Located on Main Street, in a building over a century old, in Downtown Shawnee lies Gem & Ivy Boutique, a unique and growing store owned by mother and daughter duo Cari Berlin and Tessa Phillips.
According to Berlin, Gem & Ivy carries an assortment of items that are fashion forward and popular, but reasonably priced.
“Gem & Ivy is a women’s clothing and accessories boutique and we try to be on trend but affordable,” Berlin said. “We carefully curate what we buy so that we have small quantities, so people don’t end up wearing the same thing…”
The boutique sits in a building that’s been in Shawnee for over a century Berlin said. She explained she and her husband bought the building in 2017 and over time she and her daughter came up with the idea to open their own store.
“(My daughter) has always been very interested in fashion and she worked at the headquarters of a national retailers in Oklahoma City in the marketing and arts department…and I have a business background, so we thought we’d combine them…,” Berlin said.
Berlin and Phillips opened the store October of 2018 and Berlin explained the community has responded positively.
“Everybody has been so kind. People are still learning that we’re here…but we still have a lot of people come by and say ‘oh I didn’t know you were here,”’ Berlin said.
Both Berlin and Phillips have their roles in the business according to the mother. She said they love running the business as a team.
“It’s always interesting doing something with a mother daughter combination but we enjoy working together. We both have our specific roles,” Berlin said. “She handles all the buying, marketing and media and I manage the physical store and do all of the bookkeeping…”
The co-owner explained Gem & Ivy is unique because of its location, look and customer demographic which is women of all ages.
“One it’s on Main Street which is a real growing area…The aesthetic of the actual shop looks a little different than other boutiques and I think we have a lot of variety for a good price,” Berlin said.
For Berlin the best aspect of owning the business is having an outlet for her and Phillips’ creativity.
Phillips also loves the creativity aspect and said she enjoys getting to know the community on a more personal and face-to-face level.
“It’s such a unique thing nowadays I feel like to start with a brick and mortar rather than online…and of course Main Street is a very unique spot and the building is beautiful and the experience of actually getting to be hands on and meet people,” Phillips said.
However, she said it can be difficult to spread the word about the new store and its rare items.
Berlin explained she and her daughter took their time coming up with a name because they wanted it to be an accurate representation of their store.
“We were looking for something that signified two things. One is something of value or treasure and that’s the gem part of the name and then the ivy kind of signifies something evergreen, something growing and fresh,” Berlin said. “We like a good ampersand.”
As time goes on both Berlin and Phillips hope to grow Gem & Ivy and continue to serve the women of Shawnee and hopefully further.
“The plan is to expand Gem & Ivy a lot online, so we really hope to make it a recognizable brand far outside of Shawnee and make the Shawnee store kind of a cool flagship space,” Phillips said.
Gem & Ivy is located at 20 W Main Street. For more information visit shopgemandivy.com