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Opening a Clothing Boutique with Morton James Boutique

I think anyone that has a love affair with all things fashion has at one point, dreamed of opening their own store. A perfect little space that’s beautifully curated and lovingly designed. So today we’re picking the brain of Halie Rogers – the fashionista behind Morton James in Lexington with photos by Tiffany Mitchell – to see just what kind of chops it takes to open a store of your very own.

SMP: What inspired you to open a boutique of your own?

Halie: Having lived in Nashville for the past couple of years I fell in love with the city and all it had to offer. It is filled with lots of local, thriving businesses that really seem to define the essence of Nashville. Being immersed in that atmosphere really inspired me to become a part of Lexington’s evolving community.

SMP: Tell us about your career path before openings Morton James.

Halie: I’ve been focusing on raising my 6 year old son while also studying photography. I’ve always had an entrepreneur drive so once he got old enough I started planning a business that would satisfy my creative side while still allowing me the flexibility to be the mom that I strive to be.

SMP: Tell us a few things about retail that you perhaps weren’t prepared for when you were in the “dreaming” phase.

Halie: While I knew it was going to be a lot of dedication and work, I’m not sure I knew quite how time consuming and overwhelming it was going to be. The creative aspect of owning a boutique is what really drew me into the business, but perhaps I should have taken my dad’s advice and gotten a business or accounting degree first! ha!

SMP: How do you set yourself apart in your market?

Halie: Though it’s evolving, Lexington is still a traditional, Southern city and there are a lot of great boutiques that cater to that lifestyle. After visiting other cities across the US and living in Nashville, I saw a huge void in the fashion market here. I felt like we needed an edgier, boho, casual-chic boutique for men and women, that’s more aligned with today’s modern fashion. I feel like that vision alone sets us apart as we cater to a segment of the local market that really relates to our aesthetic.

SMP: Is having good taste when it comes to fashion enough to run a successful retail store?

Halie: To be honest, I thought so- but I was wrong! Having good taste helps since you have to design an inventory that attracts clients but there’s so much more that goes into running a retail store than just that. I’m lucky to have a great friend/manager/life-saver who has extensive retail experience that’s been here from the beginning to help with every aspect of running the business. She really helps balance the work load which is a huge stress relief and it doesn’t hurt to have a friend to go through all of this with!

SMP: How do you source your collections?

Halie: We did alot of research on the lines we wanted to carry- most of which were ones that were unheard of in Lexington. We visited lots of showrooms in NYC and also went to several markets in both Atlanta and New York. We are constantly on the lookout for new lines that we think will fit our style.

SMP: What are three trends your currently loving?

Halie: Sling back booties are sure to make even the simplest outfit look great, cream colored jeans as opposed to the typical white pant and lastly, a great fitting denim top.

SMP: Who is your favorite designer right now, right this moment?

Halie: That’s a tough one to narrow down! I’m currently loving both Raquel Allegra and Mara Hoffman. Raquel Allegra produces really chic and timeless clothing so I find myself wearing a lot of her tops for almost any occasion. Mara Hoffman, on the other hand, is a great go-to line when I’m in the mood to wear bold colors and patterns. Her spring and summer designs are to die for – I can’t wait to get them in!

SMP: If you had to choose one accessory to wear every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Halie: Probably a pair of Melanie Auld earrings. Her whole jewelry line is simple yet colorful and modern making them all easy to wear on a daily basis.

SMP: What are 5 staples to splurge on?

Halie: A good bag, an awesome leather jacket, a pair of booties, black skinny jeans and a well made white t-shirt. All are staples that you’ll wear time and time again- season after season.

SMP: What is THE color for 2014? THE must have piece?

Halie: Black is THE color for me always. You can never go wrong. I tend to buy neutral and then layer in with accessories and textures. I’m not sure I have a specific piece that everyone must get their hands on – but I do know sheer detail or lady-like lace are both going to be huge trends in 2014 along with lots of rose gold jewelry. I’ll definitely be sporting all of the above!

SMP: What does the next five years look like for Morton James?

Halie: We are really content with where we are and with the vision that we have established. We just want to work toward growing new relationships within the community and nurturing those that already exist. We want to stay true to our mission which is essentially to provide Lexington with clothing to fit our modern day lifestyle. Who knows though, maybe you’ll see Morton James pop up in another southern city! In the meantime, we are staying focused on growing our presence here in Lexington.

Photography: Tiffany Mitchell | Interior Design: Hannah Maple Studio | Vendor: Mara Hoffman

Lexington Wedding from Melanie Mauer + One Fine Day Wedding Consultation

These two lovebirds have been through it all and back again, so it was high time for them to let down their hair and celebrate in a classically stunning, especially sweet soiree, planned to perfection by One Fine Day Wedding Consultation. The resulting affair was beyond pretty, beyond special, beyond romantic… Really just beyond. Photography by Melanie Mauer captured every heartwarming second of the big day and has packaged all the images up so pretty in a full image gallery for you to pour over all morning. Enjoy!

Click here for the entire wedding in the full image gallery!

Right before the wedding, my aunt began playing “Doe a Deer…” from the Sound of Music on the piano and all of us girls broke out into song, dancing around, drinking and having the best time. There was never a minute of stress – it was a constant party.

I loved seeing Brandon all dressed up on our wedding day. The way we staged the first look had the perfect amount of anticipation. Sitting in my carriage hearing the call to post was such a unique and old-world moment. I remember thinking how I wish I could clone myself to see everyone’s reaction.

Listening to Brandon’s vows still give me the chills because they were so honest and loving. Nothing can surpass our first kiss as husband and wife and hearing the two simplest words: “I Do”.

Planner: One Fine Day Wedding Consultation / Flowers: E. Stephen Hein / Cake: Martine’s Pastries / Photography: Photography by Melanie Mauer / Venue: Spindletop Hall / Make-up: Ana Crane-Simpson

Lexington Wedding by Melanie Mauer

Welcome back to yet another beautiful week on SMP! We are just aching to start the lineup of lovely, and start we shall with this Bluegrass State beauty by Melanie Mauer! I’ve had ants in my pants to share this wedding since I first set eyes on this southern soiree, and you’ll see why with just one scroll through all of the pretty. With a bride that is take-your-breath-away gorgeous, a classic old Kentucky home as the venue, a dapper groom, pretty ponies to pose with and a lineup of lovely details – it’s sure to make this Monday feel a bit more elegant. So grab a mint julep (ok, maybe it’s a wee bit early for that…coffee will do) and trot on over to the full gallery for even more!

Click here for the FULL wedding!

Let’s keep this pretty party going with their video from Portal Films, shall we?

From Melanie of  Photography by Melanie MauerElizabeth Lary and Steve Kirsch were married this fall on the Glen Lary estate here in Lexington. The estate itself has been in their family for generations and was the perfect thing to bring the couple to Kentucky for their wedding. They are from Los Angeles (Manhattan Beach) but planned a glamorous country wedding here in the Bluegrass to enjoy being surrounded by friends and family. Elizabeth is charismatic and extraordinarily talented! The groom is her perfect compliment, calm, level headed and subtle. The couple are now back in LA, but soon to transfer to NYC.

From the bride… From the first time I first set foot on the grounds of our family home, I knew that this would be the ONLY place in the world that I would ever get married. Steve and I met in Miami, Florida fresh out of college and have spent almost every day together since. After a stint in Germany, New York and a cross country move to California, he proposed after we got home from a magical Michael Bublé concert. Down on one knee, with our house full of roses, my favorite champagne and our dogs. Nothing could have been more magical. Being a corporate event planner by trade, planning my own wedding seemed to fall right into place. I already had the perfect venue and the perfect groom, which made the rest easy. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a hopeless romantic who lives my life vicariously through fairy tales and romantic comedies. That being said, I knew that our wedding would have to encompass all of the above. From our “Father of the Bride”/”The Notebook” style venue to the twinkling lights above our heads, a band that was to die for and a groom that stood by my side throughout the entire process, it was the most magical night of our lives. Friends and family flew into the Blue Grass state from all around the country to celebrate our magical weekend. Horse racing at Keeneland, bourbon tasting and a wedding at our family home tied everything together into the perfect Kentucky weekend. All of our Lexington vendors and friends that we met through the planning process went above and beyond the call of duty to help out a California bride with her dream wedding. All invitations and printed materials were designed by a wonderful friend and assembled over nights of wine and laughter. Gift baskets were from the heart and wedding favors tied into our family history. All in all, our wedding was my piece de resistance and a weekend that hopefully no one will ever forget. 

Wedding Planner: The bride / Day-of Coordination: Always Planned / Venue: GlenLary Estate / Photography: Photography by Melanie Mauer / Florist: Crist Creona Designs / Cake: Martine’s / Rentals: Purdons / Catering: DaRae & Friends / Cinematography: Portal Films / Dress: Oscar de la Renta / Belt: Carolina Herrera / Shoes: Stuart Weitzman / Hair & Makeup: Tara Ferrell ( / Band: Simply Irresistible / Hair piece: Alisa Brides / Cake Topper: Mudcards / Paper: Cheryl Humphreys ( / Design: Joe Richardson ofHubbuch and Co.

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