This season, as you plan your holiday shopping, don’t forget to shop local. Lilly Pulitzer herself began her business with a true entrepreneurial spirit and local flair, and we proudly continue that tradition today. We currently work with 160 independently owned signature and specialty stores. These stores are deeply rooted in their local communities, having hosted over 110 shop and shares this year alone. Additionally, 66% of these stores are women owned, and 95% are women operated. In honor of Small Business Saturday, we wanted to take a closer look into our signature stores and sat down with our friends Beth Baxley and Sara Beth Rush at Pink Sorbet.
How did you come up with the name Pink Sorbet?
It is actually a favorite Lilly print of ours from the early 2000s! We were on a family vacation in Kiawah, SC and both daughters were told they could pick out a Lilly Pulitzer surprise! Sara Beth and Amelia both chose swimsuits in the “pink sorbet” print!
When did you open your doors and what inspired you to open your own business?
Happy birthday, Pink Sorbet! Doors opened on Colorful Friday of November 2007! 12 years ago, a mom of three opened the pink door to her dream: her own Lilly Pulitzer Signature Store in Columbia, South Carolina. This was right before the economic downturn, but thanks to the incredible support of Columbia, we’ve been able to bring the colorful life to this community! Beth, her family, and the team she’s built have poured thousands of hours into this corner of sunshine on Devine Street.
What is it like owning the store as a mother-daughter duo?
The only word that comes to mind is GRATEFUL! This truly is a family business- even the team members that aren’t related by blood feel like family! We are so fortunate to have the ability to work alongside each other; this is a special season! We are appreciative of our customers who make this dream a possibility!!
In what ways are you most involved in your local community?
We love gifting Lilly Pulitzer donations to local non-profits making a difference right here in our community. Over the years, we have coordinated countless “Shop and Shares” (March of Dimes, Lexington Medical Center, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, American Heart Association, Palmetto Health Foundation, Junior League of Columbia, and many more), sponsored the Miss South Carolina Pageant, and supported dozens of school fundraisers. A treasured tradition in our shop is the “Santa to a Senior” giving tree with ornaments detailing the humble Christmas wishes of at-risk elderly men and women in our community identified by Home Instead Senior Care. It is a joy to grant them and experience the true spirit of Christmas! Pink Sorbet is a colorful haven where everyone is welcome to join in the fun. We love meeting new friends and inviting them to share their talents: recent events include artist @megancarn live painting in the shop, a make-your-own earring workshop with @thetinytassel, singing along with the Carolina Children’s Show Choir in store, and styling a bar cart with blogger Paige Minear of The Pink Clutch.
What are some of your other favorite local businesses in the area?
How can you choose just one in the buzzing Devine Street District?! This past year we’ve seen explosive growth on this tree-lined mile of locally owned businesses with new shops, cafes, salons. The energy here on @devinestreet is palpable! (But I will say caprese salad with George’s homemade mozzarella on the patio at @ilgiorionesc is hard to beat!)
What are some of your favorite memories since opening your doors?
Pink Sorbet has seen 12 years of weddings, birthdays, trips, parties, and job interviews. USC students who shopped here for Carolina Cup dresses come back to find outfits for their children, and people from all over shop the classic styles they love from our small business. It is a privilege to play a small part in special events and everyday life. One of our favorite Lilly memories is the creation of the custom Pink Sorbet Murfee Scarf in 2012, with the proceeds from the sale benefitting Winston’s Wish, a local foundation supporting autism awareness and inclusion.