First Look: Wild Ruffle

Minnesota’s charming lakeside towns, such as White Bear Lake, Excelsior, and Prior Lake, are known more for their antique stores and idyllic views than for modern fashions and home goods. But a recent wave of store openings—menswear store John Henry in White Bear Lake, no fewer than half a dozen new stores in Excelsior, and a trio of new stores in Prior Lake—have made it clear that the Minnesota-made ethos and on-trend styles of Minneapolis are making their way to the suburbs.

The latest is Wild Ruffle, a boutique that combines women’s clothing and accessories with home goods and gifts. The shop has its origins as a style blog started about a decade ago by co-owner Cate Mezyk, a stay-at-home mom. She later joined with friend Tammy Hiveley, who has a background in fashion design, retail management, and retail buying. The pair started hosting pop-up shops in Prior Lake, where they both reside, in 2011, and about a year and a half ago, opened a small, shared space in partnership with UrbanHalo, a Minnesota brand that designs sporty headbands. 

Its new storefront, located next door to the renowned Edelweiss Bakery, is Wild Ruffle’s first proper, standalone space. Hiveley describes the shop’s vibe as “rustic glam”—among the shop’s offerings are industrial shelves and coat hooks made from reclaimed wood and signs featuring a gold-leafed Minnesota-state silhouette on a piece of wood. Products by the shop’s longtime vendors—many of which are Minnesota-based makers—have come along to the new space, such wall art by Allison Marie Design, stationery and prints by Mini Momma Designs, inspirational tees and baby onesies by Faith & Finn, hand-poured soy candles by Excelsior Candle Co., stylish diaper bags by Austin & Fowler, and Mason jar mugs featuring an etched-glass design of Prior Lake by Kay & Co. Hiveley also makes about 75 percent of the shop’s jewelry, and the rest comes from Etsy’s wholesale channel. They’ve also added a selection of handmade skincare products, also from Etsy wholesale.

Another thing that Wild Ruffle fans can count on is its selection of Minnesota-themed t-shirts. “We have a huge t-shirt customer,” says Hiveley. “Everyone has local tees, and they still sell.” Adds Mezyk, “People here have a lot of Minnesota pride.”

The biggest addition to the new store is clothing, much of which is sourced in the U.S., though Hiveley plans to eventually adds her own designs to the store. The polished-bohemian styles—think fringed dresses in paisley prints and off-the-shoulder folk-inspired tops—are based on the owners’ personal style. “I love color and texture,” says Hiveley. Adds Mezyk, “My style changes on a whim. One day I’m more bohemian, some days I’m more streamlined. We’re on-trend, but I wouldn’t say we’re a slave to the trends.”

The store opens to the public Saturday, May 7, with a grand opening party from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be gifts with purchase, baked treats from Bella Nava Creations, refreshments, and candle giveaways from Excelsior Candle Co. Saturday also marks the first farmer’s market in downtown Prior Lake of the season, taking place right outside of the Wild Ruffle doors, and down the street, look for grand openings from UrbanHalo (in the space formerly shared with Wild Ruffle) and new urban-modern gift and home shop Love Feast—previously online-only, the shop carries Kiki Koyote jewelry, Da Bomb Fizzers bath bombs, and small-batch soy candles by Chicago-based Tatine—as well as the five-year anniversary of the Vintage Gypsy, which sells vintage and vintage-inspired clothing and home goods. 

Inside Wild Ruffle:

Inside Love Feast: