McMullen, a popular California-based, specialty retailer founded by Sherri McMullen, is coming to Detroit. The boutique’s six-month pop-up shop opened on Sept. 16 in the city’s downtown, made possible by a partnership with real estate developer, Bedrock.
Located at 1419 Woodward Ave., McMullen will offer luxury apparel, accessories, and home decor by both designers from around the country and world. The Detroit boutique is the retailer’s first brick-and-mortar location outside of California, according to a press release.
“I came to Detroit for the first time in February,” McMullen told Hour Detroit during a preview of the store on Sept. 15, adding that she and Bedrock had been discussing the retailer’s Detroit debut since 2020. “I was a walking around the city, and I really did just fall in love with the energy here. Detroit has such a strong, rich culture and history, and it felt very similar to Oakland when I was opening my Oakland store, 15 years ago this year. I had the same feeling when I just sort of knew that this was the place for me to start my business, and [Detroit] felt like the right place to have an expansion outside of California.”
All products available at the pop-up are curated exclusively for the Detroit boutique. Locals will find products from homegrown brands like Hope For Flowers, by designer Tracy Reese and Détroit is the New Black at the shop.
McMullen says it was also important to bring in local artists to bring the space to life. Detroit artist and photographer Jason Johnson, aka RCKBNY, was commissioned to create the store’s logo, which he painted on a wall at the front of the store. Several of Johnson’s artworks are displayed throughout the space as well.
Well-known brands like Proenza Schouler, Christopher John Rogers, Rachel Comey, and Mara Hoffman will be available at the pop-up. Other standout brands include Diotima, a label created by Brooklyn-based, Jamaican-born designer Rachel Scott; Fashion Fair Cosmetics, the first beauty brand made to cater towards Black and brown skin tones; and Nigeria-based brand Lisa Folawiyo. (McMullen is the exclusive U.S. retailer of Lisa Folawiyo, meaning the brand’s products are only available in the retailer’s shops in California and now Detroit.)
“Sherri McMullen is a fashion pioneer, and we can’t wait to welcome this forward-thinking, women-owned concept to downtown Detroit,” says Ivy Greaner, Bedrock’s chief operating officer, in a press release. “This is such a pivotal time for retail in Detroit and McMullen not only brings a fresh designer offering, but they are also paving the way for up-and-coming brands to break through in the market.”
McMullen founded her business in 2007 in Oakland, California. After 15 years in business, she decided to celebrate the milestone by taking her store on the road. In June, she kicked off her traveling boutiques with a pop-up in Los Angeles before setting up shop in the Motor City.
McMullen has made it her company’s ethos to uplift underrepresented and emerging talent and provide opportunities for Black designers. Her boutique was one of the first to carry Christopher John Rogers’ eponymous label before it was picked up by global retailers like Net-a-Porter and Harrods. Reese is also a good friend of McMullen’s, and she was one of the first designers that the retailer carried in its earlier days.
The boutique’s Detroit debut also comes at a hot moment for retail and design in the city. Gucci opened its downtown boutique in late August, only blocks away from the McMullen pop-up, and released a limited-edition collection with Detroit vs Everybody earlier this month. And Detroit Month of Design — an annual multidisciplinary festival promoting design as an economic catalyst in the city — is in full swing for its 12th year, featuring fashion and art exhibitions, workshops, open studios, and more taking place throughout September.
McMullen has more in store for Detroit. According to a press release, the retailer will launch its 15th-anniversary collection in November, which will feature exclusive apparel, beauty items, and jewelry by 15 designers.
“Detroit breeds icons. I’m really excited to be a part of that and help people in Detroit discover the brands that I really care about — a lot of female designers, a lot of designers of color — and helping introduce those brands to the consumer here,” McMullen says.
McMullen’s Detroit pop-up boutique is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, visit shopmcmullen.com.