Diana Vaughn’s clothing store has gone through several transformations over the last 40 years.
But from its birth as Earth Imports, an all-natural, flower child inspired shop in the former Pittman Plaza to its current state as Jasmine, an upscale boutique on Boonsboro Road, Vaughn said her shop’s values never changed.
“Quality is number one,” she said. “It’s all about the quality.”
Vaughn and her husband, Jasmine co-owner Henry Vaughn, are planning to retire at the end of the year. They’ve put the store up for sale and hope a new owner will take over in 2013.
Although Diana Vaughn said there has been interest, both she and her husband say it may be a tough sell in this economy.
“It’s difficult because this is a real business, it’s not a hobby,” DianaVaughn said.
Diana Vaughn, who handles color and style for the business while her husband focuses on money and numbers, opened her first store in August 1972. Earth Imports, located in Pittman Plaza, was marked by a hand-embroidered sign outside the door, made by one of Vaughn’s “flower child friends,” she said. The store sold all-natural clothing, fighting against the rising tide of polyester, Vaughn said.
“We filled a void,” she said. “Nobody had gone there.”
Shortly after opening her store, Diana met Henry Vaughn, who was working for General Electric at the time. He helped her manage the books for her new business, though Vaughn said his future wife had a pretty good idea how to build a business without him.
“She had to take every penny that she made and put it back in the company,” he said.
Within a year, the couple married. They opened an indoor plant store together next to Earth Imports, and in 1977 moved their business to Roanoke, launching a new store called E.I. Randle (E.I. stood for Earth Imports).
The Vaughns continued to operate the Roanoke store until 2008. But in 1980, they opened a new location on Boonsboro Road, the store they’ve been based out of ever since: Jasmine.
As Diana Vaughn has matured, so has her taste level and target clientele, she says. Though she now stocks more classic looks and what she calls “investment” clothing for mature, working women, there are still plenty of options for younger shoppers and those who can’t afford to spend a lot of money on their wardrobe.
After retirement, the couple plans to move to a farm they recently purchased in Caroline County. There they’ll be closer to three of their four children and eight of their 10 grandchildren.
Diana Vaughn said her husband will probably take the opportunity to play a lot more golf. As for her, she’s not sure how she’ll cope with leaving the fashion industry after four decades of travelling from Atlanta to New York to spot new trends and keep up with the latest styles.
“It’s always changing,” she said of her chosen career. “I like change — most change. I’ll see how I feel about retirement.”