Meet your merchant: Whim. Be Beautiful! | TheUnion.com

Meet your merchant: Whim. Be Beautiful!

From left, Patty Liron, Kelly Piercey (owner) and Diane Crow of "Whim. Be Beautiful!" -- a clothing and gift store in Penn Valley.

The customer comments seem to happen daily.

"Please don't ever leave," said one woman, who popped in to browse on Thursday.

"Thank you for being here," said another.

When Kelly Piercey first took the plunge in 2016 and opened a small Penn Valley boutique called "Whim. Be beautiful!" she wasn't entirely sure it would survive in the rural Nevada County town. In the past, she'd owned a 5,000-square-foot day spa in the Bay Area for 23 years and the demographic and inventory in her new shop was almost entirely different. But as one of her customers who traveled all the way from Tahoe to see what was new at the shop said, "You have absolutely nailed the niche for women ages 40 to forever."

Initially, when Piercey first opened the doors of her store, inventory consisted solely of the Bare Minerals cosmetic line and "Body Blends," a popular assortment of bath and body products she herself had developed during her spa days.

"Then I decided to add a few dresses," said Piercey, with a laugh. "It turned out to be a slippery slope."

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Slippery slope, indeed.

The clothing was an instant hit. As a result, in October the store expanded to more than double its initial size to provide enough space for more clothing. Four months later, it expanded to include the entire building. Word got out, and shoppers from Grass Valley and Nevada City became regulars. Today, Whim boasts more than 1,000 pieces of clothing. An additional 200 square feet of storage was recently added simply to accommodate the sizable over stock.

"People really wanted clothes and we desperately needed the space to properly display them," said Piercey. "We were eager to offer a larger selection. People don't want to see their friends in the same clothes they're wearing."

To keep things fresh, Piercey travels to trade shows at least six times a year in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, consistently ordering new styles.

"I generally only get six of each piece — if I reorder, I make sure it's different," she said. "We've got a fast turnover. I spend a lot of time buying and we're very picky. I have one customer who comes in three times a week because she doesn't want to miss anything."

Popular clothing brands include Habitat, Tribal, Cut Loose, Fresh Produce, Color Me Cotton, French Dressing and more. The focus is on comfort and easy-for-travel wash and wear.

"We listen closely to our customers when it comes to style," said Piercey. "Bodies change as we age, yet people still want something fun and flattering. My motto is, 'Beautiful at every age.'"

Piercey is also quick to credit much of the success of the store to her "amazing staff," all of whom work part-time. Employees include Patty Liron, Diane Crow, Maddie Graham, Janet Swift, Ellie Robinson and Vicki Sartori. There is a consistently a feeling of excitement among the staff when new shipments arrive.

"We play dress up along with our customers," said Liron. "We can't wait to dive into the next box."

The store also boasts two nooks filled with items for the home, such as cheery dishes, table clothes, napkins and candles. Also for sale are aiolis, jams, scones and barbecue sauce by Stonewall Kitchen. Whim also carries locally made Sutter Buttes balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Helping to tear down the endless boxes and oversee the store's maintenance, construction and repair is Piercey's husband, Todd, a retired contractor and co-owner of the store. Not only did he recently build the new storage area, he created a charming seating area out in front.

"We love the products we carry, but the best part about this job is the staff and customers," said Crow. "We always look forward to coming to work."

To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at Cory@theunion.com.

Whim. Be beautiful!

Clothing and gift store

17562 Penn Valley Drive., Penn Valley

Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. saturday

Closed Sunday

530-559-3954

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