Please note this interview was held before social distancing but we encourage you to visit Custard Boutique online and also be sure to follow along with Custard social media so you won’t miss any of the new collections. Tara Kirkland is one of those people you meet and instantly hope you can put some time on your calendar for cocktails to talk more. She is warm, inviting, knowledgeable and cool. It is more important now than ever to support the great people and establishments of Savannah.

Meet Tara Kirkland, the owner of Custard Boutique located in the Downtown Design District, as well as, a second physical location in Greenville, South Carolina. Custard first opened in Savannah in April of 2008, and has been providing locals and tourists alike with fashion-forward and unique clothing. Tara loves the stories behind the pieces she curates for the shop as much as the piece itself. You’ll find a diverse provision of styles and prices to compliment every lady and every lady’s shape. Custard prides themselves on helping women embellish their best assets, while reminding them what makes them unique. Custard keeps things local, eco-friendly and fun! Stop by to see their amazing collections of clothes, jewelry, bags and gift items.

What does a typical morning look like for you?

I have always been an earlier riser and since the shop doesn’t open until 10:30 am I can fit a lot in my mornings. I have the pleasure of living part time in two amazing but different cities, my typical mornings vary from day-to-day and city-to-city. The constant things in my Savannah mornings are dog walks, coffee, NPR and catching up on the phone with Bo (my husband who lives full time in Greenville, SC).

What do you love about Savannah?

One of my favorite things about Savannah is how walk-able the city is. The squares and parks offer the perfect amount of green space and in general, the city is so beautiful and has its own unique timing.  No one is ever in a hurry.

Do you have a typical go-to outfit when hitting the town?

I am a big fan of the effortlessly chic. I love a good wide leg pant. Wide leg culottes seem so chic to me, something about the flow when walking. I am a huge fan of movement, so the swish swish of the leg always puts me in the mood for walking.

The thing that makes you feel most accomplished?

I love the relationships I have built over the last 12 years, with my customers as well as my staff. It means so much to me that people allow us into their lives, not just their closets. I feel like we have offered a listening ear, as well as, celebration dresses, pick-me-up earrings or the blouse to hide the baby bump no one knows about but us. I love to be a part in people’s lives, even if it’s just something as simple as offering them time in a judgement free zone where they can be free to be themselves. I am also extremely proud of the relationships I have formed with former and current employees. I love that my reach is beyond the time spent in the store during shop hours. Seeing some of my awesome staff go on to accomplish what they’ve accomplished and knowing what other potential lies within them is amazing.

What are the summer trends for 2020?

Honestly, Custard isn’t about following trends and neither am I. I am all about what looks good and feels go to you/on you/for you. Just because a runway is showing something doesn’t mean it fits your lifestyle, budget or the climate we live in. Savannah is a special place in the summer and it is humid! So, no matter what someone else is saying is in style, I try to select items for Custard that I know will work for the people in the South.  That means breathable, organic and machine washable!

What inspired you to start Custard?

Originally when I was in middle school I wanted to open a shop that offered makeovers from head to toe, where people could get their hair and makeup done, and then get a new outfit. I made a magazine where I drew people with old and new hair, old and new outfits and even wrote reviews. For me, since the beginning it has always been about making people feel good in their own skin. I love that something as simple as a great fitting jean, new necklace or fun graphic tee has the ability to give us that extra pep in our step, bring us confidence in the job interview, make us feel attractive on that date or beautiful at our son’s wedding.

What’s one piece of advice you would give someone who wants to do what you do?

Treat others the way you want to be treated. And of course, be prepared to work hard.

If you had only one night to spend in Savannah…what would Tara Kirkland do?

Since my husband lives in Greenville full time, he doesn’t make it to Savannah often. I think back to a random night he was able to come down and how we spent the evening. Mostly walking from place to place, visiting with friends, dinner with my awesome staff at Green Fire Pizza and walking and sipping! Probably from this interview you’ve got the idea that I love my dogs and I love bringing them out in Savannah.  It’s such a dog friendly city!

My one evening would hopefully go like this…nice stroll though the park with the pups and grab a beer south of the park at The White Whale. Sunset snacks and beverage on the very dog friendly roof of the Perry Lane Hotel, then to dinner.  A few tasty places I frequent are Bella Napoli on State Street, they have clams in white wine sauce, a favorite of mine. I also love Catina Tulum for the grilled avocado and Tequila’s Town for margaritas. After dinner, when the weather is nice, I enjoy evening strolls and decaf from one of the local coffee shops. One of my favorite things about Savannah is how open and friendly this city is. It is easy to start out with a plan and then wind up at a roof top party of a strangers house or in a hidden garden having cocktails, or if you’re lucky, watching karaoke at McDonough’s.