Brinkley’s Boutique is raising awareness and spreading kindness as they settle into downtown Ripon.
By Katelyn Van Swol
Brinkley’s Boutique, located on the corner of Watson St. and Scott St. in Downtown Ripon, opened its doors for business last April. The owners, Mike and Barb Nelson, have another store in Oshkosh that opened in September of 2016. When they began looking to expand, they found that Ripon had everything they wanted: a recently renovated building in a shopping destination that still possessed a small town charm.
Since opening it’s doors Brinkley’s has become an active member of the Ripon Chamber of Commerce, participating in events like the city concert series and Dickens of a Christmas, and Taste of Ripon here at the college. For animal lovers, the shop dog, Buster, greeting shoppers as they enter the store is a major attraction.
Non-profit support is also an important part of the business. Barb Nelson says “Brinkley’s Boutique is named for our granddaughter, Brinkley, who has Williams Syndrome. A part of our profits are donated to this syndrome.”
According to the Williams Syndrome Association (WSA) website, the syndrome is “a genetic condition present at birth, which can affect anyone. Medical and developmental problems, typically occur side-by-side with striking abilities which include advanced verbal skills, highly sociable personalities and a passion for music.” The WSA seeks to provide information and resources for families living with this Syndrome, and helps to inform the public through working with places like Brinkley’s Boutique.
Brinkley has also inspired the store motto “‘B’ Kind”, based off of her personality. Those with Williams Syndrome are said to have an extremely friendly personality, with expressive language skills and extreme politeness, and Brinkley is no exception. Nelson states “She is a very kind little 6 year old and we have developed our motto “B” Kind the same way she is.”
Students are encouraged to follow the Boutique on Facebook and Instagram in order to see promotional offers and events at the store. Brinkley’s offers clothing ranging from size small to 3xl for women college aged to seniors, along with different accessories like jewelry, scarves, hats, gloves, purses, and shoes. Barb says “Our clothes are casual and comfortable but can be worn to a dressy event too. There are also chances for students to volunteer as models in fashion shows they hold.
One unique event opportunity is the “Girls Night Out” parties, which are private shopping experiences for groups to hold. These nights out offer food and drinks, a fashion show, and discounts to all the participants. Nelson says “Our parties would be perfect for sorority get togethers or bachelorette parties” and encourages people to check them out.