Women-owned businesses join Kennett Square’s vibrant downtown
● By J. Chambless
The Bungalow, started by Marcy Mackey, is just one of several new women-owned businesses in downtown Kennett Square. (Photo by Richard Gaw)
Richard L. Gaw
For several years, Marcy Mackey was a wellness practitioner in her home, at the homes of clients, at a local spa and a fitness center, while also managing to teach yoga at several studios in Delaware and Chester counties – all while raising her three children.
Mackey's business slogan may have well read, “Have massage table and yoga mat. Will travel.”
While she enjoyed the career, Mackey was doing it in too many places. So last April, she opened The Bungalow on East Cypress Street in Kennett Square, and brought everything under one roof.
“The idea for this studio had been marinating in my heart for a long time, but it recently hit my brain,” Mackey said from her cozy studio. “It said, 'You can do this. Why are you waiting? If you don't take that first step, you'll never get there.'”
Mackey is part of a growing group of women entrepreneurs who have chosen Kennett Square for its trendy vibe, small-town charm, and unique array of independent shops, galleries and restaurants. But the rise is women-owned businesses in Kennett Square is a microcosm of what's been happening around the country. The 2018 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report stated that women started an average of 1,821 new businesses per day in the U.S. between 2017 and 2018. This level, the report said, is greater than the daily average during the pre-recession period from 2002 to 2007, the recession and recovery period between 2007 and 2012, and the post-recession period between 2012 and 2017.
Since the report began detailing such numbers in 1972 – the first time the U.S. Census Bureau provided data on minority-owned and women-owned businesses – the number of businesses run by women has increased 31 times during that 48-year period, from 402,000 in 1972 to 12.3 million in 2018. Meanwhile, employment at these businesses has grown 40-fold, from 230,000 in 1972 to 9.2 million today, and revenues have risen from $8.1 billion to $1.8 trillion.
Her company name, Mackey said, comes from the affection she and her family had for their weekend home in Maryland, which she said served as a place to unwind and let the stresses of the outside world vanish. Looking at the services offered at The Bungalow, it's easy to see that it's aptly named. From a lengthy choice of individual massages, craniosacral therapy and bodywork to small-group yoga sessions held once a week, The Bungalow has already established itself as a Kennett Square welcoming space for ease of body and mind. Mackey and her staff of Danielle Linder and Shauna Miller – all certified in yoga instruction and in the healing arts – provide relief from stress and pain, and a restored ease of movement. Mackey said that she intends to add group meditation, women's circles and healing circles into The Bungalow's regular calendar.
“Every little step I took to get here was preparation for this divine layout,” Mackey said. “Everything that has fed me in my life – massage, body work, yoga and meditation – has allowed me to feed others that which has fed me, and the best part is that I get to tap into this growing, sprouting community.”
(The Bungalow is at 111 E. Cypress St. To learn more, visit www.thebungalowks.com.)
MILOU: Parisian style with a California mindset (125 E. State St., www.shopmilou.com)
Nicole Carey has a passion for connecting people with beautiful, ecologically sustainable clothing and accessories. A graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology, Carey recently returned to the East Coast from San Francisco. MILOU expresses her love for styling and design, and her collection of gently worn, high-end apparel reflects an elegant yet relaxed aesthetic.
MILOU also features a mix of new and vintage jewelry and clean beauty products. Carey is enthusiastic about exhibiting the work of emerging local artists and offering a variety of workshops exploring arts, culture and wellness.
Clean Slate Goods: By hand -- for good (108 N. Union St., www.cleanslategoods.com)
If one half of Clean Slate Goods is about the craftsmanship seen in handbags, jewelry, pillows blankets, kitchenware, children's toys and more, then the other half is about the mission of helping to alleviate poverty, empower women and restore their dignity.
When Kari Matthews began Clean Slate Designs in 2014, the work she was doing to make home décor from reclaimed wood gave her an appreciation for the work that goes into every piece she made. The more the company grew, the more Matthews began to learn about companies around the world who were training and employing women on the margins of society – victims of addiction, sex trafficking and extreme poverty – to create handmade goods, while providing them with sustainable employment. Gradually, Matthews began partnering with these companies, and now, many of them are featured in the inventory at Clean Slate Goods.
Matthews chose to open the store in Kennett Square because “I think there is a strong sense of community and a strong sense of the appreciation for local vendors, and a strong sense of giving back,” she said. “When I began to conceive of the shop, I knew it needed to be in a walkable community, not in some strip mall. I sound found out that not only was Kennett Square walkable, I was overwhelmed by its friendliness.”
Maura Grace Boutique: Accessible fashion curated for you and your home (101 W. State St., @mauragraceboutique)
Shoppers will find an array of colors, trends and styles at Katie Holsten’s bright new boutique at the corner of State Street and North Union Street, the former home of Houppette. The store's eclectic, constantly changing inventory focuses on clothing, jewelry and accessories. Maura Grace Boutique also carries greeting cards and novel gift items, including some locally branded Kennett Square products.
TEXTILE: Vintage and contemporary women’s clothing boutique (210 S. Mill Rd., Suite 103, www.shop-textile.com)
Open since November, TEXTILE is one of the flagship businesses in the Cannery Row development off of Cypress Street. It's the culmination of the dream of co-owners Victoria Inverso and Courtney Harrison to create an enclave of originality, where vintage and contemporary clothing lines blend to create an ever-changing inventory, giving women the opportunity to feel comfortable and the confidence to step into a new style.
“Our mission is to get women to start dressing a little out of their comfort zones, to break away from the same styles that we see all over the Main Line and Chester County,” Harrison said. “We've always appreciated vintage clothing, and it's something that we wish to share with others. We want to bring a modern feel to clothes that have a story, that are well made and beautiful.”
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Tara Smith and Claire Murray of Historic Kennett Square contributed to this article.