Up Close: Maggie Mineo

Up Close & Personal

Blossoming Businesswoman

When you walk into The Daisy Collective, you get a sample of all of Maggie Mineo’s favorite things. The young owner hand-picked all of the items in the Scranton shop, from Free People clothing, to jewelry, artwork and even unique furniture that Maggie hand-painted herself. She opened the store on Ash Street in the hill section of Scranton just over two months ago, but it’s safe to say the business is already blooming. For Maggie, owning The Daisy Collective is a return to her roots. She grew up in Scranton, going to school at Scranton Prep and then to Marywood University (she even interned with electric city). She went off to the Big Apple, but decided to come home to Lackawanna County, bringing her creative flair and eye for fashion with her. Meet Maggie Mineo …

When did you open The Daisy Collective?
Nov. 1 of this year, so yeah, it’s super new. It’s so exciting. I have my hand in every aspect of the business which is pretty empowering. I’m having so much fun with it. I lived and worked in New York City for the past two years and I managed a Free People store — I just absolutely loved it. I loved the brand, but I just missed this area so much. Everyone’s here for me — my family, my friends, everyone. I wanted to come back and do my own thing, but since I loved the brand so much, I thought “Why not carry it in my own store?” So it’s been great. I love being home. I love Scranton.

Tell me more about how empowered you feel about opening your own store.
At 26, I never thought I would be a business owner, but everything kind of fell together. I’m so blessed. I feel empowered, I’m excited, I have all of these ideas. I can’t wait for people to get to know me, to get to know my store.

What made you interested in working in business?
Managing the Free People store, I learned the ins and outs of the business. I loved working with people. It was something new every single day. I was very, very inspired by the city, but I also felt my creativity was kind of bottled up. I felt like I didn’t have a creative outlet in New York, so as soon as I got home, I kind of went wild. I was painting furniture. I always painted furniture, which we sell.

How do you show your creativity through your store?
Definitely the furniture. Everything is one of a kind. Even just the place — I think it’s quaint and charming and I put my heart and soul into it. The response has been overwhelming. It’s been so great and very busy. The people around here are just awesome, they’re very supportive and I am very appreciative.

It seems like the community here really supports small shops.
Totally. Everyone comes in and says that. I get great business from Mansour’s Market up the street and they are so kind. They’ll send down their customers to me. It’s just a great little community. It’s an up and coming neighborhood. They renovated a lot of nearby shops. So I’m just so happy to be part of it.

You said you’re involved in every aspect. What would you say is your favorite aspect?
My favorite is just interacting with people —getting to know my customers, hearing what they like and I use that when I go to New York to pick out the collections. Now I feel like I have a good grasp on who my customer is. But I honestly love every aspect of it.

How do you get to know your customers? Do you walk up and talk to them?
Absolutely. Always a conversation. Find out where they’re from, how they heard about the shop, all that good stuff. There’s been so many repeat customers, which I thought it would take a while to get the word out and everything. But it’s been so great. I think I opened the store at a good time of year, right before Christmas. Everyone was buying Christmas presents.

It seems like it’s a good place for unique gifts.
Yes. There’s a little of something for everyone.

Is there a theme connecting your items?
I wanted everything to have a handmade feel. I was always really inspired by Anthropologie. I would go in there and walk around and I was always just in awe. They have their set-up, where they have clothing and furniture and a bunch of home things. I just wanted it to feel homey and quaint and I want people to come in and say, “Oh my gosh! Where am I?”

Do you have any other inspirations?
I definitely learned so much from my mom and my aunt, who are very into art. They painted. My mom’s an art teacher and I used to paint furniture with my aunt. I have a lot of inspiration from my own family.

Has your family been supportive of your business?
Oh my gosh, they’ve been amazing. They’re the best support system. They’ve helped me all the way, from setting up the store, picking out merchandise, to just being there for me. It’s been really great.

What originally brought you to New York?
Well, my sister was in graduate school there and she needed a roommate, so my parents said “Jen needs a roommate, you have to go.” I said, “Okay,” and just jumped in, “Alright, let’s do this!”’ I figured out that I’m more of a small town girl. Being in the city of all cities made me realize that this is where I belong — this is where I want to be. I wanted to bring something back to Scranton that I could be proud of and something that the city could also be proud of. I’m so happy to be back in Scranton and I’m so inspired by all of the young people who are opening their own businesses, taking that chance, because it takes a lot of guts and ambition. I’m definitely inspired by the young people here, and I’m so happy to be part of that little group now.

Where do you get ideas on new things to bring into your store?
I go to New York. I go to trade shows, which can be so overwhelming. There are a million booths everywhere and you kind of just walk around and look at stuff and decide if it’s going to look good in the shop. Other than that, I mostly carry Free People, so I go to their showroom and I pick out all of my favorite things, what I think my customers are going to like, which is so exciting. I’m so excited for the new spring line to come this week. I’m expecting a big shipment — new clothes, furniture, new everything. I’m ready to recover from the holidays and get going onto the new stuff.
— kirstin cook

  • chris