Copper Penny: Southern Charm Meets a Carefully Curated World Views
Author: Kitty Bartell | Photographer: Krisztian Lonyai
Cultivating a world view takes time. It isn’t something that can be forced or purchased. An evolution of sorts; gaining an appreciation for the uncommon or of a particular perspective different from one’s own, is an unexpected gift of sorts. Bringing her own refined world view to her Copper Penny boutique is a lovely fusion of founder Penny Vaigneur’s world travels and her sweet and sophisticated Southern soul.
One of the secrets to the success of the Copper Penny brand are local franchisees like Mary Margaret Jones, owner of Hilton Head Island’s Copper Penny, who brings her own eclectic world view, taste and sensibilities to their Shelter Cove Towne Centre locale, crafting a selection of clothing and accessories ideally suited to the visitors and residents, all with that Copper Penny something special.
“I had been a shopper at Copper Penny for years in Charleston and Savannah,” Jones said. “I was friends with the manager of the Savannah store. She was doing for me what we now do for our customers; she had picked out some clothes for me and I was going to meet with her. In conversation, it came up that they were looking for a person and a location on Hilton Head Island. It was really good timing. I believed Hilton Head needed Copper Penny. I love the franchise, because they have such a tried and true method. There was always something I could find at Copper Penny.”
Opening her Shelter Cove Towne Centre shop in September 2014, Jones has found the Vaigneur family’s support essential to her shop’s success, where she makes purchasing decisions with customers 12 years old to 112, in mind. “I do all the buying; I am so lucky,” Jones said. “We have an expansive approved vendor list; however, one of the things I think is neat about this franchise is that if there is a line that I really believe in for the Hilton Head woman, then I send information to Penny telling her why I like it, and she is always 100 percent behind me.”
Building relationships with their customers by providing exceptional customer service is her Copper Penny team’s primary focus, Jones said. “We like to first get to know our customer. See what they’re honing in on, and really build the relationship. I have some customers who come in and don’t try on anything. I have things I pulled for them in the back, and they say okay, great. I’ve never had anyone bring anything back.”
While whisking in and out quickly, or even having something special personally delivered by Jones, is a lovely luxury for some Copper Penny customers, a visit to the shop is a delightful part of the experience. With a serene neutral backdrop, sparkly chandelier and lighting, and clothing and accessory displays creating splashes of inspiring color throughout, the team and the ambiance create an inviting opportunity to build an outfit or build a wardrobe. “We love to help customers build a wardrobe based on what they already have,” Jones said. “We consider ourselves to be professional stylists, and we like taking them out of their comfort zone a little bit. Customers will say, ‘I’ve never thought about that.’”
Jones knows there are two essential ingredients to making this happen. First, the Copper Penny team listens to their customer’s wishes and needs, helping to build on what they may have already purchased in the store, or pieces at home in their closets that are waiting for just the right partner or accessory. And, second, is an outrageous inventory of fabulous dresses, separates, bathing suits, accessories, jewelry and shoes. “What we love about our inventory is that you can take so many of our things from daytime or business into nighttime,” Jones said.
Their dress and separates lines include Bella Dahl made from soft, packable, tencel fabrics; Tribal, whose flat-front pants barely make it to the sales floor before they are snapped up; Maura Hoffman’s designs that are literally works of art inspired by her world travels; Amanda Uprichard’s pretty solid, silk pieces; BCBG; Tyler Böe, NIC+ZOE, Susana Monaco and Trina Turk. Both Maura Hoffman and Trina Turk swimwear are also exciting additions to the Copper Penny repertoire.
Alice & Trixie gives Jones the opportunity to put her imprint on the lines’ silk pieces. “Her silk prints are just fantastic. At market you can choose which body you like and then which print; so you’re really designing the clothes.”
Jones also assembles a splendid selection of jeans at Copper Penny from designers including, AG jeans, Hudson, 7 For All Mankind, Citizens for Humanity, and Paige and Parker Smith, along with footwear from Jack Rogers, Corgis, Sam Edelman, Dolce Vita, and Rowen, from Blake Vaigneur’s (Penny’s son) gorgeous shoe company. The necessity for a great purse, bag or clutch is satisfied by Hammitt, the on-trend super-soft leather goods with plenty of impactful hardware, Remi & Reed bags, and several monogrammable pieces.
Crafting their award-winning jewelry and accessories collection, Jones has focused on Whitley V, another Vaigneur production from son Bryan, who is also Copper Penny’s head of franchising; Virgins Saints & Angels, a highly collectible line that ranges from delicate necklaces to massive rings and belt buckles; Celina King, a local designer who now resides in New York; and Silver Girl, also a local who Jones said, “does these really cool long beaded pieces.”
Whether clothing, accessory or footwear, the selection at Copper Penny has a wonderful world vibe; however, is ever so surprising in the details. You never know what you might find, but you know for certain that you are going to love it.
The Copper Penny franchise supports Akola Project by sponsoring trunk shows and carrying the skillfully crafted paper jewelry pieces in their stores. The project is a non-profit from which 100 percent of all their proceeds is reinvested to employ and equip “unemployable” women in Uganda and Dallas. Jones and her team also support several local charitable organizations including the Hilton Head Humane Association.
Jones’ parents, Margaret and Wes Jones, have been local residents for over 45 years, and Jones is raising her own children, David, 13, and Margaret, 11 on the island she has called home for most of her life. From her lovely Lowcountry perspective, Jones has cultivated her own eclectic and personal world view, appreciating the uncommon and gathering around her all the beautiful things that inspire her and her customers, all with a Southern soul.
Copper Penny is located at 38 Shelter Cove Lane, Unit 123 in the Shelter Cove Towne Centre on Hilton Head Island. For more information, please call (843) 505-6252 or visit shopcopperpenny.com.