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March 6, 2018
Female Influencers Spring 2018: Shannon Blake
Our Community is full of Fierce Females who are not afraid to take risks, dream big, and collaborate to make things happen. Among the next few pages, read the stories of local women who are influencing our community in impactful ways. Join us in celebrating the many outstanding entrepreneurs, influencers, history makers, and community builders who are making Kennett Square such a wonderful place to live.
With both of her daughters in school full days, Shannon Blake knew she had a “now or never” opportunity to pursue a life-long dream. So she took a leap of faith and left a successful career at URBN to open Penny Lane Emporium. The shop offers a fresh take on kids’ retail and an amusing shopping experience. Penny Lane’s curated collection includes quality apparel and unique and whimsical products for kids from newborns to tweens. Everyone feels at home at Penny Lane, which reflects Blake’s love for, and experience with, kids, moms, and fashion.
Blake is also launching a new event space for kids. The Alley @ Penny Lane is a natural extension of the shop’s mission to build community and engage local families. The Alley, located in the back of the shop, will host workshops, parties, yoga, and more. “As a mom,” Blake explains, “I’m always looking for things for my kids to get involved in.” This safe, fun, and creative place where kids can learn and play will provide a light-hearted and lively hub for all things kids.
Kennett is a place of connection, memories, and strong community ties for Blake, and the synergy she’s found since moving back here four years ago has been energizing. “I’ve met many brilliant and creative women,” she says. “The number of female entrepreneurs is astounding. I feel a strong sense of girl power locally and I hope it continues to spread!”
“Know that you can start late, look different, be uncertain, and still succeed” are words that inspire and empower Blake as she begins this new chapter. She’d begun to wonder, she says, if the time for realizing her dream of owning her own business had passed. “But I couldn’t have done this when I was younger. It took all those years of working, building knowledge and experience, to bring me here.” Change can be a catalyst for wonderful things, Blake says, “if you’re willing to step outside your comfort zone.”
As exciting as these changes are, Blake’s most important job is being a mother. Above all, she says, she wants to be a kind and genuine role model for her daughters. Her central question as she contemplated starting the business was: “Could I be the mom I want to be and run this store?” As Lily and Quinn show children around Penny Lane, help with a craft, or share their fashion advice with their mom, the answer is clearly “Yes.”
Written by Fig Kennett writer Tara Smith