Foundry Pop-Ups is a haven for micro-boutiques

When Northern Virginia-based interior designer and serial entrepreneur Jen Mulledy visited Staunton in late 2020, she was instantly smitten. “The second I saw it, I just knew it was just so special,” she says of the city’s historic, Victorian-architecture-rich downtown area. By April 2021 she’d leased an apartment and launched a new business, Foundry Pop-Ups, on West Beverley Street. 

There Mulledy envisioned a curated, membership-based retail incubator where startup and established but unscaled local artisans could work together in a communal, market-style environment with wraparound support services that would enable them to take their businesses to the next level while minimizing risk. 

“I wanted to provide an option for people who wanted to start or expand a business, but were concerned about having the time, money, and [marketing skills] you need to make it successful,” says Mulledy. The Foundry subsequently provides pro-designed retail space in a premium location with inbuilt retail staffing, management, web, social media, and bookkeeping services. It also tracks inventory-specific sales “to help members home in on their customer base and better understand what it wants.”

The idea is to help would-be entrepreneurs launch a side business or ramp into full-time artisanry while keeping their day jobs. Other members, like Ware House Miniatures, which specializes in handcrafted wooden dollhouses and accouterments, opted to swap an expensive brick-and-mortar location for a smaller, more manageable booth at the Foundry.

Photo by Lowell Brown

Mulledy’s concept has blossomed into a small but prosperous empire. The collective more than doubled its footprint when it added a second storefront location directly across the street in 2022—and now boasts more than 50 members. Inside you’ll find items like handmade candles, watercolor paintings, ceramics, jewelry, vintage clothing, hand-stitched purses, heirloom quilts, crystals, custom fountain pens, and much more.  TheFoundryPopUps.com


This article originally appeared in the Best of Virginia 2024 issue.

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