Last April, Robie Lynn Morrison blew out the candles on her 50th birthday and decided to pursue her dream of opening a boutique focused on women and the home.
By November, she had opened Burlap and Daisies, a budding home décor and gift shop in Manassas.
“Everything goes back to women and being supportive of them because if they’re not healthy, the family then falls apart,” she says. “Everybody’s home should be a soft place to land.”
Building and Keeping Relationships
Her store at 13480 Dumfries Road is located in the Woodbine Shopping Center, right next to a Food Lion. Morrison says she wanted to occupy the vacant spot because she’s been shopping in that mall for 30 years.
“I had my 7th grade teacher walk through the door one day,” she says. “That’s what it’s about. It’s the connections, it’s the relationships because we have gotten away from that.”
Those relationships extend to strangers who become customers, sometimes even friends, she says.
Morrison started work in the real estate industry when she was 19 years old as a new home specialist.
“Even though every house is the same in a community, it’s always so neat to see people make it their own and create the memories,” Morrison says. “I’ve always loved seeing dirt become a house and so all of that spills into here, and this is why I wanted to do this, this is literally my dream.”
It was a career that Morrison says she loved. In fact, she says one of her biggest obstacles in starting her business was telling her former boss, whom she’s known since she was a teenager, that she was quitting and leaving her job and stable income in the dust.
Opening a Business During the Pandemic
“Everything that we have, we’ve poured into this purely on faith,” she says, adding that her husband has had her back in the business venture.
Several of her family members been a source of support, too.
“Our house became a warehouse for quite a while as I was starting to purchase,” she says.
Morrison’s parents helped prepare the store for opening by doing tasks such as painting. Her daughter also helps out with customers in the store, with her baby on her hip, and she runs errands.
Starting Burlap and Daisies while emerging from a global pandemic and while entering a recession wasn’t easy; offers from the bank vanished as the economic outlook worsened last spring.
“It’s one of those [things where] you’ve got to put your blinders on and go with the heart,” she says. “I thought if I have wanted this for this long, God is going to see a way.”
Coming out of pandemic isolation, she says she particularly wants to cater to mothers and other women who are trying to break away from the craziness of life for a few minutes. Those customers often turn into friends who offer hugs and words of support.
“They feel at peace here, they feel inspired, and that really is my whole goal, just for them to want to linger and feel that they can because it’s a safe space,” she says. “The whole pandemic, we would walk into places and you felt like you were rushed out.”
What’s to Come
Burlap and Daisies continues to develop. In addition to its home décor merchandise, it has added offerings such as weekly drops of fresh cut flowers on Fridays.
The store recently began hosting Sip, Shop and Craft classes, led by Carolyn English, who taught in Prince William County Public Schools for 31 years.
“A lot of friendships are being formed from this store,” Morrison says. “My mom refers to it like … [a] hardware store where all of the guys would get together, and that’s kind of how it feels in here.”
Next up, Morrison is planning to offer at-home design consultations.
“Let people shop in their own home,” Morrison says. “A lot of times, people already have what they need, they just need a fresh eye.”
Feature image by Jessica Kronzer
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