Oxford — Sisters Melinda Gholson and Rachel Murphy initially conjured up the idea of opening a trendy boutique in Oxford over Thanksgiving dinner. But the idea was promptly dropped because Gholson lived in Laurel and Murphy lived in Brandon.
“Even though we thought it was a good idea — Ole Miss has such a fashion-conscious student body with all these gorgeous girls — we knew that one of us needed to be there. We couldn’t run a store long-distance,” said Gholson, whose daughter, Mary Katherine, 19, is a sophomore at Ole Miss majoring in psychology. “It was one of those ideas we thought would never come to fruition, like one day writing that great American novel.”
In February, Murphy dialed Gholson with some unbelievable news about her husband: “Guess where Zane is getting transferred? Oxford!”
“The more Melinda and I began to brainstorm the idea of having a store that would offer the items we wanted at affordable prices, the more we realized we were crazy not to put one foot in front of the other and move forward,” said Murphy.
Before settling on the name Get Lucky, the sisters considered names ranging from “Banana Wallpaper to something French or foreign-sounding to names with food, like cheesecake, but that sounded fat,” said Gholson. “I love the name we chose because it’s been a real attention-getter. During a recent festival in Oxford, we drove a golf cart around with our logo on a big sign and believe me, people noticed.”
Even though the sisters had planned to open the discount designer clothing store at the beginning of the fall semester, retail space became available in April and they jumped at the chance to open early “and get our feet wet,” said Gholson.
“It turned out to be a very good thing,” she said, noting that traffic “immediately exceeded our wildest expectations.”
“Now we’re fully staffed and stocked with some really fabulous pieces for our grand opening Aug. 18-21, the weekend students move into the dorm,” she added.
Murphy, who worked for Dallas fashion designer Barbara Hairston and Neiman Marcus, has stocked the store with some of the season’s hottest items: jean jackets and other Juicy Couture separates; a Sandra McRae spa line with activewear “that girls wear from gym to lunch to class,” said Murphy; tanks, tees, slim pants and skirts by the classic brand Theory and the trendy Ivy Jane; clothing from casual to “after five” by Laundry (“Ole Miss girls love to wear Laundry cocktail dresses to football games,” noted Gholson); BCBG separates; and scores of Seven, Earl and Lucky blue jeans.
“Mary Katherine tells me that everything they got (on a recent buying trip to Los Angeles) is fabulous, and there is not one piece that she just feels average about,” said Gholson. “That’s high praise from such a picky girl.”
Get Lucky also carries clothing for “moms that don’t like to dress like old ladies,” she added. “These girls keep us from looking dowdy.”
Shoppers pay less than half the retail price, with most dresses averaging less than $100. Items marked down to $5 and $10 for the end-of-summer clearance sale didn’t stay on the rack very long.
“I’m amazed at how well these college girls know their brand names,” said Gholson. “They shop on the Internet and look at fashion magazines that are like their Bibles. They are so into fashion.”
Murphy said it seems that part of their curriculum is to carry around LUCKY, In-Style and Allure.
“Good thing for us, we carry a lot of the designers they see in these magazines,” she said.
Running the boutique has turned into a family affair. A cousin, Camille Jones, a recent Ole Miss grad, manages the store, and Mary Katherine Gholson and her friends work there part time. Their dad, James Roseberry, who ran the family business Roseberry Piano House in Hattiesburg until he retired, is a consultant.
“Daddy says always make sure customers know you appreciate them,” said Gholson. “And believe me, we try to.”
Gholson, who handles bookkeeping duties for the store, and her husband, Laurel attorney Bob Gholson, are Ole Miss alums that are financially backing the venture.
“I usually get to Oxford at least one week a month, and we were used to going to football games every fall anyway, so the traveling hasn’t made much of a difference,” she said. “Except now during ballgames, I’ll probably be working the store because a lot of ladies shop while the men go to the game, especially when it’s still hot.”
Arriving for fall: dresses with lace, antique broaches, tweed skirts and jackets and wraps, including a Tracy Reese fur poncho.
Get Lucky, open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, is located about three blocks north of The Square at 800 North Lamar Street, en route to the popular Beacon restaurant, in a shopping center that also houses Handy Andy Barbecue and Bambula Furniture.
Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynne W. Jeter at firstname.lastname@example.org.