Photography by Brandi Stage Portraiture
Sharon Weeks realizes that even in the digital age, nothing beats tried-and-true sales techniques, especially during the Christmas shopping season.
That’s why the large windows at Grant’s for Her, which she’s owned since 2018, are her favorite feature of the store — and the perfect place to display the store’s festive attire and hottest gift items this time of year. For the 2020 holiday season, she’s aiming for a “simple and clean” aesthetic with green trees, snowflakes and white lights.
“We take great pride in keeping our window displays as fresh and attention-grabbing as possible,” Weeks says. “We know that visuals and branding are the main elements that get people to walk into our shop; our windows provide us with the perfect setup to do just that.”
Those displays showcase the high-end designer pieces available at Grant’s — an upscale women’s boutique located in The Shops at Mary Mahoney’s. Weeks says the iconic location draws customers from near and far who appreciate the unique apparel and accessories Grant’s carries.
“We pride ourselves on having the best customer service while also having a variety of the best brands and styles to choose from that aren’t offered anywhere else on the Gulf Coast,” she adds.
PASSION FOR FASHION
Although she’s always loved beautiful clothing and accessories, Weeks didn’t always have a career in fashion. The eldest of eight children started working when she was 15 at The Daily Herald newspaper — where she stayed a part-time employee throughout high school and college. Afterward, she worked at the newspaper for over 20 years in the busines, marketing and administration departments.
She joined the Beau Rivage hotel management team in 1999, contributing to the launch of the 1,800-room resort.
“This was one of my life’s biggest work challenges,” she recalls, “but also a very rewarding learning experience.”
She remained with the Beau Rivage for a year before spending several years volunteering in several community organizations, including serving as board president for the Mental Health Association of South Mississippi for a decade, president of the Biloxi-Ocean Springs Junior Auxiliary and board member for the National Association of Junior Auxiliaries. It was only within the last 10 years, when she worked at several boutiques in Biloxi and Ocean Springs, that she became “keenly interested” in the retail side of the fashion industry.
“I wouldn’t say I always dreamed of being an entrepreneur,” she says. “However, I did always have a dream of being able to make a living while doing something I truly love.”
Weeks started working at Grant’s in 2013 and ultimately purchased the boutique with her daughter, Shelby Brune. Owning her own business has been hard work, time consuming and stressful at times, she admits — yet extremely rewarding.
“The reality of owning your own business is you must love, and I mean love, the business you go into,” Weeks advises, “and you must dedicate yourself, your time and your passion to make it successful.”
No accomplishment has meant as much to Weeks as raising her daughter as a single mother. Brune, who lives in Los Angeles, recently opened her own fashion public relations firm, Allure PR Group, which represents a number of fashion and beauty brands, and Weeks says she and her business partner are constantly bouncing ideas off of each other to ensure the success of both businesses.
“(Brune) is my inspiration, my motivator, my consultant, my counselor and my cheerleader — always has been,” Weeks says. “She was born a mentor to me and has led me throughout life with her positive, loving attitude.”
She also considers her customers some of her best mentors — depending on them for information and advice that helps her decide how and where to shop for merchandise. The store’s luxe stock includes high-end clothing, leather handbags, jewelry, Italian scarves and linens, vintage jewelry, shoes, sunglasses and more — items women across the Coast and beyond will be hoping to find under the Christmas tree.
In Weeks’s view, what people choose to wear is a form of art and expression. It has the power to affect how someone feels, to inspire and to create an atmosphere.
“I believe fashion is important and meaningful because it can bring out positive energy …,” she says. “The way you dress shows everyone your personality and your mood without having to say a word.”
Besides helping patrons hone their personal style, Grant’s has forged relationships with many of its designers and holds special events where they visit the store to meet customers and talk about their creations. The boutique also hosts fashion shows to benefit local organizations and contributes to fundraising efforts throughout the year.
GRATEFUL AND HOPEFUL
The boutique has weathered the challenges of 2020 by following all of the COVID-19 protocols and continuing its advertising and marketing efforts, according to Weeks. Now the holiday season is here, which she says is a special time at Grant’s. The store does everything possible to make shopping a pleasure — from offering beautiful gift wrap and refreshments to events and personal shopping.
“It’s always fun, festive and relaxing,” Weeks says. “I just want everyone to de-stress when they come shop.”
In 2021 and beyond, Weeks sees a long and successful road ahead for Grant’s, filled with the newest and greatest designers, broadened horizons and potential expansion into the home and beauty realm.
“It’s tough to think too far ahead during these challenging times,” she says, “but we are so thankful for the support and loyalty of our customers.”