The Treehouse Boutique in Fondren is known for being a pipeline to the latest fashions and gift trends while providing a unique shopping experience in a customer-friendly store housed in a home that is 100 years old.
“Whenever you come into our store, you are coming into our home,” said owner Jude Muse. “It is a unique shopping experience. I had wanted to be in the Fondren area and the opportunity arose to buy the business, so I did. It has grown in leaps and bounds ever since. We have branded ourselves. Before it was much more gift items and some clothing, and now we are 80 percent upscale clothing, accessories, jewelry and shoes. We carry a lot of dress and work clothes, but we still do gift items and some specialty items.”
Merchandise is arranged by room. For example, the kitchen carries not only clothing like aprons, but Bella Cucina specialty foods, candles for indoors and outdoors, and Cucina kitchen soaps and lotions. The bedroom areas feature shoes, nightgowns, pajamas, baby gifts, perfumes, lotions and candles. There are beautiful chandeliers in every room, handsome wallpaper, and lush Oriental or wool rugs on the wood floors in every room.
The Treehouse Boutique is known not only for its merchandise, but for its customer service.
“We know nearly every customer by name, and sometimes customers come in to just visit with us,” Muse said. “That is where we set ourselves apart from a lot of other stores in that we continually keep up with customers whether letting them know if something came in, or checking on them if we know they are sick or in the hospital, or something is going on in their lives. At any given time we have four to eight employees in our 1,000-square-foot store. We keep it very staffed for a small store to make sure every customer who walks in the door is taken care of.”
Customers often remark that they like knowing they are going to be taken care of, and that they will get good advice. Customers aren’t going to be told they look great in something when it isn’t right.
“We don’t tell them everything looks great,” Muse said. “We work with our customers. We want them to leave here as a representation not just of themselves, but the store. We always want them to go out looking and feeling good about themselves. Jackson is a very fashionable area. Jackson women have a lot of style, and are very aware of what is going on in the bigger fashion picture. So you definitely have to keep up with the trends and what is going on in the fashion world. We have a fabulous staff. All are very savvy about that.”
Fondren has a community feel that creates a nice environment. Instead of driving from store to store, shoppers often walk around and include a meal at a nice restaurant as part of the shopping experience.
“It just sets us apart from some of the other areas,” Muse said.
Some exclusive local vendors they carry include Love, Nina Jane, a Jackson jeweler, and Angel Court Jewels out of Meridian. Muse said that is an exciting line to have because Angel Court Jewels has several stars on TV and famous musicians who wear their jewelry.
Muse had a background in corporate retail before opening her own store, so she was used to the demands of the business.
“You have to love it and I do,” she said. “And all the people I work with love it, too. It is very demanding, but it is a fun business.”