You will find this week’s Small Business Saturday feature in the Old Town district of Lansing. Polka Dots Boutique is located at 1207 Turner street and sits in the heart of Old Town with many area attractions, eateries and shops nearby.
We recently learned more about the owner, Jennie Hinze, her charming store and how her community completely showed up and helped the COVID closure by taking, “it takes a village,” to a whole new level – and her village is AWESOME!
Learn more about their renovation, the addition of a mens line, plans for a grand re-opening and much, much more!
Welcome to GLAMoms, Jennie and Polka Dots Boutique. 🙂
Tell us about Polka Dots Boutique!
I purchased Polka Dots and the building it resides in in 2014 without knowing what I was going to do with the space! I just knew I wanted my own business and that I loved the community. It has since gradually grown from a bead shop to an ethically sourced clothing, accessories and gift shop.
I love that I can help others while running a fun business by featuring products that are socially conscious and ethically sourced. We also give back to local non-profits while featuring products from around the globe.
What’s your background? What made you go into what you’re doing now?
I spent 17 years in law. I worked too much and was not present for my family. One of my life goals included owning my own business by the time I turned 40. I had no idea what that goal would actually look like when I established it as a 16 year old. As time progressed and I found myself putting my efforts into someone else’s goals and dreams, I knew it was time to make a switch and when I saw a for sale sign on the Polka Dots building, I knew it was time.
I keep my foot in the door of my past career by working as a contractor for both the State Bar of Michigan and another legal organization to provide continuing legal education.
What do you love about having a business in the Greater Lansing area, Old Town specifically?
Old Town has its own community vibe that I absolutely love. I love bringing my dog, Sola, to my shop and seeing her welcomed by just about everyone (she’s a pit mix). The people who live and work in Old Town care about each other and the space they are in. I have met some of my favorite people in Old Town.
What has been the most challenging part of running your business during COVID, and how did you overcome it?
I was diagnosed in late 2019 with breast cancer and was in the middle of recovery from my second surgery when we were shut down. I was fortunate enough to have a website and was able to push all sales to our online platform.
I was still in need of a lot of help as I wasn’t able to lift anything over 8 pounds. So to prepare, ship, deliver and manage curbside all on my own was a stressful time. I’m fortunate that I had family help. There was also a lot of stress involved with having a weakened immune system from cancer when it came time to re-opening.
My customers definitely got us through, and continue to help us overcome it. The loyalty and support was absolutely our saving grace.
What are some exciting plans you have for the business in 2021 and as we move towards 2022? And we understand a grand re-opening this fall?
So many things! We are completing a renovation on our 1886 building that will make it a larger, cooler, and less leaky space. We will also be featuring a new men’s line that we’re really excited about. I have curated the men’s line with some of my favorite men and they will be introduced as models and ambassadors. With more space available, we will be able to bring in more new inventory as well.
Once it’s done we will have a Grand Re-opening to showcase the renovated space and other new stuff.
Would you share some details about the beautiful mural created on the south side of your building?
Sure! We worked with MSU Women of Color Initiatives to have it done.
“Maawed Miijim” Nani Chacon 2018
Design collaboration: Nani Chacon and Dylan Miner ..
This work “Maagwed Miijim” (translation : the one who provides) is centered around the act of Strawberry and Berry picking, a necessary and labor intensive act that provides us with a beautiful nourishment from earth.
What’s your favorite business or two in the Greater Lansing area?
Some of my favorite spots in the Lansing area. . . so many! My daughter and I love to shop at Vintage Junkies together. Grace Boutique is my favorite spot to get an outfit for a special occasion. My entire family is addicted to the BLT’s at Batter Up Bistro and we can’t wait until they re-open. People’s Kitchen is also one of our favorites for brunch.
Preferred method for inquiries to contact you?
GLAMom readers – Polka Dots has offered a discount that can be used online or in store: 10% off when you use the code “GLAMom”.