Fleurty Girl founder Lauren Haydel can’t imagine opening one of her New Orleans-centric shops in a market that doesn’t have a connection to her hometown. “And I can’t replicate it unless I truly have a love for the place,” she said.
Lauren is so fond of Bay St. Louis that she and her family recently bought a house here, and a small office building at 201 Main Street. On Monday, Fleurty Girl closed on 216 Main Street, the building that has housed California Drawstrings, another women-owned, New Orleans-born business. Owner Linda Keenan will continue to operate her shop until the end of the year, according to Lauren.
“It’s always good for a city when people fall in love with it and want to live there and open a business,” Lauren said.
Bay St. Louis will be the eighth Fleurty Girl location and the first outside Louisiana. Opening is set for fall of 2020.
Fleurty Girl is known for New Orleans-inspired merchandise that includes clothing for the whole family, home accessories, gifts and jewelry tied to Mardi Gras, the Saints, seafood and other local iconic connections.
Lauren was a single mother of three when she used a $2,000 tax refund to get her online t-shirt business off the ground. Now she has locations in New Orleans, Mandeville, Kenner, Metairie and Gretna.
Lauren said Cicada, a New Orleans architecture firm, is working on plans to renovate and improve the retail space as well as the two residential units in the building. She says she’ll also have a “She Shed” on the property to use as a pop-up venue.
Lauren joined in last Saturday’s annual Witches Walk festivities, which drew hundreds of costumed celebrants to Old Town’s shops, restaurants and bars. “It was awesome,” she said, adding that the new Fleurty Girl will be another draw for Old Town events. “I can’t wait to be a part of that,” she said.
Fleurty Girl will have six employees at the Main Street store. Anyone interested in applying can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Put BSL in the subject line.