When Becky Zwirlein and Sharron Thomas first contemplated opening a store on the Historic Town Square last year, they knew they wanted to fulfill a need in the community. With the November opening of their Sass It Up Boutique at 116 N. Main St.(currently 112 N. Main St.), Thomas and daughter Zwirlein did just that.

“It’s something we thought we’d like to do,” Thomas said. “And we felt there was a need here with the town growing.”

The Collierville mother-daughter duo wanted to take their home embroidering business to the next level by offering a wide variety of children’s clothing, shoes and accessories, as well as personalized monogramming and appliqué.  “Appliqué is like a material design sewn to a product, whether it is on a bag or an outfit,” Zwirlein noted.  And with her commercial embroidery machine, Zwirlein is the one in charge of the store’s monogramming and appliqué orders, on all kinds of items, such as robes, aprons and baby dresses. “We also offer embroidery and appliqué on products not bought here at the store,” Thomas added. “And we offer free monogramming on anything purchased within the store, which is a big plus.”

Thomas recalled a “scary” instance when a resident brought in an antique, heirloom, crochet blanket that her great aunt had made.  “She was having a granddaughter, and she wanted her granddaughter’s name put on it,” she explained. “She wanted to first know if we could even embroider on crochet. I told her, ‘I’m afraid it will slide around, and there’s no way we’re messing up this blanket.’  “She wanted so badly this baby’s name to be on this blanket,” Thomas continued. “So, we actually embroidered the name on a piece of satin, which I hand-stitched to the blanket very delicately. And that way if the granddaughter ever wanted to pass it down, you could simply unstitch that.”

Both Thomas and Zwirlein gained entrepreneurial insight while helping out Bobby, Thomas’ husband and Zwirlein’s father, run an industrial packing and transportation business in Memphis.

And with five little ones in the family, Zwirlein and Thomas are constantly surrounded by children’s fashion.  Zwirlein has five children with her husband Andy, and the couple is expecting son Hank in less than six weeks.  Zwirlein’s 11-year-old daughter Annah and two sons, Jack, 9, and Brody, 8, are in school while she tends to Sass It Up, but five-year-old Lola and nine-month-old Amelia can often be found in store helping out.  “The five-year-old tells people she works here,” Thomas chuckled. “When other little girls come in the store and ask, ‘Do you work here?’ she’ll say, ‘Yes.’”

Thomas and Zwirlein agreed that being able to run their own business has its advantages.  “Having the freedom to be able to make our own decisions, and take it in whatever direction we want,” Thomas noted is what they enjoy most about ownership.  The duo said they struggled in the beginning months with getting their boutique name out in the community, but thanks to advertising, word of mouth and repeat customers, business is picking up.

Sass It Up also offers gifts and accessories for women, and customers are able to list out items for bridal and baby registries. “Our online store is nearly ready if people want to order from there, if they can’t come in,” Thomas added.