The Ashland Beacon
Fourteen years ago, Melanie Tierney opened up Melanie’s Bowtique in Ashland. While her business and her life have both changed over the years, her dedication to living out her dream has not.
When people shop at her business, they help her “support a dream” while also helping her to support her family, Tierney said.
“[I meet] a lot of great people in the job that I do, and feel blessed that people still think of me after all these years,” Tierney said. She always gets tagged on Facebook when someone makes a plea asking for someone to make a hairbow, and she’s certainly a permanent fixture in the Camayo Arcade these days.
The “shop local” attitude has changed over the last few years, as Ashland in Motion works tirelessly to make shopping locally a success, and they “bring a lot of people downtown,” Tierney explained.
When she was farther up the road, holiday shopping was different because the Bowtique would only see its regular customers that would “stop in to support me and say, ‘hey, this day’s for you,’” she reminisced. Being in the Camayo Arcade, though, people have been calling for nearly a month now, asking what deals were going on. Tierney exclaimed, “every year it gets bigger and bigger!”
Tierney said that she “didn’t think much of it before, [but was] glad to be included” by her regular customer base. Now, she is “already planning what I’m going to make” and trying to “figure out what I’m going to need the most of.” Tierney will even be sacrificing the comforts of home, spending several all-nighters in the shop throughout the season to ensure that no bow is left behind.
Before Small Business Saturday, Tierney worked for 48 hours straight to get ready, along with another shop owner in the Camayo Arcade. “It is fun that I have so many allies in this building,” she shared. The shop owners at Camayo consider themselves quite a team.
Once Christmas is over, Tierney revealed that she could probably “take the entire month of January off and no one would notice.” But about halfway through February, she dives right into Easter. In the hair bow business, Tierney contends that “Easter is just like Christmas.” She continued, “[It’s a] season of hair bows and dresses.”
Tierney also does special requests and has been known to come in on Christmas Eve to make a bow for customers that misplaced them. She said that “my customers are like family and they know that if I’m around, I’ll do it. I want to come in and help people,” and they appreciate that “I’m last minute on everything.” Most custom orders can be done the next day unless she has to order supplies, and even then, she can still usually have it done within three days.
Over the years, Tierney has expanded her business from bows into tutus, headbands, T-shirts, and blankets. She can also do bags for sports and schools. She said that the most popular thing right now are items with the sate of Kentucky on them because “people come back home to visit and they want to take a little bit of Kentucky back with them.”
Tierney appreciates the support of her community and in turn, supports the community herself. She purchases ads in the programs of the local school functions. She said that when they come in and tell her that the “big chains told them no, it breaks my heart for them. We need to support our kids. Any school function that needs me, if I can do it, then I do.”
Tierney also sells customized elves every year. The sales from the elves go exclusively to purchase gifts for the children on the CARES giving tree. Last year, Tierney was able to purchase gifts for 10 children on the tree and is hoping to be able to purchase for at least that many this year. Tierney said that she “tries to give back as much as I physically can.”
Tierney finished by explaining that, as a single mom who has been through some recent tragedies with her children, she still feels blessed because there are “so many people that walk in here every day and they support me.”