Off the shores of Cape Cod, we spend a Nantucket afternoon with Milly & Grace shop owner and mother of two, Emily Hollister. With a passion for her clients and bringing the local community together, this kind and humble spirit shares about the beginnings of a successful business, the East Coast lifestyle, and her excitement for Joie’s upcoming A La Plage capsule pop-up, available at Milly & Grace from August 4th – 14th.
What's on your agenda?
I always start my morning sipping matcha tea and spending a few moments in meditation before my boys get up (my husband included!). Once they are up, we don’t mess around. Sundays are for outdoor adventures so, after breakfast, we usually head out for a walk with our pup. Then, it’s off to the beach with lunch in tow. We’ll end the day by snuggling our boys to bed and then kicking our feet up with a cocktail on our back deck.
You're wearing something vintage or modern?
Something right in the middle! I love finding the balance between current trends and timeless pieces.
Favorite spot to grab a bite on the way to the shop?
Provisions! It’s home to my favorite breakfast sandwich and has the best baked goods on the island. And their crew is just the sweetest!
Morning mantra or life motto?
Present over perfect. Before becoming a mom, I navigated my life with perfectionist tendencies. But, once I had my boys, I quickly realized that it’s nearly impossible to do it all - no matter how type A I was! Throughout this transition and amidst the constant struggle to have everything together, I find peace by reminding myself that the most important thing I can do is be present.
A glass of wine with a book in hand at home or soaking up the sun at the beach?
In the summer, soaking up the sun at the beach! In the winter, wine and a good parenting book!
When it comes to family, summer, and the Nantucket area...
Any upcoming vacation plans this season?
We are all about adventures – especially my husband! We have been talking about renting a camper van and driving up the west coast. We dream of starting in San Diego, stopping in Los Angeles to visit my sister, continuing up the coast to Big Sur, making a pit stop to visit my grandma in Northern California, and finally ending up in Washington State where my grandpa lives. We can’t wait to check this off our bucket list when the boys are just a little older and introduce them to their great-grandparents.
You get a day off with no work, kids, or husband. How will you treat yourself?
I’d be lying if I said I don’t dream of taking the morning to attend a freestyle flow class at SUPTA yoga followed by a quick dip in the ocean at Steps Beach! On the way home, I would swing by Bartlett Farm to pick up some fish, locally grown produce, and fresh flowers. After catching up on all the smooches I missed from my boys throughout the day, I’d spend the evening cooking and enjoying dinner with my family and dear friends around the table!
The kids are always dying to go out and play at…
…the Cod Fish park playground in Siasconset. If I mention the word “swings,” they immediately say “weeeeeee”! They love it!
The best part about living in Nantucket?
I love the structure of Nantucket’s lifestyle with a busy summer and a quiet winter. I live for the hustle and bustle in the summer just as much as I live for the opportunity to reset in the winter. Both of them come just at the right time, when you begin to crave the next season!
Take us back to the beginnings of your boutique, Milly & Grace…
Who are Milly and Grace?
Milly and Grace are my grandmothers!
Your boutique has a beautiful cottage exterior. How did you decide on the property and the location?
Thank you! It was love at first sight and it just felt right! I was inspired by the open floor plan and felt that my interest in home décor and clothing would work well within this design. I, of course, adored the ivy covering the front of the building and the little courtyard out front. I like being a couple steps off the beaten path from Main Street and I can’t imagine being anywhere else.
How did you get to where you are today?
After I graduated college, I told myself I would spend one last summer out on Nantucket with my family, before moving to Boston to get a “real” job. But, one last summer turned into trying out my first winter, and then one more summer turned into realizing that I didn’t want to leave this beautiful island and I decided to make Nantucket my home. I still needed to find that “real” job though. So, I decided that I’d put my business degree to good use and open up a shop of my very own. And, here we are, eight years later!
Any defining moments or challenges that you've had to overcome?
While becoming a mom to my twin boys is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done, it also really challenged my role as a shop owner. Finding that balance between being a mom to my boys and a mom to my shop was and is hard. It’s something that I work on everyday. After all, the shop was my first baby and I can’t give up on her!
Who or what inspires you?
It’s the little things in my every day that inspire me! From my little ones learning new words to everything about this charming town; from the people, the flowers that grow on the houses, cobblestones, restaurants and of course the ocean!
How do you define the Milly & Grace girl's style?
The Milly & Grace girl’s style can be described as contemporary yet timeless. She will have a few items that qualify as the “latest trends,” but for the most part her closet is filled with articles of clothing that could last a lifetime. Her style is simple but not plain, romantic yet sophisticated.
Beyond clothing, you offer everything from home décor to jewelry and gifts. What has been your favorite addition to the store?
Recently, we have introduced shoes into our shop in a much bigger way! I love the way it has allowed for an entire look to come together in our shop. We always make sure our clients leave our shop feeling comfortable and confident from head to toe!
Are there any exciting projects in the works?
As a matter of fact, there are! This has been the year of growth for Milly & Grace. This past winter, while the shop was closed, we focused on refreshing our brand. We worked with a graphic designer to create an updated and more sophisticated version of our logo. We are in the process of revamping our shop’s website to include an online store. It’s in the hands of our web developer, as I type this, and we’re hoping for a launch date later this summer! On top of that, the brand is expanding! My little sister, Caroline, just launched Milly & Grace Weddings. She’ll be designing and planning weddings on Nantucket. I’m so excited for her and proud of her!
Do you have a memorable customer experience?
All of my customers mean a lot to me, as they’ve made my dream possible. I have a genuine interest in them and care for them beyond the walls of my shop. They truly become dear friends. So, when my customers come into the shop, it feels as though I’m catching up with a friend over a cup of coffee. Except instead of coffee, we are playing with pretty clothing! It’s my hope that they feel that way too.
Our A La Plage summer capsule will be available for a limited time at Milly & Grace from August 4th-14th! When it comes to collection…
Anne-Marie one piece or Morgan bikini?
This mama is all about the Anne-Marie one piece. It makes it easier to chase my water-loving baby boys all over the beach!
Your favorite piece to gift?
I don’t think you can go wrong with the Bernetta sarong! You can do so much with it. It could be tied around your neck as a scarf, around your waist as a skirt, or onto your handbag for a little extra color. Bonus: its one-size-fits-all nature takes the guessing game off of the table.
If you could take one piece from the capsule anywhere in the world, what would it be and where would you go?
It’s too hard to pick just one. Can I pick 2?? I would take Luka pants and the Evonna bag Down Under! My family and I lived in Sydney, Australia during my high school years and it absolutely stole my heart. I often daydream about eating brunch at the Boathouse, relaxing on Balmoral beach, and rediscovering my go-to childhood places.
We love that you support Joie frequently on your social channels. Do you have a favorite item from the newest collection?
The Xolani Pants are my latest obsession. I’ve found myself throwing them on over my bathing suit, sporting them on one of my daily strolls through town with my boys, and even pairing them with heels for date night with my husband! They are just so comfortable and versatile.
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On what inspires Emily: “It’s the little things in my every day that inspire me! From my little ones learning new words to everything about this charming town; from the people, the flowers that grow on the houses, cobblestones, restaurants and of course the ocean!” Emily wearing the Alandra Silk DressPhotography By Alex La Cruz
On juggling the responsibilities of being a mother and shop owner: “Finding that balance between being a mom to my boys and a mom to my shop was and is hard. It’s something that I work on every day.” Emily in the Bamboo Stripe Top, jeans are her own (similar) and the Nice Leather Sandals (similar)Photography By Alex La Cruz
On her favorite piece from the collection: “The Xolani Pants are my latest obsession. I’ve found myself throwing them on over my bathing suit, sporting them on one of my daily strolls through town with my boys, and even pairing them with heels for date night with my husband!” Emily in the Onyx Chambray Top and Xolani Printed PantPhotography By Alex La Cruz