BUSINESS

Hemline stitches a successful fashion business in Oxford

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Inside Hemline, an Oxford boutique. Photo by Mallory Smith.

Mallory Smith
Oxford Stories
mesmit13@my.olemiss.edu

While Madison Smith will never walk into a room unnoticed – dressed in her go-to outfit of light washed, ripped jeans and a cozy pullover sweater, she admits she’s had help with her stylish outfits. Her mother, Renee Smith, started out as the head manager of the store, Hemline, on the Oxford Square.

Hemline, which now has 20 locations in six states, expanded to North Mississippi on June 4, 2015. “It was instantly a hit,” Renee Smith said. “It took barely any time to become popular, and the location definitely plays a major role in how quickly we attracted customers.”

Renee Smith said Oxford has grown in the past couple years and sales have increased dramatically, along with unavoidable traffic on Jackson Avenue.

While Madison Smith was pursuing a degree in graphic design and math, her mother was responsible for keeping the store in check. That changed quickly after Madison graduated from the University of Mississippi in May 2016.

With little to no retail experience, Madison had no problem taking over the store. “She was really a natural,” said Renee Smith. “Although she wasn’t too interested in having a career in fashion, she always enjoyed putting things together and never failed to present herself well.”

Madison Smith hopes to use her experience at Hemline Oxford to expand the brand, franchising the store as a career. She runs her own blog called “The Blonde Zinfandel” to promote the store and inspire others. 

Madison Smith admits the store influenced her to create a blog. “Math was always something I was good at,” she said, “so naturally it became a class I enjoyed and a part of my many hobbies. Fashion is different. It’s something I have a love for and quickly realized it’s something I wanted to pursue a future in. I hope to travel the world and expand my knowledge on the matter. Hopefully someday soon, I can sit in and watch a few fashion shows at New York Fashion Week.”

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Inside Hemline. Photo by Mallory Smith.

One of the perks of being a clothing store manager is tempting discounts. However, that doesn’t stop Madison Smith from constantly borrowing from her fashion-forward sister.

“My sister and I basically share a closet because of how often we wear each other’s clothes,” she said. “We barely even know what’s really ours anymore, which makes traveling or being a part from the other very difficult.”

Madison Smith said she’s also been caught stealing a few clothing items every now and then from her mother, Renee. The latest hand-me-down she took is an embroidered jean jacket, one of today’s biggest fashion trends.  

People often turn to Madison Smith for quick tips and fashion advice. For a recent trip to Los Angeles, Smith took a stroll down Rodeo Drive wearing a bright, turquoise dress with thin fabric loosely weaved and draped across the chest. She topped it with a Stella Mccartney handbag and a pair of low-top Superga shoes, mastering that high-low look we strive for daily. 

Hemline features all of her favorite fashion styles, which is convenient for events and tying together casual, everyday outfits. Their collection includes different types of clothing and could be the answer to your desk-to-dinner dilemmas.  

Madison Smith even enjoys reaching back to simpler times with an item that pays tribute to one of the most respected fashion times in history – the 90s. “I love the high-waisted skirt look with the tucked-in sweater or small top,” she said. “It’s perfect for holidays or even a night out. It’s always flattering and easy to put together. You have to respect the 90s for bringing out some of the best looks.”

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Inside Hemline. Photo by Mallory Smith.

Renee is more than happy to have her daughter help run the store. “It’s something she’s good at and very passionate about,” she said. “I love seeing her do something she takes pride in. It’s a good feeling as a mother.”

Madison’s father, David, also helps at the store sometimes to make sure everything’s running smoothly. 

“It’s a little weird to work with your parents,” she said. “I guess it’s not really normal to go into work everyday with your mom. So far, I’ve really enjoyed the experience and all the weirdness of it. I don’t really think about it too much anymore it’s become so normal. The future of the business is all the in family.” 

Note: The author of this article is not related to the Smiths who run Hemline.

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