They say necessity is the mother of invention. For one ingenious Cobb County mother of two, that couldn’t be more true. Meet Mary Ann DiMarzio—creator of the chic new mobile boutique Mimi & Emma’s.
For empty nester DiMarzio, life has been mostly business as usual since her daughters went to college and pledged sororities, but her time has been punctuated by a series of fashion scavenger hunts. “When you have daughters in a sorority, they call you up and say they need a dress but can’t find one,” DiMarzio said. “So you go through this whole process of shopping, exchanging pictures and shipping packages. I told the girls I was just going to get a truck, fill it with clothes and park it in front of the [sorority house] door.”
What began as the light-hearted quip of a busy working sorority mom quickly took on a life of its own after DiMarzio began researching what it would take to make her witticism a reality. “I talked to the girls at the sorority, and everyone loved the idea,” she said.
But overhauling a used RV for a new lease on life as a rolling retail store was not without its challenges, so DiMarzio assembled a no-nonsense all-star team to help her with the unusual project. Space planner Caren Danneman, interior designers (and Cobb Life alum) Kandrac Kole, an advisory board brimming with her daughters’ friends and even her husband and daughters rose to the challenge.
Six months later, Mimi & Emma’s was born. “We had our soft launch right here [in the neighborhood clubhouse parking lot],” she said. “It was freezing cold, but the only time we weren’t busy was the first 20 minutes. It was a huge success.”
At the heart of Mimi & Emma’s, named for DiMarzio’s mother and grandmother, is the desire to provide “awesome fashion” to 18-24-year-old college girls, but that doesn’t mean the concierge shopping experience isn’t for fashionistas of all ages. “The focus was originally on sororities because there’s such a need around their events, They might have an event where they need all white or black or camo dresses,” DiMarzio said. “But, when we had our launch event, other college age girls, young professionals who had just graduated and even their moms all attended, so it’s really transcended different age groups.”
Today, Mimi & Emma’s stocks constantly rotating seasonal merchandise, and DiMarzio is always ready to roll out on her next big adventure. “We’re currently locking down spring schedules with the sororities, but anyone can book an event with friends too,” she said. “It’s great for birthdays when everyone is going out or any number of other events.”
Find Mimi & Emma’s on Facebook, where you can shop, book group events or even discuss DiMarzio’s philanthropy efforts, including mentorship and helping sororities develop fundraising activities over a one year cycle.
What’s better than a bit of fashion fun? Bringing it right to your doorstep and inviting some friends along for the ride! Keep motorin’ ladies—and look good doing it!
*Originally published in the April 2014 issue of Cobb Life Magazine.