ZebraGirl Boutique’s Natasha Scherief “loves” the true meaning of Valentine’s Day

Note: This feature originally appeared in the February 2020 issue of Centerville-Washington Neighbors Magazine, which is mailed monthly to 3,661 homes in Centerville and Washington Township. For those of you who do not receive the magazine, I am posting it here.

By Jeff Louderback

“Love” is Natasha Scherief’s favorite word, so it’s appropriate that Valentine’s Day is one of her favorite times of the year. The walls of ZebraGirl Boutique, her shop in uptown Centerville, are colorfully celebrated with heart décor. For Natasha, the holiday has a deeper meaning that extends beyond the modern symbolism of bestowing gifts to a significant other.

“When I was in the third grade, I remember how we made mailboxes out of shoeboxes, and we would write Valentine’s Day messages on cards, and put them in the boxes,” Natasha recalled. “I remember how exciting it was to give and receive those stacks of cards, and read what classmates wrote.

“I know that many people think that Valentine’s Day is a made up holiday for candy and flowers. When I hear that, I wish that they would remember what it was like when they were kids, and how everyone was made to feel like they mattered,” Natasha added. “That’s what Valentine’s Day means to me. It’s not limited to romance. It’s a celebration of kindness and love for friends, family and your community, too. Wouldn’t it be nice if that’s the kindness we had for one another every day of the year?”

Natasha founded ZebraGirl Boutique partly for a reason that is similar to her mindset about Valentine’s Day. She strives to make her customers feel like they matter – that they feel good about their shopping experience.

Showcasing fashion-forward styles and accessories, ZebraGirl Boutique has cultivated a devoted following because of the appealing selection of items you don’t see just anywhere, and Natasha’s friendly and genuine service. Her shop is a place for everything from current styles at attractive prices to jewelry, sunglasses, handbags and other accessories.

“Every room of the shop reflects my personal style, and my desire to share it with my customers,” Natasha said.

“Every day, I look forward to the interesting new people I will meet, and the regulars that return, and helping them find something memorable,” Natasha added. “I especially smile when women tell their significant others that ‘If you want to buy me something I’ll love, go to ZebraGirl!’”

ZebraGirl’s name honors Natasha’s late mother, Jane, who was fond of zebras. Natasha’s boutique is decorated with zebra keepsakes of all sizes.

A Chicago native who spent much of her childhood in the Dayton area, she worked in retail management earlier in her career. Dreaming of a small business to call her own, Natasha started selling sunglasses and jewelry online, and ZebraGirl Boutique was born in 2009.

Over the next few years, she developed a growing customer base, and local patrons asked when Natasha planned to open a brick-and-mortar store. That led her to a 400-square-foot space on Main Street in Centerville next to Far Hills Florists in 2012. Repeated customer requests spurred her to have a boutique with clothing that accompanied the inventory of accessories.

Within a year, the business thrived so much that she outgrew the small space and moved to the 1,300-square-foot location at 63 W. Franklin St. situated in the Uptown Centerville historic district.

 

As a female entrepreneur who believes in empowering and supporting other women, Natasha showcases items from local female artists, designers, and business owners. The art of Jennifer Sayger and handmade jewelry from Kathleen Russ are a few examples.

Natasha embraces Valentine’s Day with the same passion as she did as a little girl, and a reflection of that is her Sip and Shop event planned for February 13, which is “Galentine’s Day”,” which is a celebration of female friendship. Held at ZebraGirl Boutique that day from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., the festivities will include shop specials, appetizers, a signature cocktail and a generous grand prize giveaway for customers who respond on social media.

As part of the event,, non-perishable goods will be collected for The Foodbank. Each “gal” who brings at least two cans will receive a ticket the Galentine’s Giveaway Gifts. Tammy Furrey from ColorStreet Nails, and the aforementioned artist Jennifer Sayger with Murage Studios, will be on hand to showcase their businesses.

Whether it is a routine day at the shop, or gatherings during special events at ZebraGirl, Natasha cherishes the friendships she cultivates and the conversations she shares with first-time visitors and longtime customers alike. Recently, she found a handwritten card given to her by a customer four years ago that had fallen between pages in a notebook. The message reinforced the sense of purpose Natasha feels as the owner of ZebraGirl Boutique.

“You are right where you are meant to be, a boutique owner who makes every woman who walks through your doors feel like a million bucks,” the letter in the card read. “I can’t thank you enough for making our visit so special and full of love. You changed my whole perspective on Valentine’s Day after hearing what it meant to you as a child.”

 

Reading that gave Natasha the feeling that she matters, and that is an emotion she hopes every person who visits her shop discovers, whether the calendar says February 14th, or any other day.

Customers can follow ZebraGirl Boutique for updates and posts, and learn more about the Galentine’s Day event, on Facebook (www.facebook.com/zebragirl.boutique) and Instagram (www.instagram.com/zebragirlboutique).