Like you I have been devastated to watch Hurricane Harvey ravage Houston and the surrounding areas. Living in a coastal state and having experienced some severe flooding in Charleston, this hits very close to home. I cannot imagine what these people are going through – and what they face in the coming months. I’ve donated to the Red Cross and encourage you to do the same (below there are a list of suggested nonprofits). If you email us your donation receipt in the amount of $25 or more to firstname.lastname@example.org any time in the next four days, we will send you a discount code for 25% off any order on candyshopvintage.com, now or in the near future. Codes will go out on Tuesday, September 4th, the day this offer ends and will be valid for one year so you can use it now or save it.
In addition to the The American Red Cross here is a comprehensive article outlining the different nonprofits that are offering assistance in the wake of the hurricane.
Marshall Simon, the owner of Gwynn’s in Mt. Pleasant was one of the first people I met when I moved to Charleston ten years ago. His well loved department store Gwynn’s, was hosting a charity run benefiting the MUSC Children’s Hospital called The Stiletto Stampede that I was participating in. His name is familiar around town and always associated with different philanthropic endeavors and Gwynn’s quickly became of of my go to stores that had a wonderful combination of local hospitality – he is almost always in the store greeting his customers – and sophisticated merchandising. You can find anything from local brands he supports to luxury bath and beauty products, high fashion lines and even vintage CHANEL handbags. When I started Candy Shop Vintage, Marshall was one of the first people I went to for advice and of course, to try to sell my line. Before he owned Gwynn’s, he was one of the sales reps for the original, vintage lines of Charleston Rice Beads ours are modeled after. He was the first person to tell me the story behind them!
The entrance to Gwynn’s at 916 Houston Northcutt Boulevard in Mt. Pleasant.
Since picking up the Candy Shop Vintage line three years ago. Gwynn’s can hardly keep it in stock. I am so grateful for them as a retail partner and to have Marshall as a friend. So it seems only fitting they be the first retailer in our monthly retailer partner spotlight. It also happens to be their 50th anniversary and they recently underwent a huge renovation inside and out. He runs the store with his beautiful daughter Madison and I met with them this week to take a peek in the store and learn a little bit more about his successful family business.
Marshall and Madison Simon, the owner and his daughter who jointly run the department store.
Any special pans for your 50th Anniversary year?
Our 50th Anniversary was actually on July 27th, but we will celebrate in September with a party at the store.
Has Gwynn’s always been in the same location?
No, Gwynn’s was in 3 other locations in Mount Pleasant, but has been here for the past 25 years in a spot that we own.
Was Gwynn’s your first venture into retail?
I bought this store 27 years ago, but I grew up in the industry and my family had a store in Greensboro, North Carolina called Laurie’s. It was very similar to Gwynn’s, so it’s always been in my blood. In my early days (after college), I was a wholesale manufacturer’s representative for women’s apparel and jewelry where I traveled and worked with stores in the South East.
What is your favorite thing about owning a store?
I love meeting our interesting and talented clients. They all have such intriguing stories to tell. It’s always been fun getting to know these people. My talented employees makes it all worth while too.
Where do you do most of your buying?
Mostly NYC. A little in Las Vegas and Atlanta.
What the best selling small designers you carry/top three large brands you carry?
The top three small designers are Candy Shop Vintage, Leo + Sage, & Christy Jervey. Our top three larger brands are: Lafayette 148, Trish McEvoy, & Emenegildo Zegna.
What is your history with selling Charleston Rice Beads? (i.e. the original ones then ours)
In the early ’80s I worked for a large costume jewelry house selling rice beads, which was our most popular item, especially here in Charleston. 36 years later and I’m still selling rice beads!
Marshall told me how he used to walk up and down King Street selling the Rice Beads to almost every boutique Downtown. They were hugely popular in the Southeast until the original company making them was acquired and discontinued that line!
What is your favorite time of year/season at Gwynn’s?
Spring when everything comes alive, and also Christmas when business follows suit.
Our Charleston Rice Bead display in the Gwynn’s jewelry department.
I think this jewelry box is just about the right size for me…
Thank you Marshall and Madison for having us! We’ll be back this holiday season for our annual Holiday Trunk Show just before Christmas. Stay tuned for the dates later this fall… Photos: Clay Austin
It was impossible not to get swept up in the hype of the solar eclipse in Charleston since we were directly in its path. As the weekend ended and Monday approached the city had sort of a nervous energy about it. We had a solar eclipse sale. I made eclipse cookies. And I wondered if it would indeed be as magical as everyone said.
We watched the eclipse from Sullivan’s Island – undoubtedly one of the most picturesque viewing points in the area. Our whole group had (the correct) glasses thanks to our host and Daphne was so worried she would go blind she barely took them off her face.
When “totality” occurred I did take off my glasses for a moment and snapped this shot. It was just to incredible. The whole sky and beach was eerily dark and still. The church bells at a nearby church were ringing which added to the surreal feeling of darkness descending in the middle of the day and a storm was rolling in so off in the distance there was thunder and lighting. The change in light was slow and steady and felt more like a dark sunset than being plunged into total darkness and when the sun did reappear there was a feeling of elation. It really was an incredible thing to witness! And the clouds parted for just enough time to make it possible.
The public schools in Charleston were actually closed today – I would say it was a win for Daphne spending a day at the beach instead of in a classroom.
And here are a couple other photos taken in Charleston that I just loved…
Finally in honor of our solar eclipse passing we have brought back our Charleston Rice Beads in Midnight Black for the season, just a little bit early.
Unless you have been living under a rock, you are probably aware of the solar eclipse arcing over the US this coming Monday. A friend of mine posted this article, half in jest and half seriously of what not to do during a solar eclipse. Interesting that they have always been considered negative omens. Let’s hope that is not the case! SO, starting now, until 3PM on Monday you can take 20% OFF any order on our website with the code MOONPIE (because who doesn’t love a Moon Pie?!) in honor of Solar Eclipse weekend. My daughter doesn’t even have school Monday – it really is a national holiday. And buying some jewelry hardly counts as a big decision, right?
Earlier this summer we traveled through France and England with our daughter Daphne for the first time. One of my favorite things to do with Daphne is go to tea. We don’t really have a proper tea room where you can go have a mother daughter tea in Charleston so it is always a fun thing to do an explore when we travel. We have been to the Plaza in New York for the Eloise Tea and of course to a Disney Princess Tea but I have been wanting to do the afternoon tea at Sketch gallery London for a long time, which is basically a millennial pink palace covered in whimsical, tongue in cheek sketches by artist David Shrigley. I booked us for two – and hers was actually the children’s tea option which includes a free teddy bear with a pink Sketch sweater on (they surprised her with that at the end). The Mayfair flower show was also happening when we were there, so both the exterior and the interior of the gallery were covered in botanicals and flowers – it was pretty amazing and felt a bit like we were walking into an enchanted forest.
(Daphne had a very loose tooth that she was excited about and hoping it might come out during tea. It didn’t.)
This is right outside the entrance to the main rooms where they offer tea and was a temporary exhibit for the flower show. All those roses were real!
The entrance to the Sketch gallery is magical…
And the pink interior with its upholstered scalloped chairs is to die for. As good as, if not better than in photos!
The inlaid marble herringbone floors were my favorite:
Daphne was very happy!
I especially love their custom china – that says funny little things like “Ghosts” and “Dreams” and even “Forget about it” at the bottom of your tea cup.
The tea carts layered with different infusions of tea were also pretty magical:
And Daphne was thrilled to get her Sketch bear at the end.
It was a wonderful experience – and very kid friendly for age 5 and up. You can book online here, up to one month in advance.
This month on Friday, August 11th I am excited to be on a panel in Charleston for a new, monthly Mom’s night out, the first edition of The Champagne Society. The evening, hosted will be an honest conversation between my friend and life coach Gervase Kolmos and two of my favorite fellow Charleston moms and business owners – Jessica Morse of Bare Beauty and Andrea Serrano (aka The Charleston Shop Curator). All three of these ladies are extremely loving Moms and creative entrepreneurs and we are looking forward to a fun and informative discussion about making it all work (and maybe even sometimes not!) and the lessons we’ve learned. More information can be found on the Facebook Event Page and tickets can be directly purchased here. Hope to see you there!
Me & my little human, Daphne.
Jessica of Bare Beauty with her sweet daughter.
Andrea, Charleston Shop Curator with her adorable boys.