Spruce Lane Shops: Threads The Shop

Threads The Shop
Neighborhood: Manayunk
Vibe: Feminine, Trendy, Contemporary, Upscale
Good for: Women’s apparel, denim, shoes, accessories, jewelry

DSC_0143.jpg

Located in the heart of Manayunk on Main Street, Threads The Shop is a haven for urban shoppers with a chic sense of style. The boutique, although somewhat small in size, packs a punch with its impressive assortment of merchandise. Shop from the likes of popular brands such as Michael Stars, DL 1961, Agolde, 525 America, Zadig + Voltaire and more! Threads is great because it is a one stop shop women’s apparel and accessories with varying price points. The store carries shoes, bags, jewelry, tops, bottoms, dresses, you name it. Invest in a high value leather jacket, or get a good deal on adorable earrings. You can do it all here.

DSC_0151.jpg

Some of my favorite standout pieces while perusing the boutique included straw crossbody bags that are perfect for the summer, a pair of tortoise hoop earrings, statement skinny jeans from AG and a white floral and lace-trimmed top from Michael Stars. If that grouping doesn’t get you excited to shop contemporary women’s fashion, then I don’t know what else does!

DSC_0101.jpg

I also was lucky enough to speak briefly with shop owner and buyer, Anna Purcell, to learn a bit more about her background and how she was able to launch Threads in 2016. To make an already small world even smaller, it turns out that Anna is from the same hometown as my brother in-law, which is located in the Finger Lakes of New York. She went to school locally at St. Joe's University and began her early career in fashion working in wholesale. She wasn’t crazy about her initial jobs and working a 9-5 schedule (something I can very much relate to), so when she heard that a storefront in Manayunk was opening up, she took the leap and bought the space. How AWESOME is that? Having previously worked in wholesale, Anna always aspired to be on the buying side of fashion. So with the launch of her own shop, she attained that and so much more!

DSC_0139.jpg

I always am baffled by the entrepreneurial spirit that many of these store owners have when I speak with them. To leave corporate life and open your own store is a major risk and no easy task, but Anna and many other boutique owners make it look pretty darn easy! She runs the shop in tandem with her husband, and when I asked if they had any prior experience with running a small business, they both chuckled and said that most of what they do is self-taught and a learning process. Each day brings something new and they do their best to take it all in stride and enjoy the ride. *I didn’t even mean to make that rhyme, so apologies if it sounds a bit cheesy!

DSC_0123.jpg

As for Threads and its future, the shop is currently migrating more and more to online sales in addition to its brick and mortar outpost. Anna seems to have a nice client base going in Manayunk and has been focusing on catering to customer needs by offering seasonal wardrobe curations and styling services. I can attest to her loyal following, as I know a few friends and acquaintances off the top of my head who are regular shoppers at the store. That’s pretty impressive when it comes to small business and good ol’ word of mouth marketing.

DSC_0104.jpg

You can shop Threads online via their e-commerce site here, and also follow them on Instagram at @threads.the.shop to see when the latest items come in and how to perfectly style them! Threads is located at 4353 Main St, Philadelphia, PA 19127, so if you live in Manayunk or are taking a day trip out there, definitely stop in for some retail therapy. You won’t be disappointed!

Xo

Spruce Lane Shops: Meadowsweet Mercantile

Meadowsweet Mercantile
Neighborhood: Old City, Philadelphia
Vibe: Eclectic, Urban-chic, Artistic, Natural, Free Spirited
Good for: Textiles, vintage denim, t-shirts, locally made accessories, women’s apparel

DSC_0040.jpg

Meet Meadowsweet Mercantile in Old City, a veteran shop within the Philly retail landscape that has been on my watch list since I started Spruce Lane back in December. So, what is Meadowsweet Mercantile and why is it so great? Well, we can begin with the “what” by explaining that Meadowsweet is a gorgeous, spacious storefront that serves up an incredible mix of vintage denim and tees, along with other amazing apparel and accessories from some of the area's best local vendors. Considering that 90’s fashion is very much "in" at the moment, this shop is a haven for denim aficionados looking to channel laid back, street style vibes. You can also find an eclectic mix of t-shirts and colorful tops to pair perfectly with your newfound denim. Some of my favorite picks included a rainbow Phish band tee as well as a Camden Catholic High School Football long-sleeved shirt. My mother went to Camden Catholic so I knew she would get a kick out of seeing that. I mean, where else can you find such hidden gems?

DSC_0085.jpg

In addition to the rad vintage selection, Meadowsweet features a nice assortment of women’s apparel from long-time vendors Lilian Jackson Textiles and Riverside Tool and Dye, amongst others. Organized by every hue of the rainbow, these colorful organic cotton pieces are perfect for keeping cool during the dog days of summer we have ahead of us. The shop also offers a mix of home goods, gifts and accessories that are utterly charming. I absolutely loved the ceramics section with locally made mugs, catch-all dishes, bowls and more. We ended up buying a speckled trinket dish to go in our living room that brightens my day every time I see it. Basically, if you purchase anything from here you can rest assured know you are taking something very cool home with you. 

DSC_0060.jpg
DSC_0048.jpg

So, onto the “why” part of my initial question. If you couldn’t tell from my aforementioned description of Meadowsweet and all it has to offer, the place really is something special. To add to the excitement of visiting this boutique, It is linked up with an awesome textile shop called Cuttalossa. Cuttalossa sells handmade linens, towels, pillows, napkins, you name it! Both stores’ aesthetics compliment one another so nicely and the entire space feels very cohesive. I really appreciate seeing local shop owners collaborate together like these two do. If you follow Meadowsweet Mercantile on Instagram, you will be able to keep tabs on the many exciting events these shops coordinate each season. There was a wine and cheese tasting in the spring that I was dying to attend (totally would have if I weren't traveling for my FT job, sigh). Hopefully there will be another opportunity soon!

DSC_0053.jpg

I chatted with store owner, Stacy Jackson, a bit to hear about her career leading up to the shop and what she finds important about running a small business given the market's competitive nature with online shopping and big name brands. Stacy has been involved with small business since her teens, accruing a wealth of knowledge through the many different professional hats she wore leading up to the launch of Meadowsweet in 2011. A few of her experiences included working at a coffee shop, a doctor's office, and eventually at Anthropologie's Walnut St. location. Each experience helped shape her views on comparing the nuances of small vs. big businesses and what is required operationally to manage each type. Jackson emphasizes that merchandising and special events are other key components to staying fresh in the Philly boutique scene. Shopping online has become so convenient (and an obvious threat to small business owners), but a visually appealing space with one of a kind pieces and interactive elements such as DIY workshops or designer pop-ups is unrivaled in e-commerce. These are the tangible things that make Meadowsweet and many of Philly's other small boutiques so special and irreplaceable. 

DSC_0076.jpg
DSC_0043.jpg

I really believe that shops like Meadowsweet Mercantile, and many of the others I've featured on this blog are a crucial part of the city; more than many people realize. Could you imagine if you walked down the streets of Old City and only could find big name stores like Kohl's, Target, Williams Sonoma, etc.? *No particular judgment on those companies, just the first that came to my mind. Life would be so boring and commercialized! Meadowsweet, and boutique shops in general represent a pillar of Philadelphia's tourism. They are just as important as the many superb restaurants and sights the city has to offer. 

DSC_0067.jpg

Experience the charm of Meadowsweet Mercantile for yourself by visiting the shop located at 47 N 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Heck, you may even see me there shopping for my next pair of denim shorts, because I'm just about done with my old pair of H&M ones. Their beautiful Instagram feed is another way to stay connected, so shoot them a follow at @meadowsweetmercantile.  

DSC_0096.jpg

Shop on.

Spruce Lane Shops: Elan

Elan
Neighborhood: Newtown Square, PA
Vibe: Chic, feminine, contemporary, posh
Good for: Women’s apparel, accessories, jewelry, handbags

DSC_0707.JPG

How many times have you found yourself making the rounds internet shopping for a special occasion but are never able to land on something that’s the right price, size or style? I was in the midst of planning my sister’s baby shower and wanted something extra feminine and fashion forward to sport for the party. March is always a tough time of year for occasion-wear though, so it made my search particularly challenging. Do I go with sleeves, and if so, short or long? Open or close toed shoes? Dark or light colors? I found a dress on sale at Shopbop that was pretty basic but was the right shade of pink and had a nice silhouette. I held off from buying for a day or two to continue to look around, and of course when I checked back, the dress was no longer on sale and was way out of my price range! Ah, the woes of online shopping.

DSC_0703.jpg

Thankfully, Elan came to the rescue and posted the perfect spring dress on their Instagram for a baby shower, bridal shower, or really any sort of spring/summer occasion. After already being disappointed once on my “dress quest” (did I just coin a new fashion term..?), I quickly slid up into their DM’s and told them I needed that dress and would be in to shop the next weekend. One of their stylists then kindly offered to put the dress aside for me, it was easy as that! 

Here we are for my sister's baby shower! I am on the left wearing a floral dress from Elan.

Here we are for my sister's baby shower! I am on the left wearing a floral dress from Elan.

Elan means “distinctive and stylish elegance; impulsive, confident energy”. Although I’d like to give myself credit for coming up with something as posh that, I didn’t just pull it out of thin air. The definition is written in beautiful block letters behind the store’s cashier. To explain things a bit further, Elan is a new and trendy boutique located in the suburban town of Newtown Square, PA and is the sister shop to Per Lei, a veteran high-end womenswear store in Media, PA. While Per Lei is amazing in its own right, Elan is special because it sells elevated apparel and accessories at more accessible price points, usually near or below $100. This is great for me and my millennial starter-salary that hasn’t spiked (yet).

DSC_0720.jpg

While browsing the racks and accessories, I got that feverish feeling of excitement I get when I feel like I’ve found a hidden gem of a shop that speaks to my style and taste perfectly. I recall experiencing a similar feeling at Cash and Clive in Cape May, NJ but that’s another story for another time. Anyway, my baby shower dress fit so I knew I was investing my dollars towards that, but I also was simultaneously formulating a list of needs for my next visit to Elan because everything was so great. They have the most adorable mini bucket bags that come in soft spring shades of pink, blue, and light grey and are paired with chic distressed jeans and pastel knit sweaters. The bucket bags are under $100 and looked and felt of very high quality, which was amazing. Elan also boasts a great jewelry selection that ranges from subtle gold chain necklaces to bold statement rings and earrings so there’s really something for everyone in their selection. You also can shop hats, scarves, candles and more, aside from the amazing clothes.

DSC_0700.JPG

What I also really appreciated about this store was its layout. It’s very clean and simple which can help more than you realize when shopping for apparel. To me, it had the right amount of stock available; just enough for me to easily browse through the racks and accessory displays without feeling lost or overwhelmed by too much product jammed into one space.

DSC_0694.JPG

I learned this lesson during my days of working in PR at a high end private showroom in New York City. We would often be criticized if we displayed too much product, prompting the higher ups to scoff and say, “what is this some sort of bazaar?” I have to say although I’m not as extreme, the rule has stuck with me going forward. Philly is known for its vintage shops which all are very cool and have lots of personality, but I never can actually shop in them because my eye can barely land on one thing. At Elan, I was able to view everything and fall in love with items very quickly! Which is what you want when you’re running a store, right?

DSC_0693.jpg

Elan recently opened this past August, and with such high caliber clothing and accessories, I am sure it will be around for many more years to come. I’m thrilled to have found this awesome suburban outpost and I hope that if you’re in the area looking for an upscale yet surprisingly affordable place to shop, you take a peek inside too. And Elan stylists, if you are reading, I will be coming back for a bucket bag if they’re still there! :)

Keep calm and shop on!

DSC_0722.jpg