Heylee Achten’s love for fashion and makeup goes beyond the surface.
“I want to help people feel pretty and feel good in their own skin.”
It is this passion that has taken her all the way to California and back to right here in Middle Tennessee. Leaving behind the glitz and glamour of Hollywood for the friendly, down-home feel of Franklin, Heylee is happy where she is with her store, her husband and her 4-month-old son, Ryman.
Growing up in a small town in eastern Tennessee, Heylee knew from a young age exactly what she wanted to do.
“I grew up onstage. My brother is a magician, so I was always dressing up and playing with makeup,” Heylee said. “I always wanted to own my own store as well.”
Heylee set off to study and build a career as a makeup artist and wardrobe stylist in Burbank, California. During her time there, Heylee built an impressive resume, working for many recognizable names, such as Kristen Bell and America’s Next Top Model.
Ten years ago, Heylee made her way to Nashville. While continuing to pursue her career as a makeup artist, Heylee also worked part-time at an accessories store in Cool Springs. Her boss there invited Heylee to tag along at market in New York City.
“I went to just see what it was like and ended up ordering a bunch of clothes.”
Her dream of owning her own store slowly started to come to life. Heylee sold her market-finds out of her apartment and at trunk shows through word of mouth, while building a loyal following over the years. Her store went digital, and she began selling through Facebook before eventually getting a website. It was then when she realized how much she missed interacting face-to-face with her customers.
“Being primarily online made me miss actually getting to know people,” Heylee said. “I enjoyed being able to see and shop with my customers at trunk shows, and I lost that going online.”
Her store became a brick and mortar reality, when she opened Heylee B. (her middle name is Brianne) on East Main Street in Historic Downtown Franklin in 2015. As a former-stylist, Heylee does all the buying herself and enjoys going to market in Las Vegas.
Heylee describes the store’s style as a little sweet, a little edgy, but conservative at the same time.
“We love trendy, but not so much that not everyone can wear it,” she said.
Heylee knew she wanted her to be located in Downtown Franklin, as opposed to a strip mall.
“I just love how cute and quaint Franklin is,” Heylee said. “I love the people. It feels very small town because everyone here is so friendly, but it’s not too small.”
Heylee lives within walking distance of her store. Once it cools off, she is looking forward to strolling to work with Ryman, who has earned the nickname“boutique baby” due to the fact he can often be found in the back room of Heylee B. In addition to going for walks, Heylee enjoys riding electric bikes from Pedego and having dinner at Frothy Monkey with her husband and son in her spare time.
Spare time, however, is something that Heylee has not had a lot of recently. Moving to the opposite side of Main Street, Heylee B. reopened at 502 West Main Street on August 5th. She was able to move in just one week — closing her store for less than a day– with the help of family and friends.
“We like to do it all ourselves around here,” she said. “We built a new counter and new wall fixtures. My dad and grandfather have constructed everything in the store, and my small group helped paint and put in floors.”
Heylee enjoys being crafty. She even hosts a “DIY Night” the first Thursday of every month at the store. From learning the art of cupcake decorating to making homemade bath bombs (the featured craft coming up in September), Heylee likes to have fun with her customers.
“It’s not just about trying to sell stuff. I want to build relationships with customers and really get to know them.”
Heylee B. also offers makeup classes and one-on-one sessions for special events. Incorporating her love of makeup into the store, Heylee created her own cosmetics line called B. Cosmetics.
“We tend to be on the more natural side of makeup. I love to accentuate natural beauty instead of just packing it on,” Heylee said. “B. Cosmetics is more basic. We want people to go home and actually be able to use it.”
Stop by Heylee B. for a cosmetics class or DIY Night, and be sure to check out the fun looks coming in for fall. Heylee highlighted several big trends, including chokers and various hues such as olive, rust and cinnamon.
“We have lots of roomy tunics in soft fabrics.” she said. “We also sell a lot of high-waisted jeans that fit like leggings and are super comfortable.”
Comfort is one staple in Heylee’s own personal style. She is frequently seen in skinny jeans, paired with booties or sandals.
“I live in comfy tunics, button downs or huge sweaters.” She added, while laughing, “usually with some spit up.”
Shop Heylee B. seven days a week; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12 to 6 p.m. on Sunday.