A new women’s boutique in Grand Rapids offers a fashion-forward, street-style aesthetic with plenty of variety, filling a local fashion hole that drove owner Renise Warners to bring it to life. This Black-owned and women-owned business is not like the rest, fully owning the word “basic” despite being anything but.
Here’s what we love about Basic Bee.
PANDEMIC? I DON’T KNOW HER…
Opening during a pandemic was a bold move, but as Warners explains it, “If not now, when? I’ve been researching and planning this business for years. While there have been obstacles and challenges, there has also been providence. Since opening, I haven’t experienced anything other than doing business during COVID. I take that to mean things can only improve from here.”
Basic Bee strives to offer brands and styles you won’t find anywhere else in West Michigan. “Ideally, if you’re wearing Basic Bee, we want someone to stop and ask you where your outfit is from,” because the Basic Bee shopper “is someone who likes to stand out — the type of person who likes to switch it up and step out in something special.”
WE LOVE A GOOD BACKSTORY
The shop’s name is a play on the modern phrase basic bitch. “Sometimes, when you have an aesthetic or certain style that is trendy, you’ll be labeled as basic, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Style is confidence, whether you are following trends or setting them.”
Accessories are fun here. The boutique carries hair scrunchies that zip open to hold small essentials. “I’m always looking for ways to carry trinkets with me without carrying a purse or wristlet if possible. People wear scrunchies on their wrists for fashion, so why not make it functional as well!?” The most popular accessory is the year necklace. “I wear my birth year, but I’ve had a few customers get the year they got married or the birth of their significant other. I think it’s such a sweet gesture to rep something for someone else.”
TAKE THIS ADVICE
With Valentine’s Day coming up, jewelry is a no-brainer gift. “We have a lot of variety in necklaces and earrings with new arrivals weekly. We usually only get one or two of each item so you can really find something special and not worry about too many people having the same one.”
BASIC BEE MUST-HAVES
Crop tops and high-waist jeans. “I’ve built up a small collection of high-neck crop tops. I refuse to wear anything other than high-rise denim. The higher, the better. I want my ribs completely covered.”
Loungewear is (still) huge. “I love seeing how everyone adds their own twist to it. Personally, I’m fond of matching lounge outfits since they make you appear very put together no matter what you’re doing. One brand we carry is called Adunn and they have the most luxurious feeling loungewear.”