Anne Merrill Jones
The Oxford Eagle
Nestled within the antique buildings of downtown Meridian, the local clothing boutique I Just Have to Have It welcomes all searching for the perfect outfit.
Growing up, siblings Katherine and Marilyn Hessler watched as their mother, Cheryl Hessler, created and ran her own successful business from home. Inspired by their mother’s success, the twins opened their own business.
“Basically, it all started because our mom had her own gift store,” Marilyn Hessler said. “We’ve both grown up with a love for fashion, and clothing was something we had always been interested in, so we decided to open our own store with some of her help.”
With a wide variety of clothing, accessories, and beauty products for sale, the duo’s business soon began to attract many customers.
“There are two locations at the moment,” Marilyn Hessler said. “There is one in Meridian and one in Madison, and we are currently in the process of building a brand new building in Meridian, which is exciting to see, but the majority of our sales come from our online business.”
Today, many people order clothing online. This enables businesses to reach customers across the country. This convenience has enabled I Just Have to Have It to accumulate more than 16,000 Instagram followers. Here, customers can scroll through their newsfeed and see pictures of clothing for sale, comment with their email, and receive an invoice within minutes to purchase.
“We both run the Instagram and the Facebook page with some help from our mom,” Katherine Hessler said. “It is just the three of us, though, no other employees.
“Because we have been so hands-on throughout the whole process, it has taught us a lot about running a business and being successful doing something you love,” Marilyn Hessler said. “Every summer, we go to market in Atlanta, view a bunch of new styles for the upcoming season, and pick out things for the store there. It really is based on what we want.”
While the twins are currently focused on their studies at the University of Mississippi, they plan on fully taking over when they graduate.
“I want to enjoy college while I’m here,” Marilyn said. “Katherine and I are the bosses, meaning we have a lot of control right now, but our mom still helps us out with things because we are busy with school and cannot be in Meridian all the time.”
While it’s fun owning a clothing store, it can also be stressful — orders are constantly coming in and going out, requests are being filled, and store displays must be set up and designed. The Hesslers have decided to enjoy their time at school and savor the last moments of being young adults before becoming full-time storeowners.
Their mother, Cheryl Hessler, said she’d love to see her girls open an Oxford store. The store’s clothing remains popular with students and young adults, making the college town a potentially good fit for the Hesslers to expand their business. However, the twins disagree with their mother’s desire for a store here.
“It’s not that we don’t want a store here,” Katherine Hessler said. “I just do not think it is a very good time for us to be looking forward to opening a store here, because then we would feel like we would have to devote almost all of our time there.”
Marilyn Hessler said they love running the online store now. “That way, we can stay focused on our studies in order to prepare for the future, and then open a store here.”
For now, the Hessler twins are content with managing their businesses, spreading the word through their friends, and helping style the university campus.