When Judith Gill was looking to find her next pair of leggings, she said, no store seemed to have her size, quality material or the colors and prints she liked. She didn’t want to spend money on leggings she wasn’t totally sold on, so Gill decided to make her own leggings and open her own boutique, Whimsies.
In 2018, Gill started Whimsies strictly as an online store. Nearly two years later, when Gill found the building 4205 N. Wheeling Ave. for sale in May 2020, she knew she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to check it out.
“One day, I just sat down and searched,” Gill said. “This spot came up, so I sent a message through the site, which said it would go to the realtor, but I never got a response. It was actually the realtor who sold me my house, so it was really strange that he wouldn’t respond to me.
“About a week later, I said I was going to stop in. So, I just drove up, and Greg, my landlord, is in the building next door, and he was like, ‘Yeah, let me show it to you.’”
Visit Whimsies Boutique at 4205 N. Wheeling Ave., Muncie, IN 47304
Once Gill saw the building, she said, she knew it was perfect, and it would be the right fit for her and her ever-growing business.
Because Gill’s two daughters work at Whimsies and her husband helped set up the inside of the store, Gill said, Whimsies has a sense of family and community once visitors step inside.
“It is a really great environment,” said Donna Denny, who has worked at Whimsies for about six weeks. “Everyone loves you, and it is just like you entered into this giant family.”
The leggings Gill decided to make at Whimsies are 92 percent polyester and 8 percent spandex.
“Everybody thinks they want cotton leggings, but trust me, you really don’t,” Gill said. “I just wanted something better quality. I spent about three months quality testing these. That is how I initially picked our supplier [in China].”
While leggings are Gill’s main product, she has also branched out to selling joggers, sleepwear and jeans. At Whimsies, Gill sells pants in sizes 0-24, tops in small-6X and shoes up to size 11. She also sells socks, candles and facemasks.
“I have not set foot in a single other boutique [for inspiration] — I just made what I wanted to make,” Gill said. “I think we fit in a little section that other [stores] don’t. It has been really good for us that people are working from home, and they want to be comfortable because we are all about comfortable clothes.”
All the prints and patterns on Whimsies’ clothing are created by artists in Evansville, Indiana, where Gill’s business originated. Gill and her husband moved to Muncie back in 2018 because her husband had accepted a job offer. Now, Gill is looking for aspiring graphic artists in Muncie to create designs for her clothes, she said.
Sandy Bailey, a frequent returning customer of Whimsies, said she met Gill not long after she started Whimsies back in 2018. Bailey only shops at Goodwill and Whimsies, she said, because she grew up poor, and she doesn’t like to buy expensive clothes. Bailey also loves the versatility of Whimsies’ clothes because she can throw them in the dryer, she said.
“Judith is just an amazing person,” Bailey said. “She is just so kind and has the greatest mind for details. My heart just explodes for her and her success.”
When it comes to expanding her business, Gill said it has crossed her mind, but she doesn’t have any immediate or definite plans to do it because she believes Whimsies is still in its infancy in Muncie.
“I think she needed to open another store two weeks after she opened,” Bailey said. “However, while I do think it would be good for her, I think it could stress her out. I like Judith, and I don’t want her to be stressed out.”
To grow Whimsies’ customer base, Denny said she is using Whimsies’ Instagram account to reach college students because she believes Whimsies’ clothes have a lot of potential with a younger crowd.
“[Gill] is just all about making people feel good,” Denny said. “[Whimsies] is just so customer-oriented, and I really take pride in the fact that I work here.”
Contact Savannah Jordan with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @savmjordann.