BY MOLLY BRUSH • PHOTOGRAPHY BY RICHARDSON STUDIO
Mirth co-owners Amanda Forgas and Kelly Jennings were struggling to get the fledgling boutique up and running earlier this year when a mistake gave them some unexpected momentum. It came shortly after they attended a trade show to meet with women’s apparel sales representatives.
“One day we got a call from one of these brands saying, ‘Hey, your order is all ready to ship out, and you owe us $4,000,’” Forgas recounts.
That came as a shock to the pair, who hadn’t placed any orders and didn’t even have a location yet. But the error proved to be the spark that brought Mirth to life. After striking a deal to keep the merchandise for one month, selling as much as they could and returning the rest, the two organized a series of pop-up shops in Bloomington. The success of those pop-ups gave them the confidence to move forward with the business.
“We were really panicked and scared when it happened, and then in the end it really was what got Mirth started,” says Forgas, who worked at now-closed Bloomington retailer Relish before partnering with Jennings, a longtime Relish customer, to start Mirth.
In November, Mirth moved from a temporary spot in Fountain Square Mall to a permanent storefront. Forgas and Jennings describe Mirth’s women’s clothing and accessory offerings as “edgy yet wearable,” focusing on a subtle color palette and unique prints. Brands include Porto, XCVI, Cut Loose, Chalet, Just Jill, Alembika, and Blue Pacific. Prices range from about $30 to $300.
The name Mirth alludes to the experience that Forgas and Jennings want for their customers. “Mirth means ‘happiness and joy,’ and we just want every woman who comes in here to have a really nice time with our laughter, our excitement, and our product,” Jennings says.
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