The Hen House first began with a small booth rented in Santa Anna in 2015. The chicks who initiated the notion of a boutique were Danette Rae, her daughter Danielle Carlisle, Danette’s mother Janet and sister-in-law, Jodi Bolton. “We had the booth space and someone said why don’t y'all just open your own store. We had the ordering experience, so we decided let’s do it,” Danette said. That notion landed The Hen House on the edge of town where they established their store in Brownwood, TX. The ladies were in that same location until May of 2019.
Upon restoration and reviving the Brownwood town square, moving was brought to Danette’s attention. “At first I was not about it. I thought it would be a disaster,” Danette shared. “Jodi called one day to say, ‘you’ve got to come look at this building.’’’ Hesitant, as soon as Danette entered, she knew The Hen House had found its new home. The move itself has proven successful. “We thought parking would be a pain and it hasn’t been and the dreaded ‘J’ months were never an issue for us! The move has been a great change.”
In the move the ladies advanced their space by 300 feet and today operate in 1,500 square feet. It is an older building that required a large amount of remodeling. That was not a problem for these can-do women. “The outside was hideous and needed help. Between us girls, 70 to 75 percent of the work done we did on our own. That includes the wood, metal and tin used along the walls and in the dressing rooms, as well as the bar, pallet walls, and flooring,” Danette explained. Assistance was necessary when adjusting the awning and ceiling which Danette’s family happily stepped in for. The entire remodel took only four months. Move in day was May 1st of last year.
“I feel we have a very unique atmosphere here," said Danette. Upon entering the first thing shoppers will notice is The Hen House’s bar area. “We serve drinks to customers as well as coffee and cokes.” After, the raw wood, tin and metal add to the rustic-country ambiance. What else makes The Hen House unique is the products they offer customers. Top on that list is their custom-made jewelry. “Our jewelry is made in-house and not out sourced. And we buy very little costume jewelry.”
The ladies of The Hen House, Danielle Carlisle, Danette Rae, Janet Bolton, Jodi Bolton and Danielle's daughter. (Photo by The Hen House)
By custom jewelry, Danette means real silver and stones; turquoise, Mother of Pearl, opal and Navajo Pearls. “We are Native American. My family is from the “Peoria” tribe from Oklahoma,” Danette said. Explaining she said, “My Grandad Bill Avey, my mother’s father, learned the process of jewelry-making from the Navajo Reservation in Arizona. He taught his daughter, my Mother, Janet, who has taught my daughter, Danielle.” Danette assists in the process by creating her own custom beads called Navajo Pearls. Each piece of jewelry offers customers a one-of-a kind, unique option when choosing an accessory, piece to add to their collection or heirloom to be handed down. Danette said, “It makes us different.” To see more of Danielle’s work, visit her page at Dani Carlise Custom Silver on Instagram and Facebook.
To describe The Hen House vibe, Danette used the words, “western, gypsy, and flair.” Continuing she said, “We are unique. We are not matchy-matchy, we have something for everyone and you can leave with an entire outfit.”
When asked where the name Hen House came from, Danette said it was a collaborative effort. “We kicked it around forever, but knew we wanted to stick with the country, rustic theme. A friend’s husband suggested ‘The Hen House,’ and immediately we knew that was it. It fit!”
When entering The Hen House shoppers can expect to find several different brands as well as graphic tees, shoes, purses, Charlie One Horse Hats and jeans such as Judy Blue. The Hen House ladies are known for their style, spot-on fashion trends and setting the bar high when it comes to statement pieces with an attitude. Currently the western-gypsy-flair has them loving bell bottom jeans, tie-dye, bleached distressed pieces, as well as snakeskin and leopard prints. Danette added, “We seldom have anything similar to people around us; however, if we ever do it is styled different and you can tell where it came from!”
The Hen House Has been carrying Ranch Swag tees since January 2018. What brought them to Ranch Swag was a certain design, “We found the design, ‘Mamacita,’ and had to figure out where they were made. That is where it started.” Danette said, “We have to have tees. They are important. We style them and dress them up and down.” Danette admits knowing her clientele helps her business immensely. That means age-range, style and price point.
Since Social Media made its way into retail, Danette said they have embraced the movement and said overall it has been a positive addition. One she intends on utilizing more as a selling tool.
What Danette feels gives The Hen House their edge is the fact there is multiple opinions on what they carry. “While some places have one buyer, there are three to four of us who go to make the decisions. We compliment each other well and style well together.” The word Danette used for their collaborative effort is 'variety.' Danette attributes much of their style appeal to daughter Danielle. “Fashion hasn’t always been my thing, it’s always been Danielle’s. She has always had an eye for it. She has never been scared to wear something out-there or make a statement and always gets compliments,” the business owner shared.
The Hen House has three employees who they are very grateful for. “Jodi and I both have another job besides the store. We could not do it without the good help we have. They take it personal; they treat this place like it is their own and want us to do well.” Brownwood itself is not small, but surrounded by rural communities. Boasting a population of more than 18,000, the industries drive the town as well as Friday night football in Brown County.
As for the future, The Hen House hopes to continue offering custom jewelry, and the hottest trends in fashion while advancing their clientele in their new space. While it may not be the only thing the chicks at The Hen House do, it is the most fun and enjoyable job. Perhaps besides the fun of fashion, their favorite part is seeing confidence in each customer after finding the perfect outfit for their event.
To visit The Hen House stop in at 207 Fisk Rd., Brownwood, TX 76801, call at 325-646-2620 and follow them on Facebook and Instagram or email firstname.lastname@example.org.