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Properly Living the Dream on the Oxford Square

Oxford native, Tori Card’s keen eye for fashion helped make Pink and Proper into the thriving local boutique it is today.
Tori Card lived her life surrounded by what has been known as southern hospitality.

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Tori Card helps a customer with her order at Pink and Proper’s new store location on the Oxford Square.

Card, born and raised in Oxford, Miss., grew up finding comfort in small town traditions. While she planned to embrace these traditions for the rest of her life, she ventured away from home to pursue her dreams.
After high school, she majored in business at Mississippi College, where she developed her dream of being her own boss.
Her goal was to move back to her hometown and open her own boutique on the Oxford Square. This is where she said she shopped with her mom and hung out with her friends on the weekends when she was younger.
To Card, the Square represented her childhood dreams of owning her own boutique.
Card moved back home after graduation and accepted a position as manager of a new boutique on the Square, called Pink & Proper.
“Pink & Proper started out as a small women’s boutique store located in a breezeway on the Oxford Square,” said Card.
The owner – Suzanne Dickinson, an interior designer from Houston, Texas –needed help to uncover college trends and define distinct Mississippi-girl style in order to make her store more successful. This is where Card stepped in to make Pink & Proper the name it is today – and it didn’t take long.
“[While] the location was not ideal, we [had to] make it work,” Card said. “I knew if this store was going to become a Square sensation, marketing was our key to getting our name out there.”
The boutique began selling clothes, shoes and accessories by designer Lilly Pulitzer – a name well known in the world of a southern belle.
A sampling of the Lilly Pulitzer line being sold at Pink and Proper. /Photo courtesy of Pink and Proper on Facebook
A sampling of the Lilly Pulitzer line being sold at Pink and Proper. /Photo courtesy of Pink and Proper on Facebook

“The products of the store were perfect to sell on the Square,” Card said. “We just needed a way to let everyone know that we were coming in with a big bang and that we [wanted] people to know who we are and what we have to offer.”
While branding Pink & Proper, the business-aspect of the industry showed Card “how important advertising was and how building relationships with customers in the town could make a product known.”
Since opening in 2011, the store has relocated from the small breezeway to the center of the Square. Both Card’s and the store’s popularity have grown like wild fire.
“I’ve been shopping at Pink & Proper since it first opened and [Card] has always been helpful,” said Britt Buchanan, a junior at the University of Mississippi. “You can tell she really loves her job and cares about her customers.”
The store has since expanded to sell different products from different designers – including Kate Spade. In addition, a sister store has been opened – called Miss Monogram – that sells gifts and offers monogramming services.
When new products come in, Card keeps her customers updated.
“Tori always let’s me know when new things come in. I love it,” said Maggie Anderson, a senior at the University of Mississippi.
Card’s loyal customers see her as the brains and backbone behind the store. She is the one who reached out to the residents of the town for publicity and positive feedback towards the store.
Card can be credited with developing Pink & Proper into the respected, loved and well-known store that it is today.
For more information, visit Pink and Proper on Facebook: facebook.com/PinkandProperOxford
Story and Photos by Hattie Wheeler, Observer Magazine 2014

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