Mother-daughter duo opens boutique in Mt Laurel
By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer
MT LAUREL – A local mother and daughter have turned their online boutique into a brick-and-mortar business in the Dunnavant Square retail development.
Chelsea resident Michelle Smith and her daughter, Hallie, opened the doors of HaMi Boutique in July and celebrated the latest milestone in their journey of co-owning a business they have loved since launching it last year.
“We started an online boutique, mainly for college-age girls, because they were the main ones that were still out and about,” Michelle Smith said. “My daughter, being in college, wanted to start one for her age group.”
The pair took the first two letters of their names to form the name “HaMi,” and as their online sales picked up, they looked for opportunities to extend their reach.
“We did a popup (shop) in Helena for two days, and it went so great that I said, ‘Let’s do more popups,’” Michelle said, and added they operated another popup shop at The Outlet Shops of Grand River in Leeds.
As their success continued, Michelle thought it was a good time to look for a brick-and-mortar location for the boutique.
She noticed a vacant storefront in Dunnavant Square one day and knew she had found the right spot.
“I had gone to other areas to look for a place, but I never had a peace about it,” she said. “As soon as I walked up to the door and looked in, I just felt a peace and said, ‘Lord, this is it.’ Everything went quickly from that point. Three months later, we had our grand opening.”
With 14 years of retail experience, Michelle handles the merchandising and day-to-day operations at the shop with the help of “three fantastic employees.”
Hallie, who will graduate with two degrees from Harding University in May, manages marketing, social media and website work for the shop.
Michelle and Hallie go to market together and keep their eyes on new styles and trends.
“She’s got such a good eye for fashion,” Michelle said of Hallie. “She just loves to pick out clothes.”
Michelle said their goal is to offer a wide range of clothing, accessories and gifts that appeal to different ages—and to be a place where a mother and daughter can shop together and both find items they like.
“We have a variety, and our price points are a variety,” Michelle said. “I love a good graphic tee and a good pair of jeans. We also have some high-end exclusive lines, like CROSBY by Mollie Burch. We can dress you for an evening wedding or a night out, or a middle schooler for her first day of school, and we have done both.”
Michelle said the community has shown HaMi Boutique a warm welcome in the first few weeks of business.
“It’s just been so great,” she said. “(I enjoy) just making somebody feel happy about their choices, that joy of finding the right piece for somebody for exactly the event they’re looking for. I love meeting the people out here. They are so kind.”
The shop’s hours are Monday through Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The shop is closed on Sunday.
HaMi Boutique is located at 300 Carlow Lane, Suite 101.
HaMi Boutique is on Instagram and Facebook @shophamiboutique, and more information about what the shop sells can be found online at Shophamiboutique.com.