Fueled by shoppers' positive responses to a new batch of lesser-known European fashion labels, indie boutique Mona Williams is making a leap that intimidates most small retailers: opening a second store at Mall of America.
Mona Williams owner Patric Richardson says he has signed a temporary lease at Mall of America for the former Cache storefront, near Nordstrom on the first level. (Short term leases offer small businesses a more affordable way to test the mall.) The store will open May 27, featuring a mix of designer vintage women’s apparel (a novelty at the mall!) and new fashion lines, along with apothecary for body and home and the complete collection of cleaning products from the Laundress. In addition to his encyclopedic knowledge of designer fashion, Richardson is known as the Laundry Evangelist, and his ability to clean the toughest of stains has spawned a popular series of workshops and a blog.
After two years of specializing in vintage apparel, Mona Williams added new lines last year, and found a hit in Baum Und Pferdgarden, a Danish brand that offers modern design at more approachable prices. Though it is popular throughout Europe, Mona Williams is first to sell Baum anywhere in the U.S., and Richardson expects it to be a draw at Mall of America—both to those overseas tourists that know the label, and to locals just discovering it.
"Mall of America is committed to supporting local retailers," says Liz McLay, the mall's senior vice president of leasing. "Patric Richardson of Mona Williams offers a unique curation of brands and vintage apparel as well as an impeccable service philosophy and passion for retail."
For Richardson, MOA is a homecoming of sorts. He managed designer collections at Nordstrom before leaving to open Mona Williams.
“When I first arrived in Minnesota in 1999, the very first place I went was to the Mall of America, so it sort of feels like home to me,” Richardson says. “When I was ready to introduce new designer brands to the market, someplace as iconic as MOA seemed like the obvious choice.”