Fashion Trendz opens to inspire others

Jenny Utley, owner of Fashion Trendz in Woodstock, holds up a garment in her new shop on South Main Street in Woodstock. Rich Cooley/Daily

WOODSTOCK –Nothing has ever been easy for Jenny Utley.

The 38-year-old Filipina woman has had to fight and work for everything she’s ever wanted. But that’s OK with her because she was willing to put in the work, knowing that it wouldn’t last forever.

“I knew it was going to be hard for two or three years, and you have to choose, is it going to be hard for the next two or three years or is going to be hard for the rest of your life?” Utley said. “I chose three years of a miserable life, dealing with a lot of stuff, but you’re not going to be staying in that situation all the time.”

Utley came to Woodstock in 2012 where she lived in a women’s shelter while taking care of her two children. She explained that during the day, because she didn’t have a car or driver’s license, she would put her children in a stroller and walk up and down the streets of Woodstock dropping off job applications anywhere she could.

Her luck started to change a little in late 2012 when she was hired as a crew member at a local restaurant and a friend from church, seeing how hard Utley was working, gifted her with a car.

Jenny Utley

After just three months, Utley said she was promoted and moved out of the shelter and into her own apartment. It was during this stint at the restaurant that Utley started coming up with the idea to open her own business. She had gone to business school in the Philippines and had knowledge on how to run a business, so she just needed a product. It was her coworkers and customers who helped with that idea.

“I noticed a lot of young adults, like high school girls they go down to the city to buy clothing,” Utley said. “So I thought that someday it’d be a good business to open some little, cute trendy clothing (shop).”

That’s exactly what she did. By saving a part of her paycheck, she was able to save $10,000, enough to open Fashion Trendz, a shop in downtown Woodstock that sells women’s clothing geared toward young women.

She opened her store’s doors June 8, and Utley said she’s been very happy with the business she’s seen so far. She’s been able to purchase her own vehicle and has passed along the one that was given to her to someone else in need. But more important to her than selling clothes, she said she wants to be an inspiration to people, especially women, who think there’s nothing out there for them.

“I just want to share my story and hopefully people that are in my situation will have hope,” Utley said. “Sometimes you have to find something to make you keep going, like my kids motivate me. Maybe the people that love them will motivate them. If you’re working at McDonalds and flipping burgers, just keep thinking that you’re not going to be flipping burgers forever.”