Joan Morgan has loved art all her life. She taught art, worked as a potter and, for a time, operated a craft store. Her focus then shifted to clothing as art. In 1986, she opened Dream Weaver, a high-end women’s fashion store, on Martha’s Vineyard. In 1989, she expanded to St. Armands Circle, first in a 1,000-square-foot space, then doubling to 2,000 square feet in 1995. Two years ago, she added another 1,000 square feet for Planet clothing. “The Planet account was doing very well, so we gave them their own area,” says Morgan. She closed the Martha’s Vineyard store 18 months ago and now concentrates on her St. Armands location, where she has a staff of eight people and a coterie of three dogs that Morgan says her customers love.
What’s special about Dream Weaver? I had this vision of having the best art-to-wear store in the country. My customers want things that are wearable but make them stand out in a crowd. These are successful women who want to look a little more edgy than others. They are well traveled and maybe a little older, because it takes time to have the confidence to put yourself out there.
What’s the price range? People generally spend $500 to $2,000 on an average jacket or sweater or outfit.
How’s business? We had a 25 percent downturn in 2008, but we have steadily increased until we are well over what we were before. We are totally recovered. I’m excited that people are back asking for more expensive and outrageous things.
What do you wear? Narrow black pants and an outrageous jacket, or a pencil dress with a huge scarf and necklace. Generally, I do black with great bracelets and accessories and shoes.
What are you best at doing? Being an artist and seeing beauty in everything. I pick out every piece of garment here, and it has to be beautiful.
Your downfall? I have a messy desk.
Ever make a mistake? Opening a store on Nantucket, which I couldn’t staff properly and had to close. Then opening a store in Palm Beach, which I closed. A store needs constant management, and I just couldn’t run around from one place to another.
Advice to fledgling retailers? Have a vision, a plan and work toward it.