Christine Rinkert’s boutique is the go-to for busy women who want to look good and shop local. She has a self-proclaimed love affair with business, customers, clothes and her community, which shines in the spirit of Luna’s, her Cornelius shop. Her path to retail started in 2001 with a handwritten note to Luna’s owner hoping to help out a few hours a week. She did, and they later became business partners. Christine’s warm smile, attention to detail and Goldie Hawn-like looks make everyone feel welcome. In 2012, she took over as sole proprietor of Luna’s and has infused her passion for art and fashion into her mission of more than just selling clothes. Welcome Christine Rinkert as today’s FACE of Charlotte!
Were you always headed for a career in retail?
I knew nothing about the business of retail until I came to work at Luna’s. I came from an administrative background in the legal field — some skill sets transferred, but the rest comes from an eagerness to learn and a pure love of fashion and design. I used to save my money to shop at Luna’s, so I’ve been on both sides of the counter and knew this was something I wanted to be a part of.
At lot of upscale clothing boutiques didn’t survive the recession. To what do you attribute your continued success?
First of all, you have to love what you do. The people who choose to spend their hard-earned money here feel the passion that I put into my business and choose to continue to shop here. We rode the wave with our clients, bought smarter and kept the connection. There is a loyal customer base at Luna’s, and this has continued to expand with the growth in the Charlotte region.
Luna’s has a store within a store; tell us about that …
I felt like I needed to up my game in shoes and jewelry and couldn’t take that on. So Anita Madalozzo, a friend who worked with me when I needed extra help, had an interest, so I invited her to bring accessories to Luna’s. Blonde Faith, her mix of designer jewelry and shoes, has been a beautiful addition to the shop.
What do you believe sets Luna’s apart?
My mission has always been more than selling clothes. While I carry beautiful brands like Nicole Miller, Autumn Cashmere, Bailey 44 and Hudson, that’s not what differentiates us. We use our space wisely. We invite groups to share experiences with us — from Pilates classes and painting parties to multi-level yoga workshops. Bringing people together in the store creates a connection that’s authentic and better than any advertising I could ever do. People remember their experiences.
I also strongly believe in supporting local charities. We have a great relationship with the Children’s Hope Alliance. I help out with their event committee to raise money and awareness. Every fall we host a coat drive at the store, where my clients donate funds and I reward their generosity by giving them gift cards to shop. We’ve raised thousands for foster families to purchase new coats for their kids.
What would people be surprised to know about the fashion business?
Staying ahead of trends takes a lot of time and research. I read a lot, follow designers and have a great relationship with my reps. When I added men’s clothing a few years ago, a lot of thought went into how to make that a success and how to ensure that men are comfortable walking into what’s primarily known as a woman’s boutique. Finding the perfect balance between style and trend is necessary to be successful, and it’s so much more than just ordering clothes.
Your passion for art is part of the store. How did your love of art begin?
One of my very close friends was an artist, and I spent a lot of time with her when our girls were young. Her creative spirit inspired me to mix my love of fashion with art — and they fit perfectly together! Art inspires me and makes me happy, so I commissioned pieces for the store from a local artist named Kent Youngstrom. We have partnered on many things since then — from hosting painting parties to sharing his creativity in painting jeans at our annual beach party in the store. He also sells his art at Luna’s now. But my favorite is when we took a group of children from the foster care community at Barium Springs to his studio to paint. Loving art is one thing, sharing it is a whole different kind of joy.
How do you hope people feel when they leave Luna’s?
Customers stop in for all reasons — some are on a mission to find something special, some are browsing or buying a gift, and others just want to relax and talk. Whatever the reason I want women to feel a little prettier, a little happier and a lot of self-love when they leave.
Where can we find you hanging out in your spare time?
Probably on a trail somewhere. I love hiking and find great peace in the mountains. Living in the Charlotte area, we are a short drive from the Blue Ridge Mountains, and I find a lot of great trails throughout the Piedmont area.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
My mom always taught me to give people the benefit of the doubt. I put that advice into action daily — you never know what kind of a day someone has had or what’s behind a decision they made. I truly believe my mom had it right.
Name three lighthearted things you can’t live without.
I’d have to say my lacy unmentionables, champagne and my phone to keep me connected to the people I love.
Luna’s is located at 19732 One Norman Blvd., Cornelius, NC 28031. Learn more at (704) 892-1004 or lunasatthelake.com.
Special shout-out to Piper Warlick of Piper Warlick Photography for today’s amazing photos.