Jane Anne Darken
The owners of a clothing boutique that originally opened in Jackson before expanding to Oxford in 2017 have opened a new store in Nashville.
What initially started as a dance store called Dancing Divas, Dsquared debuted in Jackson, Mississippi in 2009. Soon after, owners began to focus on supplying contemporary clothing for area moms.
Recent University of Mississippi graduate Denver Wilson runs the Nashville store. “We realized we could cater to the younger crowd,” said Wilson, who studied business and marketing. “We started off selling homecoming dance dresses, and then it took off.”
Wilson, who has worked at Dsquared since she was in high school, helped open their second location in Oxford in 2017. Last winter, owner Lea Easley asked about Wilson’s post-graduation plans.
Dsquared newly located in Nashville. Photo by Jane Anne Darken.
“I told her that I’ve always wanted to be in Nashville because I wanted to be out of Mississippi, but in a city that is somewhat close to home,” Wilson said. “She asked me if I wanted to help open a Dsquared in Nashville and manage it, and I’ve always wanted to continue working in retail.”
Excited for the next chapter of her life and new responsibilities as the store manager, Wilson contacted a Nashville realtor last June to find the perfect location. In recent years, Nashville has been a hot spot for young, post-college grad students and home to many new developments and businesses.
Those unfamiliar with the city will quickly learn traffic is challenging, and parking may be worse. Wilson said she was looking in the 12th South neighborhood, which has taken off within the past few years and is home to some of Nashville’s hottest tourist spots, including Reese Witherspoon’s store Draper James and the I Believe in Nashville sign.
However, Wilson said high traffic flow and lack of parking spots was a significant concern and a make-or-break factor for the new location.
“I’d rather be in a location where you can drive by, and pop in, and not have to worry about paying for a parking spot or hunting one down,” said Wilson, who finally located a vacant store in the popular Green Hills neighborhood near Nordstrom’s, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Shake Shack, Pottery Barn and many other clothing boutiques.
“It felt like we needed to be here,” said Wilson, who walked into the empty store in the Bandywood shopping center and was shown the building. “It’s like we’re the very last touch in this shopping center.”
The store has a free-form layout. They keep merchandise together that they believe will sell together. “When you walk in, jewelry and sunglasses are arranged neatly on a table,” she said.
To give the store a more boutique feel and reduce clutter, they display an example of their shoes and keep the rest in inventory.
Dsquared sells an assortment of jewelry and accessories. Photo by Jane Anne Darken.
The Dsquared team goes to market four times a year to select merchandise for the store. This past summer, the team spent a week in Los Angeles shopping for their 2019 spring inventory.
Sales Associate Mary-Morgan Coburn said they go to market with a specific strategy and have set meeting times with specific vendors. However, Coburn said they find many new brands appealing.
“When we went to market in L.A.,” Coburn said. “We knew we wanted to order silk scarves for all of the Dsquared locations, but we had no specific brand in mind. We also happened to come across a new handbag brand that we now place a lot of orders with.”
When ordering for the Nashville store, Wilson said they ordered sweaters that would be immediately available because Nashville is colder than Mississippi. She said their spring inventory will arrive a month later in Nashville compared to the Oxford and Jackson store because it stays colder in Nashville.
Dsquared has a successful online business, which is relatively new, Coburn said. She said it’s different than other retailers because they do not keep their inventory in a warehouse.
Shoes neatly displayed at D Squared. Photo by Jane Anne Darken
Dsquared also benefits from having an Instagram page, which is updated with new content every few hours as they receive orders. Wilson is in charge of the store’s Instagram. She said people can call the store with their payment information, and they will set aside their purchase for pick up or ship it for a small fee.
Wilson said she updates the Nashville store’s Instagram with a variety of content ranging from flat-lay photos to people modeling their newest inventory. “I love taking pictures,” Wilson said.
Wilson said word of mouth and their convenient location has helped their success. She anticipates their customer base will grow.