As an avid shopper, I particularly love shopping local boutiques in Dane County for unique and on-trend clothing and accessories. In addition to great pieces and prices, one of the benefits of “shopping small” is developing personal connections with store owners and managers.
One such store owner is Halley Jones of The Purple Goose in Verona, WI, which has been in business since October 2005.
The store moved from it’s original location on W. Verona Avenue in 2018, to a new location on N. Main Street. The new location resides in a recently renovated historic building, which provides additional space on the second floor for monthly events at the shop.
As a recurring customer, I’ve gotten to know Halley a bit over the years, and decided to interview her for the blog – to learn more about both her and the “Goose”.
Halley is a busy mompretreneur, who not only owns and manages The Purple Goose, but also teaches a Consumer Science course in the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Furthermore, in support of student development, she regularly offers store management internships at the shop, which provides a great hands-on learning experience for students interested in Retailing & Consumer Behavior or related business fields.
Meet Halley below, in the second installment of our SHOP LOCAL series. (Missed the first? Click here.)
Tell us a little bit about your background…what lead you to open a clothing boutique?
My background is actually in Business. Meaning, all types of business – human resources, sales, marketing, operations, and real estate, for instance. Which is why I felt like I could definitely do something on my own. A clothing boutique was just something I felt was needed in the Madison area in 2005. So that’s why I opened The Purple Goose.
What makes The Purple Goose unique? What is uniquely different about the shop that sets you apart from other local clothing boutiques?
From day one, our tagline has been “Big City Style, Hometown Charm.” That means you’re going to get the fashion, quality and service you would expect at a high end boutique, but the genuine authenticity of a small mom and pop store. We also pride ourselves in great products at fair prices. People can buy what they love from us, and they don’t have to think twice about the price.
Who is your target customer? What is the demographic of The Purple Goose?
Our customer is really any woman ranging in age from 18-80. However, the majority of our customers typically fall somewhere between 35-65, are very educated and often very busy!
Tell us the story behind the name…how did you come up with The Purple Goose? What’s the name stand for or mean to you?
Those who knew us when we first opened may remember that we started by selling kids’ clothing. However, I wanted to choose a name that didn’t lock us in to selling any one particular product. Yet, I also wanted the name to be fun. I had my graphic designer play around with some logos, and when he did The Purple Goose logo, I knew that had to be it!
You are a mother of three…Tell us about your kids. And how do you balance owning a store with being a full-time mom?
Yes, I am the mom to three teenage boys. My oldest will go to college next Fall, which is hard to believe! When the store initially opened, my two older boys were 2 and 4 and shortly thereafter came boy #3.
We actually lived above the store for the first couple of years and I was so grateful that by 2007 the store was busy enough for us to be able to move out and buy a house. It was really crazy with three boys under 6 running around in there! While it was definitely a stressful time, it was also very nice to have my family close by when the store was just taking off.
What role does your partner play in this process? Tell us what that working relationship is like…
Since we owned our building the first 13 years in business, my husband was always the one I’d call when something needed fixing. He was always the primary bread-winner, often traveling for work as well. Then he’d get home and I’d have a list of things that needed fixing. He was a real trooper, but I know he grew tired of being my landlord. After playing that role for awhile, he would tell anybody that YouTube is a great teacher to learn how to fix just about anything.
You also host events at your new location…Any upcoming events readers should look forward to?
Yes! We have our Spring Styling Event coming up on March 11th from 6-8 p.m. At that event, we will provide tutorials in hair, make-up & styling for spring break and anything else you may have coming up!
And just for fun, what is your favorite brand you carry in the store and why?
Wow, it’s really hard to pick just one! However, I’ve always loved the boho styles of THML. The fit is also great and the pieces are very unique.
Anything else you’d like our readers to know?
We love evolving with our customer. As needs and preferences change (and they always do in retail) we love figuring out what’s going to “wow” our customer next. They expect us to be the leader in this area and we are always up for the challenge! So if you have an idea for the store, let us know!
Many thanks to Halley for the interview! And remember to support your local businesses.
Stay tuned for the next installment of SHOP LOCAL, coming soon!