I think it was always in my blood to open up my own establishment,” Dougherty says.

Hailing from outside of Chicago, Dougherty and her family visited the inner city once or twice a month simply to go shopping. Thanks to her three sisters, Dougherty became a shopaholic in no time keeping up to date with modern trends and recent designs. 

Burned out from the tiresome corporate world and her brother-in-law’s death due to melanoma, Dougherty searched spray tanning to find healthier ways of adding color to the skin. She took a leap of faith and launched a mobile spray tanning business on New Year’s in 2011. 

“When I put my mind to something, I do it,” Dougherty says. 

As soon as her business took off, she thought a boutique would complement her spray tanning business. Dougherty met up with her Realtor and scoped out areas nearby, with her first retail shop—a consignment store—across the street from her home. 

With the consignment store, Dougherty found she had a knack for identifying specific styles women commonly search for. 

In 2012, she launched her own boutique that sold consignment and fresh apparel. When Norterra approached her in 2016, she jumped on the opportunity to offer it a new brand. 

 “I honestly didn’t think about it, I just said ‘OK, let’s try it out’,” Dougherty says. 

Dougherty started out on a temporary basis, but decided stay after finding success. Two years later, Scottsdale Fashion Square contacted her and offered her a spot. 

“The hours over there weren’t necessarily boutique hours, but it was a great experience and I pulled through in the end,” Dougherty said.

She left Fashion Square in April 2019 and opened a second Post North in Gainey Village in Scottsdale. Her 2020 goal is to stay put and add inventory and refurbish her website. 

“If you really want to work for yourself, you have to sit down, come up with a plan, and decide what you want to do,” Dougherty says. 

Luckily, success followed her in Gainey Village, which has resulted in very little hiccups along the way. Running the shops, however, has given her perspective on handling and interacting with customers, especially the difficult ones. 

“I was naive in the fact that my boutiques were going to be a cool hangout every day, which for most part they are, considering the amazing customers I’ve had, making the job even more enjoyable,” Dougherty says.

Owning a boutique came naturally to Dougherty. Even her friends teased her about her contemporary sense of style and trendy ways when she was younger. At the time, she regarded her love for fashion to be more of a hobby she enjoyed rather than a full-time career. 

“I never thought about being my own business owner because most people during their youth think about graduating and working for a company that pays good money and offers benefits,” Dougherty said. 

However, life finds a way Dougherty works with different vendors, buys her own inventory in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, and collaborates with signature brands. She possesses a vast collection of clothing lines ranging from small boutique brands to major name brands such as Z-Supply and Brightons. Dougherty also markets an extensive array of her own stylish apparel, handbags and shoes. Eventually, she expanded to gift items and jewelry. She often switches out her ladies’ apparel but keeps the prices moderate. 

 “My customers would say, ‘Every time I come in here, something is different,’ which basically goes back to my roots of constant change,”  Dougherty says. 

When entering a new season, Dougherty accepts new arrivals every week and later down the line, she plans on extending the type of attire she sells, such as creating a selection for active wear. 

Dougherty is involved in her stores to familiarize herself with customers, understanding their interests and preferences. If there is an item a customer is actively searching for and the boutique doesn’t have it, Dougherty goes out of her way to help her client. She appreciates all of her customers and when they enjoy shopping at her boutique, she feels a sense of pride and fulfillment.

“I am very passionate about my boutiques and I put a lot of effort into making them a fun and great place to shop,” Dougherty says.

Posh North Boutique, Shops at Norterra, 2480 W. Happy Valley Road, Suite 1202, Phoenix, 602.460.5485, poshnorth.com.

Additional location: Posh North Boutique, The Shops at Gainey Village, 8787 N. Scottsdale Road, Suite 114, Scottsdale, 602.460.5485, poshnorth.com.