Meet Holly Williams
Holly Williams may come from American music royalty, as the granddaughter of Hank Williams Sr and daughter of Hank Williams Jr, music is in her DNA, but this beloved Nashville musician-retailer is a multifaceted entrepreneur with irons in many fires. Music was always her first love, but after a near-fatal car accident which put her music career in (temporary) jeopardy, she began to focus on things outside of the music industry. First came H. Audrey, an upscale clothing boutique wildly popular among Music City's elite. Next up was the flagship White's Mercantile shop which opened in 2013 and quickly became a favorite of locals and visitors. Today we're talking with Holly about her shops, her curation process and how Thistle Farms fits into an overall style that even Gwyneth Paltrow refers to as "impeccable."
Holly, describe your shops
"I always say White's Mercantile is a general store for the modern day tastemaker! The original general store creed was to serve the needs of the community around it, and we truly try to honor that creed. There is something for everyone in our stores! We carry dreamy home decor, unique pantry items, essential baby gifts, fine locally-made jewelry, curated apothecary items, and cutting edge clothing items and accessories for both men and women. We incorporate items from the past with more up-to-date trends to create an eclectic, one of a kind shopping experience for our customers. Our aesthetic is a little bit Southern and a little bit rock-n-roll, and when customers walk in, I hope they immediately get that warm, nostalgic feeling from the antique farm table displays, rustic metal signs, vintage check out counters, and weathered club chairs!"
Where do you find inspiration?
"I come from a long line of retail lovers. Besides the musical legend my grandfather (Hank Williams Sr.) left, he and my grandmother owned Nashville's first clothing store on Broadway in the 50's. Additionally, my great-grandfather on my mother's side, Warren White (hence the name), owned 3 mercantile shops in Mer Rouge, Louisiana. That same love for retail is embedded within me, and I hope to carry on their memory through my own general stores and my women's clothing boutique, H. Audrey. I also love reusing and revitalizing old things! Whether it's a falling down house outside of Nashville or an old farm table that deserves to be covered with fabulous merchandise, reusing the old is an essential part of the White's Mercantile brand, and it drives many of the decisions I make with my stores. Most importantly, though, I am inspired by my family and friends, and I try to keep them as the centerpiece of all my music and business endeavors."
How do you choose the items you carry?
"We curate our products in a few different ways! I often discover and fall in love with products while I'm touring or traveling. My buying team and I also go to several gift markets throughout the year to see the newest brands. Our customers even bring in their own handmade products to their local White's Mercantile stores for my team to see and try, and we find some of our favorite things that way. We love carrying a mix of local items and items that I just absolutely love that may be made in France! We usually carry 75% of our core items across stores and search for 25% of locally made products to keep the community feel and participation going!"
How does Thistle Farms fit into your overall shop philosophy/aesthetic?
"Like I mentioned, we love to carry local brands, and not only does Thistle Farms fit that bill for us, it is also a brand with a mission that we absolutely adore! Any company that empowers women to find health, happiness, and purpose is one we want to support! Their products blend perfectly with our other apothecary items, and customers love to grab them for themselves or for gifts. We love Thistle Farms so much, you can often find us at the Cafe at Thistle Farms on our days off!"
Which products are you most excited about for holiday 2019?
"We love Christmas around here!! White's Mercantile is truly a magical place during the holidays, and we try to be a one stop gift shop for our customers, carrying everything from stocking stuffers to rare art, clothing, and decor.
Thanks for sharing some of your secrets, Holly!
To order, please contact Katrina@thistlefarms.org or log into your account to get started.
The thistle has a deep root that can shoot through concrete and survive drought. In spite of it’s prickly appearance, it’s soft purple center and profound healing qualities make the thistle a mysterious and gorgeous flower. The thistle has become a symbol of survival and healing for our community and women survivors around the globe.