The bright, airy space occupied by Dress & Dwell on East Spring Street in New Albany, has become a favorite of fashion lovers from all over Kentuckiana. So has owner Amanda Mulvene.
But not just for the clothing, home furnishings and accessories she carefully selects for her shop (and accompanying online store). Mulvene is a beautiful blend of savvy businesswoman and gracious host. She has an eye for aesthetics but offers honest input without hurting feelings. And always – always – seeks to build up others, regardless of whether they’re customers, employees or even associates from competing businesses.
Mulvene was raised in Lanesville and has always been surrounded by entrepreneurs and family members who supported one another as they reached for their own goals. After graduating from Providence High School and earning a degree in apparel merchandising with a minor in business from Indiana University, she working for a couple years before moving to Chicago and getting a minor in interior design Herrington College of Design. When she moved back home to Southern Indiana, she was sure of only one thing: “I wanted to really make something of my life.”
As a child, Mulvene always loved fashion. “I think in the back of my mind I knew I wanted to do something in that industry and possibly own a boutique, but I was never quite sure that would actually happen.”
But those around her did.
“It’s my parents. It’s my aunt and my uncle. It’s the people who are driven who inspire me to push forward and not quit wanting,” Mulvene said. “My great grandmother, my mom’s grandmother, used to say, ‘If you quit wanting, you quit living.’ That’s not just superficial things. That’s wanting in life, wanting more for your life.”
Years earlier, Mulvene had etched out a business plan and did countless hours of research before “taking a leap of faith” and launching Dress & Dwell in 2011. “Once I decided I was going to do it, I … knew I had to get through all of the steps, and then it all just came into play. My parents had taught me to work hard, and if you are driven, you can make it happen.”
And she did.
“I remember my uncle (investor and builder Steve Resch) was the first shopper of the day,” Mulvene recalled. He had some inspiring words and said, ‘Here’s your first dollar.’ He’s a believer in people. He saw the vision.”
As Mulvene’s business grows at the boutique and online – dressanddwell.com – she and her husband, Jason, are preparing to expand their family, too. “We’re expecting,” Mulvene said, smiling. “And we’re not going to find out what we’re having. We’re going to wait and be surprised.”
“How do you design a life you love? If you know it’s something you want to do, put all of you heart into it.”
“Surround yourself by great people. We’re so fortunate to be surrounded by such good people, and that’s not just our employees at Dress & Dwell. It’s our customers, too.”