Refresh: Voloshin Showroom

Refresh: Voloshin Showroom
Neighborhood: Kensington, Philadelphia
Vibe: Natural, bohemian, feminine, simplistic
Good for: women’s apparel, jewelry, home accessories

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Hi there!

I’m going to keep this one short and sweet and make it more about the visuals than the written content. I had the pleasure of visiting Amy Voloshin again this past weekend to see her brand new showroom in Kensington, Philadelphia (within Jasper Studios where the brand is based). I am calling this a “Refresh” because I originally wrote about Voloshin in June of 2018. To read more about Voloshin itself, visit my first post here. Voloshin’s new showroom serves as a physical touchpoint for consumers to view the brand’s latest collection in person and also shop sale from past seasons. The product assortment features women’s apparel, jewelry and home accessories. It is open to the public on Fridays from 12-5pm, however you can also book a private shopping appointment on Wednesdays-Saturdays and Amy / her staff will assist you personally.

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The aesthetic is very on brand, with a warm, neutral palette and touches of greenery throughout. I personally loved the space; it felt very upscale and intimate. I ended up purchasing the Maja Wrap Dress that I plan to wear to one of my upcoming work events. I am so pumped to be supporting this local brand and can’t wait to see what else will happen in this gorgeous space as far as events, sales and activations go! See below for all photos from the shoot!

More information about Voloshin’s showroom can be found here: https://voloshin.us/pages/showroom

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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

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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

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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?

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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. 

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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!

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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. 

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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. 

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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.  

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Shop on.

Spruce Lane Shops: Millay

Millay
Neighborhood: Manayunk, PA
Vibe: Feminine, natural, serene, posh
Good for: Vintage finds, jewelry, accessories, gifts, apothecary, home

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Take a step inside Millay, the beautifully curated vintage shop in located in Philadelphia’s Manayunk neighborhood. This shop has been on my list of places to visit quite some time now due to its impressive vintage assortment and amazing Instagram content. With its light and airy motifs, complete with the perfect touches of natural greenery, the interiors alone set this boutique apart from many others. The creative and artistic vision of owner, Mary Spears, is very apparent throughout the space.

Featuring a 1960's Floral Mod Maxi Shirtdress With Pockets & Belt; $75

Featuring a 1960's Floral Mod Maxi Shirtdress With Pockets & Belt; $75

Millay specializes in mixing vintage and modern clothing, and contextualizing them both to have a timeless appeal. Vintage ranging from the early 1900's-1990's comprises about 60% of the shop's inventory while modern ethical* designers make up the other 40%. On each vintage item, the hang tag details what era the piece is from and helps translate sizing to today’s standards, which was an interesting tidbit to learn. I didn’t even consider that the sizing scales have shifted over the years. Overall, regardless of the era or being modern vs. vintage, everything here feels wearable which is great.

*Ethical meaning the designers do not use polyester or other synthetics when producing their garments. 

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Aside from the beautiful clothing, you can also shop gifts, home goods, apothecary, jewelry and accessories here. All items are made by emerging female artisans from the US and abroad, which I love. Girl power! I noticed a few of my own favorite local brands gracing Millay’s shelves, including candles and apothecary from Zoet Bathlatier and jewelry from Whim.

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As I’m sure you know by now, I love to learn how the shops that I visit develop into what they are today. They all tend to include similar components of very hard work, some raw talent, and sometimes, a pinch of luck. The scenario is no different here. The name Millay takes inspiration from Mary’s favorite poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, the first female Pulitzer Prize winner for poetry in the 1910s. She told me that Millay really started as a hobby of collecting vintage goods from local flea markets, antique shows, or auctions for her home that previously was in Boston. When her stock started to pile up, she decided to sell some goods on Etsy to make some extra money while in graduate school. After using Etsy for some time, Mary grew tired of selling through a 3rd party and wanted to evolve Millay into something of its own. This is when she learned how to code and launched her online business - talk about some serious motivation and brainpower! The site quickly garnered some press attention, as Millay was one of the first shops to successfully curate vintage in a modernized way, launching Mary and her brand into the spotlight.

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Three years ago, Mary and her husband relocated from Boston to Philadelphia. While her husband attended medical school here, Mary continued to grow Millay and opened the Manayunk storefront, which was previously owned by another fantastic vintage shop called Meadowsweet Mercantile (another one on my "to feature list”!). Meadowsweet is now in Old City, but I love the synergy between these small business owners and how everything feels connected and supportive. 

Featuring a 1940's Vibrant Embroidered Peasant Blouse With Pockets; $105 (I'm obsessed with this!)

Featuring a 1940's Vibrant Embroidered Peasant Blouse With Pockets; $105 (I'm obsessed with this!)

Fast forward to today, and here we are! Millay is about to undergo another big transformation. On May 13th, the doors will bittersweetly (I'm not entirely sure if that’s a real word but it feels like the best one to use) close in Manayunk, but for good reason. Mary and her husband are going back to their roots in Boston, and she is taking Millay with her! Luckily for us Philadelphians, the online shop still exists so we still have access to many of these incredible items. But, with that being said, since time is limited I highly encourage all of you to get over to Manayunk to check out Millay and shop many of its one-of-a-kind items. Personally, I haven’t spent much time in Manayunk up until this point, but Millay's street is super charming and has tons of action around it. You could totally make a day out of your visit, grabbing lunch or dinner nearby.

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All in all, Millay totally lived up to my dreamy Instagram expectations. The store itself is beyond beautiful and there were numerous vintage pieces I would love to buy and wear this summer. I’ve never really shopped vintage clothing before, so Millay has done a great job of opening my eyes and mind to this sector. Lastly, Mary is super talented, knowledgeable, and a great person to chat with if you’re simply interested in fashion, entrepreneurship, art history, and things of that nature. Stop by Millay during its final weeks in Manayunk to celebrate and experience this awesome boutique! Wishing Mary, Millay, and her hilarious dog “General Gazpacho” (who makes guest appearances on Millay’s Instagram account) the best of luck in their new and exciting chapter!

Shop on,
Spruce Lane

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Spruce Lane Shops: Elan

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

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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!

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