Marshall Simon is taking pictures of a customer dressed in a crisp shirt, slacks and a pair of fierce blue suede shoes. He texts the pictures to the customer’s date, she approves via SMS, and the customer adds a big grin to his ensemble.
“He’s going to a wedding and he doesn’t want to wear a sport coat,” Marshall says, as if getting outfits approved via text message is all in a day’s work. For Marshall, owner of Gwynn’s of Mount Pleasant, and his legendary staff, creative customer service is all in a day’s work.
Recently there was the time a customer lost a critical button on her blouse at the doctor’s office. Marshall and Carolyn Prioleau, Gwynn’s longtime tailor, drove to the doctor’s office and sewed on a new button while the customer finished her appointment. You’re not going to get that kind of service shopping in Greenwich unless you have been favorably linked to Brad Pitt, please believe. Marshall, however, has his personal cell phone number posted on the company website in case you have a fashion or gift-giving emergency. When it comes to good service, the staff at Gwynn’s walks the talk, albeit in very fashionable shoes.
Gwynn’s customer-centric, personalized service style also means a large selection of inclusive sizes, sincerely friendly sales staff and free delivery. If you’re lucky, your
purchases will arrive via the lemony yellow “Fashion in a Flash” Vespa, which is just so molto Roma.
Good service aside, for decades Gwynn’s has been the place where fashion-savvy locals and well-informed vacationers know they can find brands otherwise elusive to Charleston, or South Carolina, period.
That’s because Marshall and his team of buyers fly to New York 14 times a year to personally choose clothing, shoes, accessories, skin care products, unique gifts and home décor items that are not only on trend, but work in Charleston’s unique aesthetic.
“We don’t use a buying service. We hand pick everything that comes into our store because nobody knows our market like we do,” Marshall explains. “Charleston isn’t as traditional as people think, but some trends have to be interpreted to a certain extent. We find what’s new and what’s next and present them in a way that works for our customers.”
What’s new and next includes coveted brands like Tory Burch, Ermenegildo Zegna, Ralph Lauren Black Label, Citizens of Humanity, J Brand, Brunello Cucinelli, John Varvatos, Loro Piana and Lafayette 148 NY. It’s like shopping on Madison Avenue in New York, but without the cab fare or attitude. What Marshall and his staff have managed to do is bring couture fashion home and serve it up in true Charleston style. Everyone is treated like family, no one is in a rush, shopping in flip-flops is expected, if it’s raining someone will umbrella you to your car and there is a refreshing urn of citrus-infused water on the buffet table should you get the vapors and need to rest a spell.
Marshall and his tenured staff have been shopping for Charleston customers long enough that they have cultivated a very interesting skill—editing the overwhelming noise radiating from the fashion capitals into a collection of clothing and décor that makes sense for a unique market. After all, Charlestonians have rules when it comes to fashion, and we know when to stick to them and when to break them—with flair.
Just as Marshall puts away his iPhone, a young lady rushes in to hug him. She’s getting married this weekend, and her mother is here shopping for a dress to wear to the wedding. “I know I can come here and find the perfect outfit for any occasion, even at the last minute,” she says.
Marshall gets a hug because Gwynn’s is helping a growing contingent of customers embrace the European trend of building a well-curated wardrobe of quality, classic pieces and hints of personal style, even in a fashion emergency.
“None of us needs more stuff that won’t stand the test of time,” he says. “We need a few things that fit, are well made and make us feel our best. We want to help you find something you’ll love. And our customers can shop here through all ages and stages of life. We shop with our customers in mind and buy thoughtfully, so we can offer luxury options for all different levels of spending.”
Gwynn’s may be one of the only places you can still find easy, free parking. Plus the store has frequent special events, including monthly trunk shows where designers bring their entire collections and a free brunch every Saturday morning catered by Square Onion.
Ready to get your shop on? See you there!