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Keeping Fashion Fun

A Pennington Boutique All About Community, Unique Clothing And Accessories With Twists

From its logo, designed with a flower peeping out of the “O,” to the decorative flowers and brightly colored sundresses visible from the storefront window display, it’s clear that Poppy Boutique in Pennington is a happy, friendly place to shop. It’s not surprising then that the store is known for its selection of “original, unique, fun fashion.”

The owner of Poppy Boutique, Janice Mintz, an attorney-turned-fashion entrepreneur, says the name came from a suggestion she heard during a focus group she had organized, once deciding to seriously take her love of fashion further. "As soon as I heard 'Poppy,' I said, "That's it!" she explains. "I loved the name, and I love flowers. The whole concept came about as a community effort. It's become a community of women who really enjoy it and see it as a place where they can come and shop and check-in and say hi."

After leaving a demanding career as an attorney, one can understand why the fledgling business owner would want to keep things fun. "That's what it's all about," she says. To that end, the shop features a good selection of tops and tees, sweaters, pants, denim, casual and special occasion dresses, jewelry, and accessories – perfect, everyday pieces not found anywhere else.

"I try to have in the boutique things you can wear again and again," she says.

Over the years, the boutique has generated a steady stream of loyal customers, who, as Janice says, represent a "wide spectrum of women" ranging in age from 20-year-old college students to women 80-plus years young -- perhaps largely because the pieces she selects have wide appeal. "We try to buy things at a good intersection between preppy and boho that appeal to a wide array of women," she describes of the shop’s style.

Poppy's prices, say its owner, range anywhere from $50 to $250. "I love providing interesting, quality fashion that's also affordable," she explains. "I hope that everyone who walks in the door finds something they love that makes them happy."

At the same time, she encourages her customers to be open to trying new trends. "We encourage people to try something on they might otherwise be timid about," she says, noting one experience where a customer tried on, in her opinion, the dreaded jumpsuit -- and, to her surprise, loved the way it looked and felt.

The entrepreneur was always a lover of fashion, yet her first career was in law. After practicing for 17 years, she walked away to achieve a better work-life balance. For seven years, she was a full-time mom, but she explains that, as her kids grew older, she started thinking about her next chapter. Over time, she says, everything fell into place.

"I've always loved fashion," she says. "I jokingly say it was in my DNA." 

With a grandmother who was a seamstress and a brother who was a fashion designer, it seemed like a logical transition – yet, a gradual one. Janice built up the courage to start a business by watching a friend do it. Without any strategic plan, she started the business as a part-time endeavor – a way to get her feet wet – with a small space in a local salon. Interestingly, she explains this is where her background in law served her well:  "Lawyers tend to be conservative and more analytical in their approach to things, so that definitely came into play in terms of how cautious I was."

She says she took "baby steps" as she learned, and as the business grew. This was, according to her, "by design," as she "didn't want to create expectations until [she] knew what [she] was doing.”

By 2018, after having moved to a different pop-up spot, Janice says she had learned how to run a successful fashion boutique. As the store grew, she brought on two employees, or "stylists," as she calls them:  Nina from California and Rebecca, their “resident jeans queen.” By 2019, Poppy moved to its first brick-and-mortar location, a small space at 8 North Main Street in Pennington. Before long, the shop had outgrown the space, yet its owner didn't want to leave her prime downtown location. This is because Poppy Boutique, she agrees, owes much to the local community – its storefront display that changes weekly attracts people to pop in on a whim to shop or just say hello.

Fortunately, when a larger space a few doors down became available, Janice jumped at the opportunity. She renovated it, and in February 2022, moved Poppy Boutique to its new location at 4 North Main Street. More space means more room for items her customers love, such as accessories.

Poppy Boutique clearly evolved since its humble beginnings in 2015. Looking back on the past seven years, its owner says, “It just kind of worked out, one step in front of the other. I feel like there’s a bit of karma in this business for me, too.”

While she already has some ideas for the future brewing, for now, she’s taking it all one step at a time. "I’m always thinking about how we can do things better," she says. "The community really will probably determine that. I’d say we want to keep doing what we’re doing well and keep making it a happy place to shop.”

PoppyStyleNJ.com

What's In Store at Poppy?

Summertime is about enjoying summer while transitioning to fall, with items like light, versatile sweaters in fall colors, jumpsuits, and dresses. Summer fashion staples – sundresses, tees, shorts – also are available, plus new items:

  • Shoes
  • Summer hats
  • Seasonal handbags
  • Gifts, including curated holiday collections