This week we highlight Michelle Natasha Plummer, the face behind the popular boutique Tasha Michelle Kloset, located at 1775 Dorchester Ave, Boston, MA 02124. Born and raised in Jamaica, Michelle came to the States and migrated to Miami, FL as a young adult. Raised by her grandparents in a challenging environment, Michelle’s childhood was anything but easy. Consequently, she got in trouble as a young adult in Florida. Michelle moved to Boston in 2009 and fell in love with the city. It wasn’t until then that the choices she made when she was younger caught up to her. Holding herself accountable, she went back to Florida to serve prison time. Michelle notes that she was down a destructive path, “prison saved my life,” as it forced her to reflect.
Prison was the turning point in Michelle’s life. She was fortunate to have a psychiatrist as a bunkmate, whom she quickly befriended. Michelle learned a lot from her and has become a prominent mental health advocate. Incarceration was the first time Michelle experienced a panic attack and faced her mental health. The psychiatrist bunkmate, Elena, assigned Michelle daily educational packets, reading materials, and talk therapy. Michelle spent her days in prison talking about herself, learning and understanding mental health and coping mechanisms. Growing up in a suffocating environment, Michelle never gave much thought to herself or her passions. In prison, she says there is “lots of time to be by yourself; when you’re by yourself, you go in your head, then you start thinking how everything you’ve ever run from is right there. You can’t go anywhere; it’s just your thoughts and traumas. All your realities looking at you like, ‘hey, I’m right here, so what are we going to do now?'” She began the process of self-improvement and discovering her true self. As a result, she tapped into her full potential and revealed her passion for clothing.
Michelle knew exactly what she wanted to do when she got out. Ever since she can remember, Michelle has always loved clothes. For the first time in her life, she had a plan. Michelle came back home to Boston, where her life had already started. She had a 30-day, 60-day, a 90-day program. Her six-month plan came to her in 90 days, and after being released for only nine months, in July 2014, she opened up her first storefront, Tasha Michelle Kloset. Michelle continues to prioritize her mental health and implement mental health practices into her daily life. She had her first private therapy conversation after getting out. As it usually goes, Michelle was reluctant to talk for the first therapy session and hesitant towards its influence. However, three years later, Michelle says therapy is the best thing to ever happen to her. Now she understands the importance of going to talk to someone. She’s learned that we are not our mistakes and that it is okay to fall and pick yourself back up and learn from it. Through the power of perspective, she now looks at her prison time as a hurdle to getting to where she is now. She understands that it’s not a one-time fix but an everyday process. There are both good and bad days.
“A lot of our bad decisions come from things we were hiding from or didn’t want to deal with, so we make bad decisions because we didn’t deal with our traumas and things that we have gone through.”
As a convicted felon, seeing the opportunities that the city of Boston provides only encouraged Michelle’s drive for success. “Massachusetts is a very forgiving state with lots of opportunities. If you believe in yourself and put the work in, there are opportunities and second chances.” Michelle made the most out of her second chance. It was her landlord who believed in what she was doing and who was the driving force behind her success. When 1775 Dorchester Ave became available, her landlord was kind and gave it to her at an affordable price. Michelle jumped right into running her own business with absolutely no prior experience. When asked how she learned the trade with no training, she answered that she did a lot of reading and research, asked many questions, reached out to people online, made connections, and learned from those around her. She even went to different boutique owners and questioned them with a pad of paper. Essentially, she learned as she went along. Despite turning her life around, Michelle still gets judged for her past. She turns this fire into fuel to push herself harder and prove those wrong. The beginning was the hardest part. Michelle had to learn the neighborhood and clientele to accommodate her designs. Once she realized the demographic she was selling to; she tailored her store to fit the customer’s wants and demands.
Marketing drove her sales at first. Michelle ensured her store got attention by putting flyers on the train and bus and promoting her shop at fashion shows and Boston fashion week. Michelle improved over the years as she learned, grew, and understood more of the business side. She is still learning the business every day. A message from Michelle to those thinking about becoming their own boss is, “take a class, go to the library, get educated on what you don’t know, and for the things that you won’t master, hire the person who can get the job done.”
Her next big challenge to overcome was the worldwide pandemic that affected so many small businesses. Luckily, her biggest supporter, the landlord, had only grown in his confidence in Michelle and was patient and helpful and worked with her during the pandemic to keep the store running. Her party rental business allowed her to keep her store afloat during the pandemic. Michelle would hustle and deliver clothes to customers’ houses to keep the business alive. Now she says people are starting to come back out, but she still has to do pop-up shops to bring people back outside and into the store.
In the city, popularity sells, and Michelle utilizes this fact as she markets herself as the face of her brand. Instagram sells, too, so she tapped into social media and grew her following by sharing and promoting the image of her lifestyle and fashion. The idea sells, and followers who want the same look can shop it at Tasha Michelle Kloset. By first bringing the attention to herself, she could redirect this attention to her store. Michelle Natasha Plummer is Tasha Michelle, even down to the hot pink logo figure, which outlines her silhouette. Tasha Michelle Kloset consists of classy and formal wear, versatile enough to cater to a broad audience.
Michelle always puts her customers’ needs first and ensures that her items are on point. Although only some things can always go exactly to plan, she can minimize customer impact by planning and adjusting to the circumstances. You are guaranteed excellent service at this charming boutique, from one-off outfits to events. Michelle never double-sells the same clothing for the same occasion. Michelle’s promise to you is that if you get an outfit from her for an event, no one else there will have the same thing on. So come to Tasha Michelle Kloset for your next event!
Michelle does everything local and even gets her demos made in Boston. Dorchester is home for her; she lives in the neighborhood where she watched her children thrive. She opened up a second store in the area and expanded Tasha Michelle Kloset to include her skincare products. Michelle has been in the skincare business since 2018 and has recently started selling her products under her name for an affordable price. You can find turmeric and honey, turmeric and goat milk, and carrot or lemon soaps, all handmade by Michelle in the Tasha Michelle Kloset showcase. She also has a wide selection of skin-brightening products, creams, face scrubs, and masks.
Michelle lives and breathes her work; some might even say she is a workaholic. But balance is vital, and Michelle has learned to make time to do things that benefit herself. Not only is Michelle Natasha Plummer a businesswoman running two storefronts, but she is also a mother to two who goes on daily morning walks and makes time to exercise and take care of her mental health, as well as expand and promote her businesses. Michelle is entirely self-taught, making her a real inspiration to the go-getters like her. Not only did she manage to turn her life around completely, but she also made something great of it. In the face of adversity, Michelle remained resilient, always coming out on top.
Great things are happening to Tasha Michelle Kloset, as seen with the upcoming merchandise line and accessibility to her store’s online website. Regarding skincare, Michelle plans to continue promoting the line and eventually put all things skincare in her second storefront, I Am Fashion, which will be focused on in the following article. Dorchester is up and coming and will be booming as new housing is put up and the community grows exponentially. Michelle sees this and will not be slowing down any time soon, as she says, “there is always room for improvement” in her businesses. A true Bostonian, her goal is someday to open up on Newbury Street. Until then, there is a Tasha Michelle Kloset fashion show in December. So if you’re local, come out and show your support for Michelle!
check out her clothing here www.tashamichellekloset.com
follow @tashamichellekloset on FB and Instagram
Call them at 617-297-5868
This article was written by a future girl boss, our newest intern Marina McMullin