Meet Your Merchant: A thrifty way of clothing
Crystal French-Holloway always knew she wanted to run a business one day, even when she was a little girl.
But it wasn’t until her own little girl, 20-month-old Harper, came into this world that she knew for sure what kind of business she wanted it to be.
She held a grand opening June 2 for Pookie’s Playhouse, her children’s boutique of new and gently used clothes and goods. It sells clothes, strollers, books and more, all geared toward families, in a store with a homey atmosphere of bright white walls emblazoned with quotes from children’s books.
One, by Dr. Seuss and written prominently near the register, reads “You have brains in your head and feet in your shoes, you can steer yourself in any direction you choose!” French-Holloway said she hopes that quote and others inspire the families and children that come in.
“I want them to read that and realize they can do anything,” she said.
She said she wants her store to contribute to and inspire others to help future generations – her daughter included. Her store aims to do that in two ways: She seeks used or environmentally friendly items for items she needs to do business and, of course, sells used goods.
Both fit into how Harper changed her life and how French-Holloway works to “leave (the planet) a better place for (Harper) and her kids.”
Not to mention the appeal of lower prices, especially in these economic times, she said. She also marks U.S.-made items for those with that preference.
“Instead of needing to go out and get another $100 bassinet or basket, (families) can come here and get a $20 one that’s maybe been used three or four times,” French-Holloway said.
She noted how fast kids grow, especially in the first five years. For those families with children’s items that were outgrown before they were worn out, she’ll offer store credit and occasionally cash.
And being a mother herself, she also keeps activities available for moms who come in toting their kids.
“Don’t worry about bringing your five kids in, because I’ve got it!” she joked.
It’s a reflection of another lesson from her daughter – putting family first. Even the name of the store, Pookie, comes from a children’s book French-Holloway’s mother, Pamela French, wrote and is a nickname French-Holloway has for Harper.
“It’s kind of been a family thing for 15 years,” she said.