In her shop Fondren Muse, Mary Amelia McRee has found a way to indulge her love of fashion while helping rescue animals.
Photo by Courtesy Mary Amelia McRee
Let’s be honest: There aren’t many places to turn in Jackson if you want true couture designer clothes. But when Mary Amelia McRee opened a designer consignment boutique, Fondren Muse, on Halloween last year, big-time labels became a little more accessible in the metro.
McRee grew up in Belhaven and graduated from Jackson Prep before going on to get a degree in kinesiology from Mississippi State University. After realizing that kinesiology was probably not her passion, she began renovating and selling homes in the Belhaven area.
As a pet owner and volunteer for Community Animal Rescue and Adoptions Mississippi, McRee originally planned to open a green doggie day care, but the idea soon took new life as an upscale boutique and CARA drop site, Fondren Muse.
Can you virtually walk us through Fondren Muse?
Sure. I decided to paint everything white in order to have a blank canvas. I left the original wooden slats bare on one wall, racks are made of galvanized steel pipes, and my sales counter basically looks like a pile of raw wood. Shelves are filled with shoes, purses and jewelry, and there is an entire room dedicated to “dry goods” such as candles, pillows, wallets and cosmetic bags, handmade jewelry, sunglasses, scarves, pet accessories, art and furniture.
How do you pick brands to be in Fondren Muse?
We have a list of “Labels We Like” on the website, but we definitely are not limited to just those labels. Being a “designer” consignment store is what sets FM apart from other shops around town.
What is the price range?
I have plenty of pieces under $30, and then I have a Chanel jacket for $1,450. I would say that the bulk of the pieces we have in here are around or below $100.
Any plans of opening other locations for Fondren Muse?
I’d love to expand FM to other places, but expect to see it next online.
How can someone who tends to dress really “safe” break out of her comfort zone and dress more creatively?
A fun way to be a little daring is adding a bold scarf to your outfit. Change out your flats for a low/mid-heel bootie.
Why did you want to open a boutique in the Fondren area?
Fondren is a great area for retail, as well as a community that is supportive and accepting of new concepts and ideas.
When did you get involved with CARA?
I started volunteering at CARA events on the weekends a few years ago after rescuing my precious pup, Friend, whom readers are likely to see on occasion at FM.
How does this involvement with CARA carry over in to your boutique?
Consignors at FM are given the option to donate a portion of their 50 percent cut of items sold to CARA. We are also a drop-off location for donations to CARA; they keep an updated “wish-list” on their website (carams.org). I know that they are always happy to get pet food, but are particularly in need of blankets, towels, sheets and comforters for the winter months.
Fondren Muse is located at 3413 N. State St. and open Mondays from noon to 6 p.m., Tuesdays through Fridays from 11 a.m.-6 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. For more information, call 601-345-1155, email FondrenMuse@gmail.com or visit http://www.FondrenMuse.com.