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"shop local, shop small" retailer series: kai conversations with... sharla bush, owner of sharla's

kai is proud to highlight our beloved small boutique retailers in our “shop local, shop small” kai conversation features. some of these retailers have been with us for many years; in this case, i have had the pleasure of working with sharla bush, retailer extraordinaire and founder of sharla’s since 2004! sharla is a delight – i always look forward to our phone calls as i can feel her energy, passion, and kindness through the phone in our many conversations over the years. she is also an endless source of style and business wisdom. it’s inspiring! to get inspired yourself,  i encourage you to read her story here and in our conversation with sharla below. you will discover not only her impeccably luxurious curated store but also how she “celebrates everyday and lives beautifully”.


how are you taking care of yourself and your business during this time?  are there certain things that are proving to be sources of motivation/inspiration?  if so, please feel free to share. 

staying positive and expecting the best! my faith carries me through the best of times and the worst of times.  i fuel up by reading my bible daily as though whatever i read was written expressly for me.  there will always be bad news in the world around us. we can’t allow the pain we go through personally or what we see get down into our spirit and rob us of our joy.  we can prosper in a pandemic! we have to think creatively and use any negative circumstance as a catapult to something greater. i am naturally wired up and stressed. i had to make some decisions this past year that i could no longer live thinking i had to do everything and the results of everything rested with me. i decided this business belonged to God and i had the privilege of running it!  what a difference this has made. i made a radical decision to tithe the net profit on the business from 2021. my sales so far this year are up 30%!

how did you start your career?

i grew up in retail.  my mom opened her flower shop in 1957 when i was two years old.  as a depression era lady, she had an extraordinary work ethic and probably taught me more about running a business than i learned with a bba from smu. 

how did you end up with your current role? 

i worked for her a few years after college, married and was a stay-at-home mom for 24 years.  when our daughter left for college i decided to open a cosmetic and bath boutique on the historic square in downtown mckinney, texas. it was a tiny space less than 300 square feet.  i was there seven years, and moved to a 3,000 square foot square where i have been for the past eleven years. i believe all women should have their own source of income regardless if you are married and don’t have to work.  most of the women in my generation and circle of friends married and did not work outside the home.  my mother was a pioneer for her time in the 50’s and i saw what she was able to do and it really inspired me.  my daughter opened a retail boutique in dallas as she graduated from smu (she also sold kai!).  she is now 38 with four children living in naples, florida, but still runs the boutique long-distance.  it can be done.  she does not have to work, but it allows her this added dimension in her life. and, she and i can do what we want with our money!

can you please share a few sentences about your retail business and what makes your platform unique and special to your community?

we are all about customer service, beauty and joy at sharla’s. we try our best to keep everything merchandised beautifully.  we make sure every person who walks through the door is greeted within 15 seconds.  this is our home; how do you treat someone when they come into your home? we want every customer to leave happy and know we are here to take care of any concerns. every package that leaves the shop is beautifully wrapped. our bags are really popular and make a nice presentation with gifts. we try our best to contribute to all requests for donations.

how did you first discover kai?

i can’t remember!  it’s been 18 years, but i want you to know that of all the lines i carry, kai is the only one with the same rep, the adorable one and only tyler!!

what is your favorite kai product? 

bubble bath!

can you please share a memory of a customer experience with kai?

it was the year oprah listed the butter and buffer as her favorites. i arrived one morning and by 11:00 i had 5 requests for the buffer. i thought that was so odd, as my kai sales were actually off and i was a bit discouraged. then tyler told me the good news. well, it was time to put on my seat belt because every person between here and the moon wanted a kai buffer and kai butter.  i was ordering 36 at a time. i remember telling someone if the last shipment of kai buffers did not get here by christmas eve, i would need a one-way ticket to south america! they must have been under every christmas tree that year.

what do you like to do for fun when you are not working?

i love being in my yard taking care of plants.  my favorites are gardenia plants which i do believe are in kai.

what is your favorite thing to do on the weekends?

as a retailer, weekends are busy with being open on saturday.  we are closed on sundays. (we decided to stay closed on sundays during december this year and our sales actually increased!)

can you share a little about where you live, and who you spend your leisure time with?

i live at the edge of the historic district of mckinney in a house built in 1964.  we’ve gutted and added onto it twice. i love my home and can’t imagine ever selling it.  my tag line is “live beautifully” and i carry out that inspiration at home.  i am currently redoing the back yard and it will be a slim aaron’s theme with yellow and white striped and polka dot umbrellas.  everything is yellow and white from the flowers to the placemats on the patio and the monogrammed pool towels. (speaking of monograms, every piece of bedding, towel, napkin, including the knobs in my bar and home office are monogrammed!) my husband, george, and i have been married 42 years. he is struggling with parkinson’s so i am balancing my business while making sure he is not neglected. our son is 40 and lives in dallas and loves telling what he thinks i need to do next in my business. we adore our grandchildren and enjoy every opportunity to visit them.

where do you look for inspiration for your business?

when i travel, i try to go to as many stores as possible to see what others are doing.  before covid i always went to market in new york and paris, but sadly the way covid has been handled it has made a mess of so much.

are there certain instagram pages or pinterest boards you follow? 

not really. i loved to merchandise and feel i have a gift for it. 

are there podcasts you listen to?

i am currently doing classes with my staff with whiz bang retailing.

thank you, sharla! 


gaye straza + team kai's summer must-haves

with memorial day less than three weeks away, we are daydreaming of summertime and preparing to soak up every minute of the fun, relaxation, and magical moments that await us during this special season. our team has put together our list of the ultimate must-haves for summer to share with you. whether you’re planning your next beach destination and shopping for the perfect beauty pick-me-up, or looking to spruce up your summer self-care routine for at-home pampering – we’ve got you covered for all your summer essentials! wishing you a beautiful summer from all of us!
gaye and team kai.

gaye - founder + ceo 

kai perfume oil - my go to is always the signature kai perfume oil. it’s in a small bottle so easy to toss in my purse or beach bag. the scent screams summer and dreams of tropical vacations. i literally get stopped all the time to ask what i’m wearing. it’s the biggest compliment in the world to me!

tyler - president 

kai body butter - it’s hard to choose one kai product as a must-have for summer but i have to go with the body butter. not only is it my favorite for the softest skin, it’s also the surfer guys in my life’s go-to after dehydrating days in the sun and salt water. note: the *rose body butter is their favorite!

sara - director of public relations + marketing 

kai conditioner - with so much time spent doing fun, active outdoors and water activities especially in & around the lake, ocean, and pool, my hair is frequently in need of some extra “love” in the form of cleaning, detangling & deep moisturizing, and my two young daughters’ very long hair is also constantly getting matted and tangled with huge knots throughout. the kai conditioner is a life-saver with the argan oil and glycolic acid to reconstruct & deeply hydrate. it’s the only thing that magically takes the knots out of our locks, leaving the hair soft and smooth, and certainly, there’s nothing better than your hair and your kids’ smelling like the dreamy, intoxicating scent of kai!  

meghan - marketing manager 

kai body glow - all of our signature kai products remind me of a tropical summer, but especially the kai body glow. it's a perfect addition to any beach day, pool day, or summer event! it keeps your skin glowing and hydrated while leaving a subtle scent of the tropics. the kai body glow is my absolute summer go-to! 

erin - marketing assistant 

kai body buffer - if i had to choose just one kai product for the summer, i would choose kai’s signature body buffer. the body buffer gently exfoliates your skin, allowing you to look and feel your best for all your summer plans. not only will you look your best – you will be able to bring kai’s signature scent with you everywhere you go, best of both worlds!


mother's day must-haves from callie of the la couple

as we prepare to celebrate and pay tribute to all of the moms and mother figures in our lives this coming weekend, we feel very lucky to be able to bring attention to one of our favorite new mamas, callie from the la couple, who is a truly amazing, inspirational first-time mama; her beautiful son luca is currently 7 months! callie has been a wonderful devotee and supporter of kai for years, and we are so fortunate to call her a friend! she is definitely one of those supermoms who does it all with the biggest smile and most positive “can do” attitude, and we continue to be hugely inspired by reading her story and seeing how she & her husband continue to spread love, positive energy and cheer to their community through the incredibly beautiful experiences & genuine life-touching moments that they share on their Instagram & blog! we encourage you to check out their feed and become inspired with us! 
with callie getting ready to celebrate her first mother’s day, we asked her to share her kai “must-haves” that she’ll be using to relax and enjoy some self-care time this mother’s day and every day. we celebrate you callie, and every mother figure out there. happy mother’s day all!

a mom’s first mother’s day is definitely a momentous occasion! i should know as this one will be mine! i couldn’t be more excited as i sit here nursing my new baby boy writing this. i know people say this often but i never quite understood what love was until he entered this world. it gives me such a wonderful feeling that i will have a part in helping him grow into a man through my teaching and love.

obviously the sweet smell of a new baby must be one of the best smells in the whole world but let’s not forget about how mommy smells. i want to teach him so much and i also want him to remember certain things about me as he grows, like the way my perfume lingers in the room and smells like the sweet air of hawaii. here are 5 of my kai favorites that i will definitely be pampering with in celebration of mother’s day and every day

kai’s eau de parfum or perfume oil - memories triggered by scent have some of the strongest emotional connections and appear more intense than other memory triggers. i want luca to think of me when he walks past a tropical garden or anytime he is in hawaii!  i really love the fact that this smells like a vacation on an island in the summertime. hints of gardenia and plumeria notes fill the room and i’m constantly asked what i’m wearing when i spray this on. — i absolutely adore the rose scent as well! why give a dozen roses when you can smell like a dozen roses 🌹 

kai body glow - this is actually the very first product i  discovered from kai in a spa while staying at a resort in san diego. i immediately became infatuated and needed all their products as soon as possible! i look forward to every shower because of it. it’s best after shower spray i have ever used. the fragrance is simply gorgeous. lush and tropical without being cloying or overbearing. i especially like to wear it at the beach after a day in the sun or when im wearing a dress to give my legs that extra shine and glow. 

kai body lotion - one thing i really try to do is apply lotion to my hands and body often so when i touch luca it’s a super soft touch. i love that the body lotion is so lightweight and i can reapply throughout the day. 

kai body butter - the scent of kai is intoxicating! the smell instantly makes me feel happier and more relaxed. the body butter is very thick and moisturizing so it’s the first thing that goes on after the shower followed by the glow. it feels so great on my skin!!! 

kai skylight candle and linen spray - enjoying the finer things in life doesn’t end at what you put on your body. it also applies to what you surround yourself with. i have one of these candles in every room in the house because without even being lit it fills the room with its rich scent. candles always add a special mood to a situation, and this candle also provides a very light soft tropical fragrance. i love that it can burn for hours and does not smoke. i always give these as gifts, housewarming, birthdays, mother day (hint hint) you can’t go wrong! 

we must teach our children to smell the earth. to taste the rain. to touch the wind. to see things grow, to hear the sun rise and night fall and bottle it up in things they love. 

happy mother’s day mama! 

xx callie