A new natural hair and lifestyle boutique has come to the South Street shopping district.
Jenea Robinson opened Marsh + Mane to offer women of color a haven where they could purchase hair and skin care products and bath accessories.
The 1,200-square-foot store at 529 S. 4th St. offers an upscale vibe with dark hardwood floors and light green walls.
“I basically wanted to create a beauty supply store that I wanted to shop in,” said Robinson, a 33-year-old public relations executive.
As a self-described product junkie, Robinson realized that the beauty supply stores she typically frequented did not offer a welcoming, curated shopping experience for African-American women.
“I wanted this to be a place that you look forward to coming and not have to rush in and out, or feel like you were being followed around the store,” she said. “That’s a big issue. I did a survey before I started, just to see what the complaints were, and that was a No. 1 complaint.”
Robinson opened the new boutique Thursday after more than a year of planning and securing a business loan from First State Community Loan Fund.
She ended up in the bustling South Street district after she had trouble finding a location.
“With the foot traffic down here and the eclectic mix of shops on 4th Street, I like the vibe,” Robinson said. “I’m glad that South Street ended up choosing me.”
The name Marsh + Mane is a nod to the time when her family drove through a swamp to get to their great-grandmother’s house in Longwood, North Carolina, and she fell in love with her ancestral home.
The shop’s wooden shelves are stocked with a curated selection of items including body washes, facial products, soaps, shea butters and beard care items.
Well-known brands such as Cantu, Curls, Carol’s Daughter, Mielle Organics and Shea Moisture are among the wide array of offerings.
“I wanted a mix of brands that people knew and ones that people did not know,” Robinson said. “I was very intentional in having brands that people recognize, so you’ll see the ORS brand, you’ll see Crème of Nature and you’ll see Cantu in here, but I have some independent brands that are just doing really well.”
One of the independent brands that brought an surge in sales during the boutique’s opening day was the Angie Watts line of natural, vegan and cruelty-free skin care products. This is the brand’s first foray into the Philadelphia market.
Angela R. Hubbard, founder and CEO of Angie Watts, acknowledged that many larger retailers don’t carry African-American–owned natural product lines like hers. With that in mind, she is excited that Robinson is featuring her skin care line at Marsh + Mane.
“I really appreciate her giving us that platform to introduce our brands to the rest of the world and those who don’t have a clue that we are out there,” Hubbard said.