Just a few doors down from everyone’s favorite after-hours brewpub, Twain’s, is a bright, sunlit space filled with thoughtfully sourced gifts, housewares, paper goods, accessories and clothes. Coco+Mischa’s radiant wonderland is such a stark contrast from the checker laminate floors and billiard tables of Twain’s that you might wonder how the two destinations ended up on the same block. However if you were to ask owner Michelle Gallagher why it works, she would tell you it’s part of what makes Decatur the perfect neighborhood for her store. “People are super supportive of small business over chain shopping, and they’re good folks who support their neighbors,” she says. With a supportive community and a pretty fantastic idea, Coco+Mischa was born.
For Michelle, opening a pop-up shop with her sister, Christy, during the 2015 holiday season was simply a way to follow her passion for independent artisans and local makers. “I’ve always been a big follower of the handmade movement. I’ve had Etsy stores and participated in all the little new-age, indie craft markets. I’m someone who loves handmade but never found her home in it with a single trade or skill that translated into a career or passion,” she explains. That’s where Coco+Mischa came in.
Michelle (Mischa) and Christy (Coco) stocked their pop-up with goods made by creative friends and artists they loved. After a successful season, they decided to pursue the venture full-time and opened Coco+Mischa’s current location in the summer of 2016. Since then, Christy has had triplets and bowed out of the partnership, but Michelle has taken the original idea and turned it into a full-blown creative paradise. She laughs, “I sometimes joke that starting this shop was my way of just buying the dream job I was looking for!”
Coco+Mischa shoppers are greeted with a wall of glassware and vintage bar accessories to the left, a table of baby items and other giftables in the center and a room of sustainable garments and accessories to the right. Of course, every surface in between is filled too, be it on racks, tables or walls. You’ll find vibrant art and paper goods by Paper Raven Co. and Native Bear. There’s jewelry by Societe Urbane, Las Lobas, Songbird Glory, Be Good and Rebecca Holt. The natural beauty collection stocked with new-to-us brands had us swooning, and Michelle’s personally sourced vintage is not to be missed either. “My collection is a mixed bag of ’70s-’90s fashion (with a smattering of ’50s-’60s too), and I have an affinity for skirts and blouses. I get to look for gems, and I’m not sure there is anything more rewarding than finding an amazing piece in perfect condition for a few bucks.”
Speaking with Michelle, she sings the praises of her artisans and excitedly answers questions with the same amount of enthusiasm from one product to the next. Eying the Cosecha Fine Chocolates by the front counter? She won’t think twice about cracking open a bar so you can taste it for yourself. Curious about a particular garment? Listen as she explains one company’s process of taking fashion house scraps and turning them into fabulous cocktail dresses. Looking for something for your guy? She’ll walk you through her favorites (Braun Goods shaving mud is a top choice). She says finding inventory she loves has never been a problem. “It’s staying within my budget that is hard! I find so many of the artists who I support through the black holes of Instagram, Pinterest and the internet. I also love to shop and travel, so I’m always scoping artists from all over.” Soon enough, you’ll find yourself developing your own fervor for Michelle’s fantastic finds.
In a nutshell, Michelle loves what she does, and she loves the town she calls home. “I love Atlanta so much, and part of that love is for its collective entrepreneurial and creative spirit,” she says. “That’s what I want to support: this city and all my amazing neighbors who make it vibrant. I want small boutiques, colorful murals, eccentric neighbors, amazing food and drink, and diverse culture. All of that needs to be supported by making businesses that exemplify these qualities successful.”
With Michelle’s passion, we’re certain Coco+Mischa will continue to thrive and lead Atlanta’s makers movement towards even more success.
Coco+Mischa is located at 245 E. Trinity Place, #1212, Decatur, GA 30030. Hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Learn more at cocoandmischa.com.
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