New boutique focuses on power of positivity

Emmy’s Post has affordable fashion, message of kindness

By: Andy Kozlowski | C&G Newspapers | Published July 11, 2015

Advertisement

ROYAL OAK — When Judy Lewis and Linda Williams set out to start a business, they weren’t sure what form it would take. They just knew it had to be something meaningful.

“It has to be positive, and it has to be outward focused,” Lewis said. “It can’t just be about making money. It has to be about helping people.”

Lewis is an employee of the Lamphere school district in Madison Heights. She’s also the drama director at Lamphere High. Williams is the economic and community engagement supervisor for the city of Madison Heights. They started talking about a business venture a year ago.

Then the talks died down, until one day when Williams was shopping at a children’s store and the owner asked if she was interested in buying the property. Williams brought it up with Lewis, and Lewis agreed. It was just 26 days between the time they signed the lease to when they turned the key and opened the door July 1.  

The result is Emmy’s Post, a teen boutique at 210 W. Sixth St. in Royal Oak. For Williams, it’s a side venture as she continues her work for the city of Madison Heights. For Lewis, it’s more of a full-time job, although she’ll continue her work with the Lamphere High Drama Club.

“I still feel the shock when I come to work,” Lewis said. “I think, ‘Oh my gosh, I opened a store!’ Most businesses take several months to open, but this took less than a month.”

The name Emmy’s Post works on several levels. The main inspiration is Emily Post, a writer from the early 1900s who became famous advising businessmen on etiquette. This is the “spirit” of the store — seeing the good in others and treating people with respect. 

Changing the name to “Emmy” avoids legal issues. The word “post” refers both to a trading post and a post on social media — something relatable to the target demographic.

Emily’s positive attitude resonated with Lewis and Williams. Lewis said today’s culture can breed superficial attitudes, which lead to pettiness and the “mean girl” mentality. Emmy’s Post is trying to counter all of that with its focus on civility.

“We wanted to have a driving factor about positive attitudes, filling one another up, giving to one another, positive powerful things, so when girls come in here, they feel empowered,” Lewis said. “We want girls to feel like they can come in here and really be girls and be kind to one another, and go out into the world feeling positive about who they are.”

One way the store does this is by highlighting the works of young artist-entrepreneurs and by supporting giveback programs. For example, Kristin Smith, a Lamphere graduate, will have a special T-shirt design sold there that supports Faith Keepers, in memory of Kayla Kincannon, a Lamphere student who passed away from brain cancer right before graduation. Another item that will be highlighted is friendship bracelets made by students at Lamphere.

There are a wide variety of stylish outfits and accessories at affordable prices. Two college students and four high school students helped pick out the items that are sold and helped price them. They went through the store on an item-by-item basis, asking themselves how much they can afford, what they would be willing to pay, and what they should cost.

One of the girls is Abbie Isham, a Lamphere graduate currently at Central Michigan University. Her mother, Cindy, and sister, Hannah, also helped out. 

“We like to pitch in and help out,” Cindy said. “We work well together (with the Lewis family).”

Abbie agreed.

“It’s pretty crazy — it seems like the business opened in the blink of an eye. I’m really happy Mrs. Lewis wanted me to be a part of it,” Abbie said. “I love fashion, and I’m going into integrated public relations, so I’ve been helping out with social media and the advertising aspect. I think (Lewis and Williams) have a unique perspective on the mood they want to have with the store, and the kind of influence they want to have on the people who shop there.”

Abbie said Lewis and Williams make a good team: Williams, with her business knowledge, and Lewis, with her creativity and ability to handle complex productions with the Lamphere Drama Club.

Lewis said Abbie has been instrumental.

“Honestly, we couldn’t have gotten the work done without her,” Lewis said. “She’s been here late at night pricing items, making everything look pretty, putting a very young touch on things.”

She also thanked her husband, Rick, and Williams’ husband, Mark, who worked together on the store’s counter, cabinetry and more. Both families got their children involved, as well.

Lewis said things seem to be going well so far. She recalled an incident where two ladies came to the store, very well-dressed and wealthy-looking. One of them had an attitude, telling Lewis that she was “giving away the store” by pricing some items so low. Lewis explained to them that she wanted the items to be quality but affordable. And then she explained the store’s concept of civility.

“Their whole demeanor changed,” Lewis said. “One of them even told me this is her new favorite store. I thought, ‘It worked! We’re making people nicer right before my eyeballs.’”

Emmy’s Post is located at 210 W. Sixth St. in Royal Oak. For more information, call (248) 325-6023 or visit www.emmyspost.com.

Advertisement