For Sherri McMullen (pictured), shopping is both a sensory experience and a chance for discovery—after all, the proud founder and owner of luxury boutique McMullen was among the first to carry up-and-coming jewelry designers including Jameel Mohammed of Khiry and Lauren Harwell Godfrey of Harwell Godfrey.
That sense of discovery continues for the McMullen brand as it celebrates its 15th anniversary in business—its Oakland, Calif., flagship opened in 2007—as well as the grand opening of a pop-up location in downtown Detroit.
The McMullen pop-up boutique joins luxury retailers such as Gucci in Detroit’s revitalized downtown retail core. Gucci opened a 3,500-square-foot store in August featuring its iconic apparel, accessories, and jewelry, including its Detroit vs. Everybody collaboration with Tommey Walker. These stores join other downtown Detroit retailers H&M, Bonobos, and Lululemon as well as destination stores Lip Bar and the Sugar Factory.
McMullen says she looks at her Detroit pop-up boutique as more than a promised six-month stay—and she’s already hinted that the partnership with property group Bedrock Detroit may last longer than originally planned.
This is the specialty retailer’s first location outside of California—and a timely moment to open in Detroit, which Time magazine recently named one of the world’s greatest places on Earth (full disclosure: This JCK contributing editor lives and works in metro Detroit).
Rather, McMullen hopes her local Detroit designers such as Tracy Reese, Roslyn Karamoko of Detroit Is the New Black, and her longtime collaborators at her flagship boutique will mix happily in Motown, giving the city’s fashion-forward residents and suburban shoppers something beautiful to wear they never knew they needed.
Part of her goal as a brand is to find and uplift new designers, especially within jewelry, McMullen says. She focuses on female empowerment and the support of African and African American designers, all of whom are showcased in the Detroit boutique.
“There are so many fashionable people here,” McMullen says. “What I’m learning is people want to discover new brands that they can’t find in other places. Many of the brands we carry are only found here or in Oakland.”
For example, Khiry’s signature jug earrings or spiked hoops are a fashion must-have, McMullen says, but she’s also made sure the Detroit boutique has a selection of the latest trend pieces, including those that mix gold and onyx.
Another favorite is Harwell Godfrey, who may visit the Detroit boutique if she can, McMullen says.
McMullen also loves the work of Sylvia Toledano, the Parisian designer whose dramatic cuffs and statement jewelry give her customers an unforgettable look with a lighter weight.
“You don’t need too much else going on when you have pieces like this,” McMullen says. “You can wear a very simple outfit and then have one of her pieces and it just really completes it.”
McMullen says she goes for a minimalist look with her own jewelry, wearing a regular stack of gold bracelets and one or two rings as well as a simple necklace. When traveling, she wears a necklace with her son’s name engraved on it, giving in to the nostalgia trend that has swept through jewelry since the pandemic began.
Top: Sherri McMullen is celebrating 15 years in business with her upscale fashion brand by opening a six-month-long pop-up shop in downtown Detroit, bringing her eye for up-and-coming designers both in clothing and jewelry to the Motor City (photos courtesy of Bedrock Detroit).
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