By Tate Phillips
Madison Smith, owner and manager of Hemline in Oxford, opened the store her senior year of college and continues to manage it after nine years on the Square.
“I decided to open Hemline in Oxford because I wanted a good, in-the-middle price range clothing store for college students. I felt that we didn’t have that option at the time,” Smith said.
Hemline is a popular clothing store, and she said it was one of her favorite stores to go to in her hometown of Ridgeland. She described the store as “a fusion of all different styles” because Oxford is a melting pot of so many different people.
The Square is one of the most popular locations in Oxford for college students and for visitors, which is why she said she decided to open her store there, she said.
Smith said she loves owning and managing the store, but she said it can also be challenging at times. She has to sacrifice a lot of her time, but says it’s all worth it at the end of the day.
“I missed out on a lot of events like formals and swaps my senior year of college when the store was just taking off, and I still miss out on stuff today,” Smith said. “I have had to miss some of my friends’ weddings because I had to work.”
She said that opening the store is one of the best decisions she has ever made because of the strong relationships with her employees and customers. She said there are many customers who have been shopping at Hemline since the day it opened, and they have become great friends with her.
Hemline’s employees are college-aged women. Smith said she is so blessed to have the employees that she does, and they are all more like sisters rather than employees.
She feels that they are equal in the workplace, and she does not feel like she is superior to any of her employees. They all work together to make sure their business can be successful as it can be.
“Madison is the most humble, down to earth person I know. She is more of a sister and a role model rather than a boss,” said Allison Farris, one of her long-term employees.
Boss and employee relationships are important in long-term business endeavors because it creates a better work environment, Smith said. She always encourages her employees to be the best that they can be in anything that they do.
“Don’t let the fear of failure stop you from doing something you believe in,” Smith said.
She was hesitant at first about opening Hemline because she was just 22-years-old at the time, but she has proven that age is just a number.
“Each day is preparing for the next,” Smith said. “I never know what kind of day I’m going to have when I open the store each morning.”
Smith said she is always looking for new and stylish items to sell to her customers. Since her store has been successful in Oxford, she has hopes to open other Hemline stores but is not sure where. She plans to stay in Oxford as long as people continue to love the store, and she is so grateful for everyone who believed in her and supported her through this journey.