Blogger Mary Lawless Lee, the founder of the Happily Grey web site and Happily Grey Home e-commerce site, will open her first store Jan. 24 at L & L Marketplace, a one-stop shop in Nashville for restaurants, shopping and working out.
The warehouse-turned-retail hub at 3820 Charlotte Avenue was built in the 1920s as a women’s pantyhose factory and then became a restaurant supply warehouse. The first tenant moved into L&L Marketplace in July, and the grand opening is May.
Happily Grey, which began as a blog in 2013, has roughly 2.6 million followers through Instagram (960,000), Pinterest (1.6 million+), Facebook (26,000+), Twitter (4,000+) and the blog (30,000+).
Happily Grey will occupy 1,260 square feet, which will house a 350-square-foot retail store in the front and corporate offices in the back. (Her company employs five people.) The shop will feature Happily Grey’s home line, accessories and clothing. Right now, Lee is buying from other vendors, but ultimately private label is the plan, Lee said. The shop will feature pottery, linen goods, napkins, throws, ceramics and books. She’ll also bring in face masks, lotions, baskets and bath and body products. “It will be representative of my travels,” she said.
Among the brands that will be featured when the store opens are Nanushka, Alexa Chung, Baum Und Pferdgarten, Farm Rio, Toga Archives, & Other Stories, Merlette, Levi, C/MEO Collective, Lapima, and Valet. Home goods lines are Oyoy, Sin, Skeem, Yield, Mifko, Vancouver and House N023. Lee plans to feature accessories from her sister Stephanie Duncan’s accessories line called Her New Tribe, which is handmade ceramic jewelry.
Lee said 70 percent of the store will be dedicated to the home. The shop will be open Monday through Saturday. The company sells its home products on its web site, happilygreyhome.com.
“The whole main idea is we wanted to add a face to the brand,” Lee said.
L&L Marketplace has such tenants as CycleBar, Made in TN, Honest Coffee Roasters, Savory Spice, Masaya & Co., Amelia’s Flowers, City Lash and Milk Shake Bar.
Lee, who was born in Shreveport, La., grew up in Marshall, Tex., before attending University of Texas at Austin, where she studied critical care nursing. For five years, she worked in the cardiovascular ICU of Texas Medical Center in Houston and during that time launched her blog with a focus on street and lifestyle.
“Living in a hospital and working in such an intense environment and stressful, Happily Grey was that creative outlet that was missing for me,” she said in a 2018 WWD interview. She pursued both careers simultaneously for three years and moved to Nashville for a job at Vanderbilt Medical Center in their ICU where she worked for a year and gradually quit. “Once I quit nursing, I was able to monetize Happily Grey,” she said.