Jen Van Wart, Twigs

Walking into Twigs is like walking into your fabulous friend’s immaculately curated closet. I first became obsessed with the boutique when I lived in Madison for college, but my love has reached new levels now that their second location has opened in Brookfield, about 15 minutes from my house (veryyy dangerous). Twigs carries amazing designers like Diane Von Furstenberg, Tory Burch, and Marc Jacobs, but the service and small touches they put into every aspect of the business are what make it the best.

To celebrate the opening of Twigs' second location, we've teamed up for a killer giveaway! One lucky winner will have the opportunity to win $100 to Twigs. Head over to Instagram to find out how to enter.

Jen and her husband, Van, are the masterminds behind Twigs, and they are two of the coolest, nicest people ever. Check out my Q&A with Jen to find out more about her and Twigs:


My Midwest Is Showing: What's the history of Twigs?

Jen Van Wart: My husband, Van, and I were living in the New York Metro area, and we decided to return back to the Midwest where I had grown up. I moved with the kids about two months before 9/11. We sold our house, and I was in Wisconsin, but my husband was finishing his job in New York when it happened. He was stuck in New York for awhile, I didn’t have a house yet, and our kids were starting school – it was a hard time, and my therapy was truly shopping. I couldn't find any boutiques like the ones I had grown to love in New York, so I decided I wanted to open a store and work for myself. Twigs opened in January of 2002. At first, we carried strictly accessories – handbags and jewelry. Bit by bit, we expanded, developed a website, and started carrying ready-to-wear.


MMWIS: What's a normal day like for you?

JVW: I don’t think there is a normal day. The two things that are consistent are buying and working with guests. 


MMWIS: You just opened your second location. What has it been like to expand your business, and do you have plans to expand further?

JVW: We first opened Twigs on a small street in Madison, then later moved to Hilldale – a more progressive outdoor mall. Van and I took countless trips to understand the Milwaukee area and market before deciding on The Corners of Brookfield for our second location. We really feel like shopping and entertaining is moving in the direction of places like Hilldale and The Corners, so it's exciting.

We definitely have plans to expand, but the location is still undetermined. We’re taking 2017 to catch our breath. There’s still a lot of learning and evolving we have to do at The Corners.


MMWIS: Greatest business accomplishment so far?

JVW: Gaining the trust and support of our communities. And it's great that so many brands entrust us and want to work with us.

MMWIS: What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own business?

JVW: Have patience. Don’t let up on your dream. It takes time and dedication - you really have to love what you do.


MMWIS: What are you currently reading? Watching? Listening to?

JVW: I’m reading the Bruce Springsteen autobiography, Born to Run. I’m watching Fargo – it’s spectacular. I’m listening to a lot. I'm a huge lover of music – especially alternative music.


MMWIS: If someone was visiting Wisconsin for the first time, what would you tell them to do first?

JVW: Walking along the Kohler-Andrae State Park – the nature in Wisconsin is spectacular. And eat fried cheese curds.


MMWIS: Favorite thing about the Midwest?

JVW: Well, it’s not winter! I would say family and friends.


MMWIS: How does your Midwest show through your personality and/or what you do?

JVW: I think I'm caring and honest with our guests at Twigs – it's one of my top priorities.

Be sure to check out Twigs. Stay up to date with them on Instagram and Facebook!