For a shop that’s unabashedly dedicated to all things pink, sparkly and stereotypically femme, Girly Girlz has a surprisingly feminist backbone. “I wanted my boys to see that their mom was a strong woman who could have her own business... and be a great mom and wife,” owner Melissa Fink says of her 3- and 7-year-old sons. “Women could do these things.”
Fink, a political and corporate communications vet, purchased the 13-year-old “tea and trinkets” boutique in 2016 after a rash of personal tragedies – her sister’s death at the hands of a drunk driver, her own health maladies including a misdiagnosed autoimmune disorder and consequent stroke as well as infertility – threw her life into sharp perspective. “I spent all this time focusing on all of that,” she says. When she emerged, she asked herself, “What do I want to do for me? What do I want this next phase of my life to be?”
At Girly Girlz, she spreads her resilient joie de vivre to scores of girls – and some boys – who come for glam makeovers, rock- star karaoke, tea parties and craft sessions. To the shop’s inventory (sample item: sequin leopard dress, $46), she’s added camps, an updated website with online shopping and wish-list registries, and a raft of service-oriented experiences including a Girl Scouts badge program, birthday parties for foster kids and pampering parties for human trafficking victims. Sometimes a little glitter goes a long way. “It’s about embracing that girly side,” she says. “What’s wrong with being girly? What’s wrong with wanting to feel and look good? I think you can be intelligent and still enjoy those things.”
To paraphrase the feminist maxim – it’s not the tiara, it’s your relationship to the tiara.
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