Susie Molony always envisioned owning a full-service children’s clothing store, where parents could shop for clothing for any occasion, shoes, accessories and gifts. It may have taken her almost 30 years to get there, but she couldn’t be prouder to accomplish her goals with Southern Belles, a popular children’s clothing store in Mount Pleasant.
While a stay-at-home-mom to a beautiful little girl, Molony sought a creative outlet and began hand-painting T-shirts, totes and clothing for her daughter as a hobby. Over time, she switched her designs to applique to give them a more finished look.
“I would hand-paint little things and give them as birthday gifts,” Molony recalled. “Soon people started asking me, ‘Where did you get that?’ and ‘Can you make something, too?’ I knew then I could be onto something and started a business out of my house.”
Soon Molony was traveling to home and craft shows. “My first craft show was with the East Cooper Crafter’s Guild, and it was heartwarming to see people were interested in buying something that was my little hobby,” she said. “I was hooked after that.”
As she perfected her craft line, Molony believed she could compete with other professionally manufactured children’s lines. After five years, she partnered up with a King Street store—only to find the venture short-lived. She persevered, and came to sublet a space with two other women in Mount Pleasant. Her business snowballed from there.
Today, she is the sole owner of the 3,000-plus square-foot space that is Southern Belles. “When people walk in here, I want them to feel welcome and that our offerings and customer service are second-to-none,” she said.
While she no longer has time to design, her store carries favorite lines, such as Busy Bees, The Proper Peony, Elephantino, Little Giraffe and more. There’s also a lovely array of shoes, socks and hair accessories, as well as white shirts and navy and khaki bottoms.
For those looking for a more convenient way to buy, Southern Belles has improved their website, making it even more user-friendly.
“I put my heart and soul into this business, and I want all my customers to feel they’re the most important thing in the world to me,” said Molony. “I’m very grateful, especially in this climate, every time I see someone walk in — not only the first time, but [when they] come back. I still wonder why, of all the places they can go, they choose Southern Belles, and I never lose sight of that.”