- Erica Ponder
Fashion, Family, Faith: How Houston boutique owner Martha E. Berry turned a negative into a positive
HUMBLE — The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on most business owners across the country. From closures to changes in hours, business owners have been forced to figure out what the next move is. Martha E. Berry, the owner of IMarE Boutique, activated her faith and fashion sense to make sure her dream would not die during what has been an uncertain time for many.
She is Martha E. Berry of IMarE Boutique and IMarE Glam House. Photo Credit: HTX Visualz
Berry has successfully owned IMarE Boutique for the past four years. From Goo Goo Atkins, Tasha Cobbs Leonard and Kierra Sheard, her brand has been worn by some of the best and most beautiful women we know and love. Martha has created a lane for providing trendy clothing to the plus size audience and was left with no choice but to close her boutique storefront. However, it was her relationship with God that helped her to order her steps, which would eventually lead to the opening of her photography studio, which she calls the Glam House.
Martha E. Berry and her beautiful family enter the grand opening. Photo Credit: HTX Visualz
The Glam House is a high-end photography studio that offers over eight sets to fit your needs for any occasion. During the grand opening Saturday, guests were able to explore all of the sets, meet Berry, enjoy lite-bites, music, and special guests.
“It has not been an easy journey. It’s been hard, but I make it look easy. But with God, all things are possible,” Martha told her guests.
Martha gave her guests the “real, real” Saturday, telling them that her lease on her boutique was initially left at $24,000, leaving her trying figure out what to do. After speaking to someone, Martha received a call five minutes later saying that she only had to pay $4,000, a huge decrease from the initial amount. Inspection problems with the initial owners of the building led to a purchase that gave her the IMarE Glam House.
Martha doing a giveaway at the grand opening of IMarE Glam House. Photo Credit: HTX Visualz
“God did this,” Martha proclaimed. From seeing the cross-shaped oil marks across her building, it is absolutely believable.
“I’m just really ecstatic with everything,” Martha said. “It’s still shocking that I was blessed to have this during the pandemic, but we are open for business… I feel eager to see what’s going to happen.”
Martha with a few of her guests. Photo Credit: HTX Visualz
The idea of having a photography studio stems from Martha being the face of her boutique. Traveling back and forth to different studios can become strenuous and not having the clothing and materials there, if needed, can be a lot. Martha wanted to prevent those issues by having a space that would allow her to already have everything she needed in one spot. What was supposed to be her little studio eventually became a big space that is now open to the public. In addition to Glam House bookings, clients have been calling Martha for her styling expertise, which is something she plans to implement in the near future.
Martha after sharing a moment with one of her favorite mentees. Photo Credit: HTX Visualz
Martha credits her family for the support and not allowing her to give up during this hard time of dealing with the woes of the pandemic, saying her husband and family believed “COVID ain’t stopping anything.” The statement couldn’t be further from the truth as she’s hit record sales that she didn’t even see before the pandemic.
Martha posing with her husband, Elliott Berry. Photo Credit: HTX Visualz
“The funny this is I got the warehouse two weeks before COVID, so when our business shut down, I had already ordered like two month’s worth of clothes,” she revealed. With the convenient experience of being able to operate an online boutique, Martha doesn’t believe she’ll purchase another storefront in the future.
It’s a celebration! Martha dancing with her daughter Iceland, also known as Icy. Photo Credit: HTX Visualz
Though she has the beauty, brains and business mindset to achieve her goals, what really pushed Martha into a season of overflow was the activation of her faith. After gaining wisdom from her mother and receiving prophetic instruction from her pastor, her time finally came after she told God “I surrender.”
Photo Credit: HTX Visualz
“Once I stopped and I allowed God to really come into my life, I started having faith. Faith is a big factor,” she said. Martha said when she allowed her business to be God’s business, things changed for the better.
Martha celebrating with her God-fearing mother. Photo Credit: HTX Visualz
Since her cup overflows, Martha saw fit to bless an up-and-coming entrepreneur, Symphony Webb of Urban Culture Apparel. The reasoning behind the generosity stemmed from a revelation she said she had from God that an entrepreneur that was in need of $500 would be at the grand opening. Little did she know, that is exactly what Symphony needed.
Symphony Webb of Urban Culture Apparel being blessed by Martha at the grand opening. Photo Credit: HTX Visualz
Towards the end of the night, Berry prayed over other entrepreneurs and their businesses, a move that was of course inspired by her faith and the life experiences she’s overcome because of its power.
Martha praying over the entrepreneurs at the grand opening of IMarE Glam House. Photo Credit: HTX Visualz
To book the Glam House for photoshoots, go to theimare.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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