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Pop-Up Shop Wants to Dress Young Professional Women of D.C.

Of Mercer caters to college grads and women looking to network

Of Mercer's pop-up shop is located at 3035 M St. NW in Georgetown. (Courtesy Of Mercer)
Of Mercer's pop-up shop is located at 3035 M St. NW in Georgetown. (Courtesy Of Mercer)

A New York-based women’s clothing store is spending the month in Washington to see if congressional staffers and other D.C. young professionals like their work attire.

Of Mercer, a company that launched in 2013, has a pop-up shop in Georgetown until May 31.

“D.C. is our second best market after New York City and I think, anecdotally, it makes sense — there are so many women in government, law, and a lot of the offices are still pretty conservative here,” co-founder Dorie Smith said. “Our typical costumer is in her late 20s, early 30s and has an office job.”

Over its first weekend in D.C., the store’s three best-sellers were all sleeveless work dresses going into the summer. One cost $165 and two cost $175.

They have a calendar of events posted on their website for D.C. patrons. One event is strictly for new Washington college grads.

“It’s a good starting place for them to get the one or two basic building block pieces so they can then use their college wardrobe to change every day,” Smith said. “So if they buy a classic black dress, they have cardigans, they have belts, they have statement necklaces — they can make one piece into a number of outfits.”

All clothing will be 15 percent off during the weekend of May 19, if you bring your student identification card to the D.C. location.

Of Mercer caters to young women in the working world. (Courtesy Of Mercer)
Of Mercer caters to young women in the working world. (Courtesy Of Mercer)

Of Mercer’s New York store holds various networking events, and there’ll be one at the D.C. pop-up on May 30. The “Ellevate Network Sip and Shop” will be the last event before the store shuts down.

“Programming is important to us,” Smith said. “We love bringing people cross-industry together. We’ve had people get together in this venue where they can talk about common problems.”

Smith said their other events in D.C. could also turn into networking opportunities: Women come in to shop but might meet a new professional contact.

The inventory Of Mercer brought to D.C. was decided from data from past sales and trends, Smith said.

They will be getting more shipments throughout the month based on how women are reacting to the pieces.

Smith met co-founder Emelyn Northway at the Wharton business school, which they both entered from “conservative business backgrounds,” she said.

“We both independently found it a struggle to really find clothes that were meeting our needs, which meant they were office-appropriate, they couldn’t have been too expensive … and we wanted them to be stylish,” she said.

They happened to be wearing the same dress one day during the first week of school.

“We were joking about how it was both of our go-to Thursday dress, which meant it was office-appropriate but cute enough to go get drinks after work,” Smith said. “That was the beginning of the conversation, why was it so hard?”

Of Mercer’s clothing is made in New York. After starting out as an online-only company, it launched its first store in New York’s Flatiron District in 2015.

The pop-up shop is located at 3035 M St. NW.

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