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A Chat with Omar + Elsie

“It was like turning a faucet off, one day we were open and selling, and the next we had to close,” Joy Robyn Fenwick, owner of Omar+ Elsie, comments about the current COVID situation in Kentucky. Thankfully, Joy Robyn still has access to her store, and surely isn’t letting this bring her down. Located in beautiful Lexington, Kentucky, in a neighborhood known as Chevy Chase, this recently expanded boutique carries a little bit of everything, from casual to dress, shoes and even little gifts. Located in a town, (and state) that is world renown for horse racing, you will also find a variety of hats and fascinators by Christine A. Moore Millinery which are perfect for a day at the track. Joy Robyn takes great pride and pleasure in helping a customer put together a race day outfit, and helping them find and push their own boundaries on fashion. Joy Robyn's goal with hats and style is to show customers that you can be confident and show your personality while pushing your comfort zone a little. 

To counter the state mandated closure of non–essential businesses, Omar + Elsie is offering curbside service as well as style boxes delivered to your doorstep. Customers are encouraged to send screen shots of Instagram posts to the store and Joy Robyn will pack up a box of goodies for you to try on at home. Like most boxes, you keep what you like, and send back what doesn’t work. “It’s a new way to shop, but not so differently then if customers were coming in and out of the shop.” Boxes vary from customer to customer  based on their personal tastes, and you can customize yours with different styles and sizes. In addition to these style boxes, Joy Robyn and her employee Kate have been working on something special to keep spirits high amongst customers and followers. Each Monday they come into the store, in their pajamas, and do an Instagram Live where they get dressed for the day. “Its hard to get dressed when you don’t have anywhere to be all day, and this is a way for us to show how you can get up and be there for yourself and feel better.”

While Derby week for Joy usually comes with long hours and plenty of last minute requests, this year things were different. “We thought, let’s show people things we would never be able to show during this week.” Joy Robyn was able to bring a selection of digital content to her Instagram Live posts including a live illustration of some Christine's hats, music by singer/songwriter Walker Montgomery performing My Old Kentucky Home, and a behind the scenes look at Christine's millinery. This year’s postponement of the running of the 146th Derby gave both Joy Robyn and her guests an opportunity to share their artistry and talent during a week when they would have otherwise been buried in work. 

In addition to fabulous clothing, accessories and new hats, (just arrived!) Omar + Elsie has begun retailing masks made by Christine . These hand-made designer masks have been tailored to fit the personality of the store, as well as the customers that will be purchasing them. Joy Robyn takes pride in being a part of a socially responsible business. “I always say I have a store of wants, and because of that I need to help those who need.” To help out, Joy Robyn and her store have done a lot of donations for programs that are working to get food to families in need. “We want to show our community that feeds us, that we want to feed them.”

For more information about Omar + Elsie and how you can shop from afar, visit their site .

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