SoulFly Boutique and Lounge Owner: Deborah Buggs

Saturday, 29 August 2009 14:45 Written by  Shameka V. Robinson

For many people, owning a business and/or aspiring to be an entrepreneur may seem impossible. For some business owners, keeping their doors open to the public is a major concern, especially at a time when their motto may be “make more and spend less.”


SoulFly Owner Deborah Buggs & Double Stitch

SoulFly Shop-N-Lounge business owner Deborah Buggs advises business leaders to stay motivated. “In this economy, if it’s possible for you to hang on, hang on because it’s not going to always be bad.”

With faith, determination and having a desire to be her own boss, Buggs, 59, with daughter Ayana Grey, 35, son-in-law Randall Grey, 35, and their friend Rahsaan Martin, 29, opened the boutique with the belief that fashion and style are not limited to clothing.

“My daughter Ayana and friend Stacy Hill came up with the name; wanting the name to have soul and the clothes to be fly, so we were able to use that name and trademark it,” she said.

The boutique officially opened on October 20, 2007, and since then SoulFly has supported and promoted upcoming artists, singers and organizations, and has hosted several spoken word events.

“We also do model calls, casting calls, plays, focus groups, business meetings, etc. We consider all of Chicago our community,” said Buggs.

Known as comfortable, fashionable, urban, and chic, it’s certainly not your everyday boutique.

The company offers a mix of affordable men and women’s apparel and accessories from established designers and some high-end brands.


Buggs admits in the beginning she and her daughter were scared to open the store but always had a passion to be involved in clothing. “My daughter and I always wanted a clothing store. When I was living in Arkansas, I was going to open one, but it just wasn’t enough market there,” Buggs explained, stating that when she came home, finding a job was trouble. Her daughter said, “Mama, we’re going to open a store and create you a job.”

The distinctions between other boutiques and SoulFly are that they sell a display of hand-made jewelry and that selling products of quality is what they thrive on.

“When you shop at SoulFly, you don’t see yourself coming and going,” said Buggs. She suggested that if a person buy a pair of jeans at SoulFly, “you’re not going to see them everywhere, [like] the PGI jean which is becoming popular, but it’s not sold everywhere.”

She mentioned being part of the clothing business is not always easy, stating that they work their way through the tough times they experience. “I’ve learned that the clothing business can be tricky. I’ve learned that people who shop at boutiques are different from the people who shop at malls,” said Buggs.

Buggs also desires to become heavily involved with youth. She wants to teach an informational workshop or class at the boutique for anyone aspiring to become an entrepreneur. “A lot of kids think that being an entrepreneur is something that is out of their reach,” said Buggs. “I would like to help young people understand that being an entrepreneur doesn’t mean you have to be filthy rich or know the president of the United States.”

She hopes to see SoulFly expand to even greater potential. “I hope to see another store in another part of the city. I would really like to see us with our own brand and serving a more diverse community,” said Buggs.

SoulFly Shop-N-Lounge is located at 11614 S. Western Ave in the Beverly/Morgan Park area in Chicago. For more information, visit or .

Shameka V. Robinson

Shameka V. Robinson

Shameka V. Robinson is an aspiring lifestyle writer and television host who graduated from Columbia College Chicago earning a Bachelor’s of Arts in Magazine Writing and Editing. As a staff writer for GlossMagazineOnline, she’s also written articles for Urban Influence Magazine and Currently, she’s a contributing writer for the online version of the Chicago Defender.

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