The boutique that works to offer beautiful clothes and jewelry while treating the pocketbook kindly is also a business that is all about the family.
Magnolia Boutique in Southaven has been open for a little more than two years. Owners Melanie Bast and Kathryn Manus are mother and daughter, respectively.
While mom was an accountant getting burned out from crunching numbers for long hours during tax season, daughter was working at another boutique but questioning the next step in life.
Then an idea and a prayer set about a new course for their careers.
“Early on, both my jobs were in retail,” Bast explained. “Public accounting just wears you out because of the long hours when tax season rolls around. I knew I wasn’t ready to retire and I didn’t want to work for a private company.”
Manus then continued the story.
“I remember saying a prayer on the way to work to the other job that I had and I just asked God, ‘If this is what I’m meant to do that’s fine, but show me what you want me to do with it,’” Manus said.
Little did she know her mother had been considering a store startup with her daughter and a phone call about the plan was just a day after Manus’ search for an answer.
“Seriously, the next morning she calls me,” Manus explained. “We had never talked about it and she was asking, ‘How would you like to open a boutique together?’ I thought, ‘I guess God answered that real quick.’”
The store location in Southaven was a midway point between Bast living in Germantown, Tenn. at the time and Manus in Hernando. But both now live in Hernando and who minds the store is done to help care for Manus’ two children, helping to keep that part of their lives also in the family.
“Kathryn had a baby a year ago in June and she also has a son,” Bast said. “I keep the kids on Tuesdays and Thursdays and Kathryn keeps them the other days. On Saturdays we come in together unless it is a slow period.”
You will find the latest styles in dresses, clothes, shoes and jewelry at Magnolia Boutique. Bast and Manus point out, however, you won’t find the hefty price tag. The store is also geared away from the young, teenage-type market and while that market is not ignored, a more mature demographic of customer feels more comfortable in their store than in others.
“Some of the boutiques in this area are geared to a younger customer than we have, high school and college,” Bast said. “They also have a higher price point than we do. We do carry a couple of brands that would be pricier, but in general I would say our price points are between $30-$50 for an item, while most boutiques historically are expensive, like from $80-$120 for a piece.”
Manus takes pride in that she and her mother also try to make their customers feel like part of their family.
“You can make their day be changed when you are just kind to them and give them an outfit that they put on and you can tell it immediately makes them feel good about themselves,” Manus said. “We really try to go above and beyond in customer service. We try to make a real personal connection with each person that comes in.”
Magnolia Boutique is open Tuesday-Friday from 11 a.m.-6 p.m and from 10 a.m-5 p.m. on Saturday, closed Sunday and Monday. The store maintains a website at magnoliaboutiquems.com and also has a social media presence on Facebook and Instagram.
The store address is 3075 Goodman Road East, Suite 18, on the Getwell Road side of the Kroger shopping area.
Bob Bakken is Staff Writer for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.