5 things you didn’t know about JUDE MUSEBy NIKKI ROWELL,
The kitchen is her happy place. Cooking is relaxing for her. From a big Italian family, she is one of six children. Her guilty pleasure is watching Hallmark movies. Youngstown, Ohio, is her hometown. She moved to the South in her late 20s. She met and married her husband within six months.
Growing up, Jude Muse would design and sew her own clothing.
Since fashion has been a passion of hers from the beginning, she always knew she wanted to own her own women’s boutique.
Muse is the owner of the Treehouse, an upscale, women’s boutique with a variety of clothing, accessories and jewelry.
She worked her way through college in retail. She has always loved working in retail, particularly in fashion. Her second job out of college she was recruited to work for a group of department stores in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
That’s where she met her husband, Fred. They later settled in Jackson.
Muse previously worked mainly in corporate retail for groups of department stores.
“I always said that someday I wanted to get out of the corporate world and own my own small store,” she said.
When they settled in Jackson, the opportunity came up for her to purchase Treehouse.
She has owned the store for the past 15 years.
“The opportunity came up, and I decided to take it and 15 years later we’re still here,” she said.
Treehouse is located in what used to be an old home in Fondren. This gives the store its own unique feel, Muse said.
“My clients are my friends,” she said. “They’ve become like friends and family coming to visit at my house instead of my store. I don’t think I could ever recreate this anywhere else. It would be hard to.”
“I wanted to be able to dress women from head to toe,” she said. “I wanted that camaraderie with other women and to just make people feel good about themselves.”
Muse said she has a lot of good relationships with the designers and vendors that she carries in her store.
“I’ve developed those relationships over the years,” she said. “I have honed in on picking my merchandise based on my customers.”
She describes her merchandise as a classic and sophisticated, but on-trend look. She works to find great quality merchandise that her customers can hold onto for years and add new pieces to change the look.
“When I’m at market looking at different designers, when I’m picking the dress, the top, the pant or whatever, I think who is this for and what sizes do I need to buy based on who would love this,” she added.
Around six times a year, she goes to market, primarily to New York. She goes not only to buy for her store, but also to get inspiration from street fashion.
As for her customer base, there is no “typical” customer at Treehouse. Her customers could be anyone from a 13-year-old looking for clothing for starting a new school year to a 70-year-old woman.
“We’ve got generations of grandmothers, mothers and daughters coming to the store,” she said,
Muse is a Youngstown State graduate, where she studied abroad for a semester in Italy. She earned degrees in accounting and political science.
She and Fred have two children, Jake and Audrey.