Popular Mobile boutique, The Mix, which offers “a mix of styles, sizes and prices” has been named one of “The South’s Best Boutiques” by Southern Living Magazine.
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The interior sign is just a reminder of the unique shopping experience found at The Mix. The shop, located in Mobile, AL, was recently named one of the South’s Best Boutiques by Southern Living Magazine and offers trendy pieces from brand-name designers and up and comers. (Photo: Business Wire)
Mobile native Caroline Ward opened the business, located at 9 Du Rhu Dr. Suite 345, in November 2019 with the simple goal of creating a store with something for every woman. Featuring trendy pieces from both brand-name designers and up-and-comers from New York to LA, The Mix has solidified its place in the fashion world.
The April edition of Southern Living includes “The South’s Best,” a series of lists and articles covering everything from beach towns to barbeque joints, bakeries, boutiques and more. Ward’s store is one of nine included from Alabama.
“Many of these hometown favorites offer online shopping, so prepare to treasure hunt,” writes Southern Living’s Valerie Fraser Luesse in her overview of the list.
Ward says the success of the store can be traced back to her vision and the effort of her employees to provide Mobile “a store with something for every woman, a true woman-owned business for women.”
“I’m excited and glad for this honor because we’ve got a hard-working team and we’ve really accomplished a lot in a little over a year,” she added.
Ward’s path to boutique ownership took her from Mobile to New York and back in just a few years. She says she always wanted to open a store that allowed a personal shopping experience like you would get in Dallas, New York, or LA and “it just worked out.”
She graduated from St. Paul’s Episcopal School in 2014 before earning her degree in marketing from the University of South Alabama in 2019. She moved to New York to work for RKP Media (owned by Alabama native Richard Parker), a firm engaged in marketing promotions for Fox, Disney, and Universal Studios. And then, an unusual set of circumstances led to her second career.
She returned to Mobile in the spring of 2019 with the intention of working remotely (before it became a way of life for most Americans) while traveling back to New York two to three times per month. Her passion for opening the perfect boutique with “everything you were looking for” kept calling her name and led her to open The Mix less than six months later.
“I always had the idea to create a store that had everything you were looking for whether it was shoes, jeans, dresses or tops,” she explained. “A place where trendy moms could shop with their daughters and have a mix of options. I also wanted to really offer a wide variety of styles, sizes, and prices. We have everything from a $40 top to a $400 top.”
Local customers found The Mix to be just what they were looking for.
“The mix of merchandise makes it easy to find the perfect outfit or accessory and the sales staff is always helpful,” said Mobile native Catherine Hunter. “I love shopping at The Mix.”
Elizabeth Helmsing, also of Mobile, says she and her mother love the boutique for its variety in brands, styles, and accessories. “Caroline makes shopping fun at this great spot right here in Mobile,” Helmsing said.
Of course The Mix had to face the challenges caused by the COVID-19 scare, but Ward and her team were quick to adjust.
“We were shut down for a while by the Pandemic, so we had to develop the on-line store. Things really took off from there, so we are really focusing on growing the on-line sales. We’re shipping to all 50 states and people are reaching out to us for international orders.”
With over 5,000 on-line followers and shoppers, it’s clear that customers outside of Mobile like the experience of shopping at The Mix.
“People have supported us and that is why we are so appreciative of our clients and we work to create the perfect outfit for whatever occasion you might have,” Ward said.
She is quick to point out the store would not be where it is today without the dedicated commitment of her employees, especially Jillian Lieber, a lifelong friend who has helped work with the on-line orders and Callie Speight, “who has been with us since the day we opened.”
“It’s the people who make The Mix,” Ward added.
Caroline Ward is one of the youngest entrepreneurs in the country and she encourages other aspiring business owners to follow their dreams but to “start small.”
“If it’s something you want to do, start small, and do it right. When I first started, I didn’t know what to do or even how to get a business license. So start small and work your way up,” Ward said.
“It also helps to be surrounded by good people who want to support small business. We’re here to help style women and keep them up to date with current trends in clothing and accessories. Our team of women can do that. Every person that shops at The Mix is treated like the only person that shops at The Mix.”