Angela Poldberg, owner of MARNē dreamt of owning her own local boutique for years but it wasn’t until she held her first pop-up shop event at Art Terrarium in 2018 that she took the plunge to consider making this a permanent career change. Fifteen pop-ups later and MARNē is now in a permanent location in the East Village. Learn more about Angela and her journey below!
what is the mission of MARNē and what goods do you offer the community?For years, I wanted to have a women’s boutique with affordable fashion for the women of Des Moines. From my experience I knew where to go buy cheaper goods that would sell fast. Fast forward and you’ll discover that MARNē is NOT that place. Our mission is to provide a shopping experience that does not have a negative impact on the environment, animals or the people creating these goods. This change stemmed from a life choice of becoming vegan. This lifted the veil I’d been wearing for years on both the food/agriculture industry as well as the world of fast fashion. It’s dirty, unethical and down right toxic to our planet. As for what we offer the local community, MARNē is a women’s clothing shop with a variety of unisex basics as well as apothecary goods. We focus on ethically made clothing, accessories, shoes & body care.
what made you choose your current storefront location?I had been eyeing this space for years. I spoke to the current tenant in 2018 about the future of the space. It wasn’t the right time for either of us but I circled back several times this year. We decided to share the space from Sept of 2019 until their lease was up in Dec of 2019 and now we call 350 E Locust St, #101 our storefront home!
do you have any employees?I’m still small enough that I can “do it all” – although that is also the hardest part of being a local business soloprener. I certainly have had loads of help from friends & family along the way, shoutout to my husband who’s a champion to MARNē’s success. I do have one contracted employee, Grace, who’s been AMAZING for when I’m in a bind. She’s a fashion student at Iowa State with an interest in sustainability. A great fit for the day that I can eventually hire someone on.
how do you market your local clothing shop?We are very active online and have a website, instagram and facebook presence. I will say, without social media, I’m not sure what we would do. It has been pivotal to the success and sales that we see each day. I also love to host events in the shop to collaborate with other local small business owners.
what are 3 things that differentiate your business in the marketplace?
- Vegan – People don’t associate “vegan” with fashion very often but once you make the connection, it’s pretty obvious. Not one animal will be harmed in the making or production of any goods you’ll find at MARNē.
- 1 Woman Show – I’ve certainly had help along the way but anything that has to do with MARNē is something that I’ve done. I’m a little sleepy but it’s VERY rewarding to watch things grow as time goes on.
- Pop-ups – I started in 2018 by doing pop-ups only. This really allowed me to generate brand awareness without the overhead of a physical space.