Whether it was creating her own prom dress or designing her tablecloths, owner and founder of the Pearl Pagoda Christina Murphy has never let practicality limit her expectations and visions. When Christina noticed the lack of accessible high-end clothing options beyond the luxury market, she sought the solution by creating her own clothing boutique. Through a mix of bright colors and distinct patterns, Pearl Pagoda curates unique, chic pieces for the women of Charlotte. Today, the welcoming shopping environment stands apart as a remarkable retail experience singular to her shop.
Tell us how Pearl Pagoda started.
Founded in Summer 2020 when options for shopping were extremely limited, The Pearl Pagoda initially operated as an outdoor pop-up at my SouthPark home. This unique shopping experience quickly gained a viral cult following among South Charlotte women. With exponential growth in the last two years, we decided to expand into a freestanding brick-and-mortar store on Park Road.
What is the story behind the name?
I was a Tri-Delta in college, whose stone is a pearl, and I love chinoiserie. We merged the two and came up with Pearl Pagoda!
What sets Pearl Pagoda apart from other area shops?
Our style is unique. I like to think I bring an unusual aesthetic to merchandising and curating pieces. I work hard to find small-batch, international labels that aren’t easily found in other places. I’m trying to fill a gap with a price point that is higher quality but not in the luxury market. And, of course, we have our own exclusive line of original designs!
Tell us about your exclusive line, and how that started.
When it came to shopping for Pearl Pagoda, particularly with dresses, I wanted something that was high-quality fabric, unique prints, and a very-easy-to-wear-but-flattering fit. I wanted my clients to know the piece would last. On the other hand, I didn’t want it to have to feel like a splurge. Basically, it all started by just refusing no as an answer. I don’t have any formal fashion or sewing experience. That being said, I knew if I kept digging, I could find the right team of people to move that original line forward.
What are some of your “must-watch” trends that you’re loving right now?
I try to stay away from trends. However, I would say that I love the prep and vintage athleisure that are prolific right now. I love tennis and love the fact that athletic wear is trending away from slouchy.
How do you select what clothing, accessories and housewares to offer?
I know it sounds simple but if I like it, I buy it. In order for me to add it to the collection, I have to want to use it, wear it or feel like it’s something special and unique.
What can new clients expect to find at Pearl Pagoda when they are shopping?
I hope that Pearl Pagoda can be an experience for our clients. it’s not just a place to shop, but we are fostering the community that came out of Covid. That’s what made the business have a viral following. during Covid everyone was craving community and connection, so we figured out a safe way to do so. The new brick and mortar expands on that idea, that retail can be beyond your basic definition. It still brings community. we hope our clients want to stop by and say hi, and that we can continue to foster that community amongst women of all ages in Charlotte!