written by: Zanne Lamb-Hunt
“There’s a little cowgirl in all of us.” Lisa Whidden first met the cowgirl that lives in her when she was a little girl attending rodeos on Friday nights in Davie, Florida. With over 90,000 residents, this Southern Florida gem is still known as the ‘Town of Davie’ as it holds on to the past with its rural, western-theme aura. Lisa’s family moved on to a future in Myersville.
First Came Love..Then Came Marriage…
Lisa attended Middletown Middle School and Middletown High School. In 1997, after graduation, she met her future husband at a neighbor’s party. Brad had just completed college. They married 14 years ago this July, after Lisa graduated from Towson University with a degree in Marketing.
She spent some time in banking and management positions prior to the arrival of her daughters. Lisa then became an Entrepreneur, following another great interest, creating and operating a Graphic Design business.
Elise is now 8 years old. Marissa, 10, will soon be entering Middletown Middle School. Lisa thinks Marissa is probably ready for the upcoming change but isn’t so sure that she, as a Mom, is ready for it, too. As she points out, time is moving so quickly.
The Rodeo Comes To Downtown Frederick
Lisa reflected back on the weekly western entertainment that was a part of her own childhood. “I loved the rodeo so much and the Western boots always caught my eye. I just fell in love with that look,” says this long-time collector of vintage Western boots. Of course, modern Western boots have since been tossed into the mix, as well.
Lisa was no stranger to retail sales prior to opening her own boutique. “I’ve always loved clothing and the fashion industry.” Finally, her ‘passion for fashion’ and her ‘passion for Western boots’ were melded together to bring Whidden Willow, a little downstairs boutique, to life in Frederick’s Downtown.
In business for a year already, Lisa is more passionate than ever about her ‘eclectic fusion of apparel, artisan jewelry and accessories.” It’s always a pleasure to “show customers how to mix Western boots with everyday East Coast style and accessories.”
Whidden Willow Is Embraced By The Downtown Community
Located at 23 East Patrick Street, it’s right across from JoJo’s Restaurant & Tap House and just down from what’s known as the Square Corner. It’s also only a block away from Nido’s Little Italy Ristorante, another popular Downtown establishment. And, it’s exactly where Lisa wants to be.
Lisa wouldn’t trade this location for a spot in a strip mall somewhere. She’s feeling very much a welcomed part of a whole vibrant Downtown community. “I knew I wanted to be Downtown and I knew I wanted to be on East Patrick Street.”
When asked to name the biggest accomplishment of the past year, Lisa doesn’t miss a beat. Aside from opening the business? “Getting to know all of these people and becoming a part of the community. All of the store owners are just so supportive of each other. We send people to each other’s stores.”
Downtown Frederick Partnership Sponsors First Saturday Events
This Frederick Downtown business alliance offers phenomenal support as it drives people into Frederick with creative promotions. For example, the First Saturday events are a huge draw, as shoppers know that all of the Downtown shops will be open at 10 a.m. and will remain open until 9 p.m. On this ‘first Saturday’ of every month, there’s usually a theme for the businesses to follow.
There’s a huge influx of foot traffic to the area, thanks to effective advertising. Thousands of people turn out to enjoy the atmosphere, the cool bands that play on the street and the fun events that everyone can participate in. There are a lot of promotional deals to be had, as well.
Take A Peek Inside Whidden Willow
The Western boots in this boutique are handmade and pricey. But, you’re getting what you’re paying for. Unless, of course, you’re getting a discount during a special event or sales promotion; then, you’re getting a whole lot more than you’re paying for!
What’s in a brand name? Lucchese (no, it’s not Lou Casey) has been around since the late 1800s and is considered ‘THE’ boot manufacturer. “Most of the people in Texas would have a pair of Lucchese boots because they are top of the line, quality, classic Western boots.”
Corral has been around for 15 years; they are a great up-and-coming boot maker. “Again, hand made, high quality, more intricate designs. Not just the classic look, it’s more of a fashion boot.”
Whidden Willow carries both men’s and women’s boots. There’s a wide range of Western boots in stock but catalog ordering is also available through Lisa. Item’s that are readily available in the manufacturer’s inventory are shipped within 2-3 weeks. The custom making of a pair of Western boots takes about 90 days.
Not Just Boots! Affordable Brands Create A Complete Outfit At Whidden Willow
To make it more affordable to put together complete, trendy, fashionable outfits, Lisa carries ‘brands that are moderately priced because, when you get the Western boots here, they’re top of the line. You’re going to spend a good portion of the money on the boots but you’re going to want outfits to go with that, too.” Spoken like a true, savvy entrepreneur!
Miss Me is a great brand that offers fashionable tops, dresses and ‘awesome jeans with back bling’. Monoreno and Miilla offer more contemporary styles for the more mature woman. It’s worth the trip to visit and browse because there really is something to suit everyone’s taste.
There are also plenty of exciting accessories to complete the desired looks. Fashionable sunglasses, purses, bracelets; there’s all sorts of jewelry from lots of cool artists from all over. Lisa puts it all at your shopping convenience, right down to Annie’s soaps from Texas and some mood-setting candles.
Who Shops At Whidden Willow?
“I get anywhere from 19-year-olds to 65 and up, because there are so many women, and men, who love Western boots! They come in for that.” The Summer Concert Series sponsored by WFRE also brings in Country Music fans of all ages.
“Last year, I saw an influx of people coming in here for Western boots just before their Summer Concert Series. That was awesome for me to see,” says Lisa, as she prepares to have plenty of both classic and fashion Western boots in stock for this year’s Summer Series concert-goers.
Fashion Trends For Spring/Summer 2015
“It’s bringing the hippie back! It’s going to be all that lace and fringe, and mixing romantic prints with Western boots!” Boots are well beyond being just Winter-wear. “They’re going to be very popular right through the Summer, and, definitely, people will be wearing them to attend the Summer Country concerts.”
Lisa’s excitement is contagious as she continues, “Don’t be afraid to keep mixing textures and colors, and to have a ‘pop’ of color. Greens are going to be in, big time for Spring.”
Fashionista Lisa is really on a roll now! “It’s okay to put flowers in your hair now.” Now that you’ve been given some advance notice from someone with her fingers on the pulse of the fashion industry, stop by Whidden Willow to pick up your twine and silk flower headbands and silk flower barrettes. Check out the dreamcatcher necklaces, too!
“Definitely, don’t be afraid to mix it up. Scalloped edges, lace and fringe are going to be the biggest things you’re going to see for Spring and Summer.” And, Lisa offers the greatest fashion advice of all. “It’s important to embrace what your personal style is, whether it be sultry or sexy or sophisticated.”
What’s the personal style of multi-faceted Lisa Whidden? “Myself? I like to call myself an ‘edgy romantic’. Indeed, the boutique is a reflection of Lisa. It’s modern, trendy and has a sophisticated edge. And, a great assortment of Western boots!
Lisa Passes Along An Inspiring Ralph Waldo Emerson Quote
He wrote ‘Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself.’ Lisa applies those words to her life with great determination and finesse. ‘I’m all about accepting that dare and going for my dreams. And, I plan to continue to always do that.” It’s easy to imagine her finishing Emerson’s quote; ‘Go forward and make your dreams come true.’
“There’s not another store like me,” noted the little cowgirl who grew up to own a little boutique that’s big on East Coast style…and carries Western boots and so much more.
Stop by Whidden Willow at 23 East Patrick Street and you just might find the little cowgirl (or cowboy) that lives in you.
Wed-Thurs 11-5 Fri-Sat 11-6 Sun 12-5 First Saturdays 10-9 (301) 524-3688
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Content provided by Frederick Advice Givers Podcast #006