[caption id="attachment_375288" align="alignright" width="232"] Marlena Ward-Dodds wearing a Bling Boutique t-shirt.[/caption]
An apparel retailer that started as an e-commerce business is expanding to soon open a brick-and-mortar store in Menomonee Falls.
The Bling Boutique will occupy an 800-square-foot space inside the No. 3 building of a retail strip located at N88 W16624 Appleton Ave. Set for a March 30 opening, the store will sell rhinestone-embellished clothing, accessories and gifts and will host groups that will make their own "bling" t-shirts and other items.
Customers can also place orders for custom-made bling products that are not sold at the store.
Owner Marlena Ward-Dodds, hopes the store will be an intimate space for customers, who are primarily women, to meet others and take a break from their busy schedules.
She plans to host events such as bridal parties, girls-night-out gatherings, couples' date nights, adult birthday parties, ministry team building and mother-daughter outings.
Ward-Dodds first launched her apparel business, called Trinity Xpressions, in 2014 on Etsy, making t-shirts bejeweled with messages about faith, empowerment and love. As she built her online brand, Ward-Dodds initially wasn't sure what she would do next, but opening a store seemed like a natural next step, she said.
She plans to continue selling her products online after the store opens.
The Bling Boutique will eventually partner with artists and vendors who can teach classes about crafts such as card-making or knitting and sell their products at the store.
Ward-Dodds said she hopes to one day open additional store locations, in downtown Milwaukee, in the region and out of state, she said.