Mark and Maria Miskoski are co-owners of Bloom Boutique, a women’s contemporary store at the Uptown Gig Harbor Shopping Center.
Bloom has operated in town for the past nine years.
“We offer a well-edited selection of premium denim, casual tops and tees made of great fabric,” Maria said.
Mark has been in retail for years, and Maria worked in the medical field, but after years of driving to Seattle on weekends to shop, they opened the boutique in Gig Harbor.
Their customers connect on Facebook and through Instagram.
“Those are our two best marketing tools right now,” Maria said.
Bloom recently started carrying Toms shoes and 31 Bits jewelry.
“We put them in the category of fashion for good,” Maria said.
One of their employees went to college with the three women who started 31 Bits. Her friends took a trip to Uganda and met women who grew up during the war and were making jewelry out of old posters. The college students were sold on the product and thought they could market the jewelry and help Ugandan women earn their way to a better life.
The beads used in the jewelry are made from recycled paper, according to the 31 Bits website. Strips of paper are rolled tightly and coated with a water-based varnish. When the varnish hardens, the beads provide a protective coating.
The money earned from selling the jewelry goes to help the women attend school, graduate and live independently.
“The jewelry is very popular with our customers, especially when they find out who benefits from the purchase,” Maria said.
Toms shoes also are a popular item, and that company gives back, too.
“Toms used to give internationally, but now they are focusing on giving domestically as well,” Maria said.
The Toms website says the company donate shoes in more than 60 countries and helps to restore sight in 30 countries.
After nine years, the Miskoskis are embarking on an additional business venture as they open a new store a few doors down from their current location. The store will be called “Frankie,” and it will carry women’s clothing at what Maria refered to as “amazing prices.”Joan Cronk is a freelance reporter for the Gateway.