ROCKINGHAM — Another small business has taken up residency downtown — this time in the form of Simply Chic Monogram Boutique.
Co-owners and mother-daughter duo Debbie Wrenn and Jenny Williamson began their endeavor on a beach and two years later find their new shop opening today on East Washington Street.
“It’s a name and a brand and logo that we came up with,” said Wrenn. “We came up with that and came up with the logo that you see on the sign, and it actually evolved, we were sitting on the beach in July of 2014 and just came up with the idea of maybe playing with monograms for a little bit.
Wrenn said they started out strictly monogramming, and from that it evolved into the clothing line, apparell for women and accessories.
“The last part about it, we started in a home office, internet-based at home, and then it became that people would call and say, ‘I need a baby gift and the initials are’ and so we would have it monogrammed, bagged up and personalized ready to go so it was one-stop shopping kind of thing,” she said. “So they don’t have to stop by to get tissue paper or a card and from there into wedding gifts.”
Both Wrenn and Williamson said that the trend of having items monogrammed is a “southern thing for us ladies,” and it doesn’t seem like something that will be going away anytime soon. It’s a fad they’re banking on.
“We have ladies clothing, accessories with their jewelry and purses, we have the baby department, the home department, wedding,” said Wrenn. “There’s things in every department that can be monogrammed or an easy pickup.”
Being downtown was key for Simply Chic, and although the two had other options around town to invest in, they want to be part of a revitalization that’s already begun.
“We landed here because I just like the downtown feel,” said Wrenn. “We actually came in for Springfest, and it was just such a nice feel that Saturday. People were finishing the walk and vendors were downtown, and we stopped by and had lunch at Pattan’s, and it was just the feel of downtown. It’s our goal that we can be part of that.”
Wrenn and Williamson attend shows each year to pick out clothing lines to bring back to Richmond County with a trip twice a year to Atlanta for a larger show. It requires them to keep up with trends and styles and select what they think will work in a rural area.
“When we go, and we’ll go in two weeks, it’s huge, and so all the vendors that we have learned, those that are trustworthy and those that really have a good line, and we have to be really conscience of the price point because we want to have price points from high to low,” Wrenn said. “We want people to come in here feeling comfortable, that it’s not an exclusive deal, but you can come here to get exclusiveness in the fact that when we order a round of clothing we only get six of each. Sometimes less than six. Two small, two medium and two large or two 1X, two 2X and two 3X and when they’re gone that’s it.
“We don’t reorder,” she continued. “We don’t want folks to buy a dress from here and then see 15 others or meet themselves walking down the street. That’s the atmosphere that we want to try to create.”
Sometimes they have to be ahead of the fashion curve from year to year, while other times it may be a year later before a trend hits the streets of Richmond County.
“We see it in Atlanta, and we’re not ready for that here,” she said, using fringe vests as an example. “We were down there thinking, “Okay we’ll bring this back,” but sometimes we’re about a year before the New York and the Atlanta look get to some of the rural areas. But that’s to be expected.
“But it’s fun because then you get to experiment,” she went on. “The best part about this is every time you monogram something, it’s different. You just create different things all the time or you create different things on the mannequin. This is my happy place.”
Wrenn said they’ve got to be smart about their marketing and look to expand their client base outside of Richmond County to neighboring counties like Anson, Scotland and Moore.
Simply Chic Monogram Boutique will have a ribbon cutting today at 10 a.m. to officially open its doors and will operate from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. It can also be found online on its Facebook page.
Reach reporter Matt Harrelson at 910-817-2674 and follow him on Twitter @mattyharrelson.