Moxie’s reflects fashion niche

Published 10:22 am Friday, May 14, 2010

Steph Smiy admires an outfit from Moxie's Boutique, a one-of-a-kind store in St. Joseph. Photo by Mike Smiy


Monica Bolin had a very comfortable life. She had three children, a husband and a well-paying, corporate job at Whirlpool.

But the St. Joseph mother’s life was turned around when she became pregnant with her fourth child at age 40. The difficult pregnancy combined with a job that required lots of travel wasn’t working out. By the time her child was born, she had lost her position with her company and wasn’t interested in any other positions they offered.

But other tragic circumstances caused Bolin to re-think her priorities. A friend suggested before she died that Bolin reevaluate where she is going in life.

“By the time I delivered (my baby), that job was long gone,” Bolin said. “There wasn’t anything I wanted.”

While working a five-year stint with Cornerstone Alliance, she learned the basics of starting up a business. That’s when the light came on.

“I decided to walk away from a paycheck and be my own employee,” Bolin said. “I’ve never looked back.”

Moxie’s Boutique opened its doors on State Street in St. Joseph in July 2006. Bolin, who said the name reflects the “spunky and gutsy” traits that embody herself and her career move, wanted to fill a price point boutique niche that was unmet in the St. Joe area.

“I thought it took a lot of guts to walk away from a corporate paycheck,” Bolin explained. “I’ve never worked a day of retail in my life.”

Bolin’s daughter worked with her for a couple years, but she now employs several part-time staff.

Fortunately, Moxie’s was open before the recession hit; the store had developed a customer base in the area and was creating good feedback.

“At first it was just do much fun … it really describes what we were doing,” Bolin said. “I didn’t go into it with any preconceived ideas. We quickly dropped lines and picked up lines based on responses.”

Bolin said that Moxie’s clothing and accessory lines “allow a working woman to go from work to weekend. You wear it to the office … you pair some flats and jeans with it and go out with the girls. It’s well-made, not disposable.”

Moxie’s specializes in classic yet unique looks, from shoes and scarves to cocktail dresses and sweaters from designers like Karen Keene, Frank Lyman and Nally & Millie. Sizes range from extra-small to extra-large, and Bolin said her clothing is cut to order, so the boutique differs from the average department store.

“I think that’s the biggest draw people have,” Bolin said.

Moxie’s is located at 321 State St., St. Joseph. Currently, hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday; hours change seasonally. Visit the store online at www.moxiesboutique .com.