During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, people coped with their newfound downtime in a variety of ways. For Crystal Saling and Amanda Copeland, the shutdowns allowed the two friends to turn their mutual love of fashion into a business opportunity.
Crystal and Amanda, both liaisons for long-term acute care at Hendrick Medical Center, said their online boutique, Honeysuckle, generated business through social media, as well as from various pop-up events and tent sales. It was at one of these pop-ups where they met their third partner, Doratha Medina, a Wylie ISD employee who specializes in custom t-shirts.
“The three of us just clicked and there is such an atmosphere of sisterhood among us,” said Amanda. “Doratha is so vibrant and such a go-getter and we knew we wanted her to work with us.”
As the trio sold more merchandise and gained more exposure, they realized the need to open a brick-and-mortar location. Through Crystal’s hairdresser, the women learned about a space available at River Oaks Shopping Center.
So in November 2021 the three friends opened The Cotton Mill Market, which they describe as a place that fosters a “hometown feel” and “brings the community together.”
“Our focus is local,” said Amanda. “We sell everything from clothing, shoes, accessories, as well as home décor, soaps and specialty items.”
Some examples of the store’s locally produced products are candles made by a couple stationed at Dyess Air Force Base, custom goatmilk soap, as well as custom earrings made by a Hendrick Medical Center nurse.
In addition to Doratha’s custom t-shirts, Dot Dot Unique, and Amanda and Crystal’s products, the Cotton Mill Market is also home to what they refer to as “showcase brand vendors.”
“We want to be a place that helps other people get their products known and gives them exposure,” Amanda said.
Crystal said they have two permanent showcase-brand vendors, as well as seven smaller ones, selling a variety of items.
“One of our permanent vendors is a children’s boutique called Polka Dots,” she said, “and we have Spider Creations that sells customized glitter tumblers, as well as a vendor who sells bath accessories, such as bath bombs and salts.”
Regarding apparel, Amanda said there is “something for every taste.”
Amanda said she and Crystal focus on what they describe as casual-chic feminine workwear – “pieces that can easily transform from the workplace to running errands,” – while some of their showcase brand vendors feature women’s clothing with a different appeal.
By Mollie Hill