By Lily Kubek
The Tower (Grosse Pointe)
In a world filled with pink and green flowers Mary Kate Kreisler ‘17 works beside her mother, Sarah Kreisler, at the Village Palm. Together they run the local apparel shop, folding clothes, checking out customers and selecting the next season’s clothing from the Lilly Pulitzer collection.
“I obviously love all the clothes,” Mary Kate said. “But also seeing the customers and helping them pick-out cute outfits.”
Sarah and her family purchased the Village Palm, located at 17110 Kercheval Ave, in May of 2009. This was shortly after the long-standing Hickey’s closed, which was the Village’s previous Lilly Pulitzer carrier, Sarah said.
When Sarah brought the idea of owning a local Lilly Pulitzer store to her family, they didn’t think much of opening up a shop, Mary Kate said.
“I love Lilly, and when I saw the sign that Hickey’s was going out of business, I said we have to have a Lilly store in the Village,” Sarah said.
Sarah has always enjoyed buying and selling Lilly Pulitzer clothing and accessories on Ebay in her own personal booth, so owning the Village Palm was an upgrade from her hobby, Mary Kate said.
Sarah had a six week process of building and opening the store, she said. Five years later, Village Palm has been successfully running and has even had one change of location in August of 2013, moving into the old Village Toy, making their store even bigger. The Village Palm also carries Vineyard Vines, Tracy Nogostian, Kate Spade, Gretchen Scott, Vera Bradley, Bando and Sail to Sable.
“It’s pretty nice having my mom own the store,” Mary Kate said. “The clothes are adorable and it’s great for me because I get all the clothes for free.”
Because Mary Kate works in the Village Palm three days a week, she gets special advantages from having her mom purchase all the merchandise wholesale in early shipment, she said. For the most part, Mary Kate can select any article of clothing from the store.
Katherine Knapp ‘17 has been family friends with the Kreisler’s since middle school, and she has helped out at the Village Palm several times, she said.
“It’s pretty cool to have Mary Kate’s mom own the store, because Lilly is one of my favorite stores,” Knapp said.
Having Mary Kate as a close friend, Knapp has been able to see sneak peaks of Lilly’s latest 2015 collection, Knapp said.
“She (Mary Kate) has only shown me a few dresses from the new spring collection, but from what I’ve seen, everything is really cute,” Knapp said.
The Village Palm takes numerous trips throughout the year in order to select clothing and accessories to purchase for the store, Mary Kate said. The Kreisler’s are able to visit the Lilly Pulitzer Corporation through owning an official license to sell the merchandise.
“Its a great mother-daughter bonding time, but it is really hard work,” Sarah said. “You have to work from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. trying to pick out all the designs, patterns and sizes you want for the store.”
Every three months Sarah, and sometimes Mary Kate, visit the Pink Palace (Lilly Pulitzer Headquarters) in Philadelphia, to decide which merchandise to take back to Michigan.
“Having a mom owning the Village Palm does come with its fashion perks and advantages,” Mary Kate said.
The experience of working at Village Palm has given Mary Kate a serious interest in fashion, she’s also interested in possibly working at the Pink Palace in Philadelphia as a full time Lilly Pulitzer employee, she said.
“It’s just really a lot of fun. I love the clothes and the customers,” Mary Kate said. “I hope to be part of the official Lilly Pulitzer corporation, maybe as a designer or as a retail consultant.”
Sarah and Mary Kate are taking a trip to Palm Beach, Florida in December to pick out Lilly Pulitzer’s new summer 2015 collection, Sarah said.
“I’m just really excited because the trip is going to be so much fun, and Lilly’s summer collections are always the best,” Mary Kate said.
The vibrant and colorful Village Palm has allowed Mary Kate to acquire a vast knowledge in the fashion industry, as well as taught her communication skills, she said.
“I love Village Palm so much and all the employees who I work with,” Mary Kate said. “The store just makes it fun to constantly work with differently people and give them fashion tips and advice.”