Molly: Hi Mary! How are you and can you tell us where you are?
Mary: I am in Centerville, Massachusetts where it is 52 degrees this morning, Molly! So cool weather is headed your way very soon.
Molly: That sounds so nice. You’re a lucky lady to live in 2 beautiful places!
Mary: The Cape house is a new adventure for me. It belonged to my late sister-in-law and brother. They lived here from 1987 until they died. The house has many happy memories for my family. I am in close proximity to 4 nieces and a step-daughter, so it is a place where I feel safe and connected, especially in these times.
Molly: So today we are here to talk about the infamous Mary G, a non-wrinkle and washable top that you developed in Hong Kong...11 years ago?
Mary: It was a completely unplanned development! I had taken a sample my friend Suzanne Johnston had wanted to have replicated. The tailor and I made a few changes to the collar and hemline. I went shopping for a fabric that looked crisp, but was washable and wrinkle-free. It had the look of linen with none of the downsides, so I bought 50 yard bolts in about 5 colors and that's how the Mary G was born! I had no idea it would be such a good match for so many of my friends!
Molly: It’s remarkable that years later women would still be calling from all over the country about this very top, isn’t it?
Mary: Well, it’s an easy fit and it's comfortable and the style is a very simple classic. The price is right too! But I am as surprised as you are! After my last trip nearly 10 years ago, my friend Mary Healy put me in touch with a friend of hers who owns a little textile factory in Hong Kong. He continues to produce the very same shirt for us.
Molly: Yes, he is fabulous. And we have worked to find new fabrics that fit the original criteria of those first 50 yards. Okay, let’s backtrack. Can you paint a picture of what developing the Mary G was like?
Mary: My husband and I were on our second trip to Hong Kong. Before I left Palm Beach, I gathered a few pieces from my good customers to be copied, and I actually spent one splendid week of my life designing and redesigning tops and caftans. It was exhilarating. I bought the fabrics, worked with the tailors, found the buttons, and acted as my own model. Smart to have everything fit my body shape, just in case! I started with three sizes, small, medium and large. I have been all of those sizes in my life so I could relate! Of the 12 designs I brought back, only this one blouse style has been in demand every year.
Molly: What is your most memorable recollection from that Hong Kong trip outside of your shopping and designing adventures?
Mary: Ah so many fond memories. A date with my husband for dinner at the China Club. The trip up to the Peak at sunset. Shopping the hilly streets in Central. Stanley Market for gifts for grands! I have a picture of them all wearing a daisy dress I bought for each one that day. I have the photo here and will enclose a copy for you.
And from my iPhotos, I will send a few shots of my friends wearing Mary G. The most recent shot is of a customer, Billie Mullen, I met up with last October on board a cruise ship in the Med. Such fun to spot her in her Mary G. while cruising the Spanish coastline!
Molly: Sometimes things are all about timing and following your gut. You are very good at that. You also understand your customers and are always curious about learning from them. That’s certainly something I have learned from you. Thank you!
Mary: It's what I do. And guess I do it instinctively. I should probably be using the past tense though, as I am not doing much now. You and your 4 colleagues are carrying on this viable business even in the midst of COVID-19. I know how grateful and proud I am of you all…and to still be in this game at 75, and I am grateful too that there are a lot of people who depend on Mildred Hoit for one stop shopping!
As Dame Vera Lynn sang so memorably during WWII, “I know we’ll meet again some sunny day!” I hope it’s soon!
Molly: We are thrilled that you are able to be somewhere you love during this time. And we Zoom every morning with you! But yes, I echo the gratitude sentiment. We have the best clients, and for that reason, we will continue to be dependable!