Meet Jennifer Mankins, Unlikely Queen of Brooklyn Retail


jennifer mankins

Neighbor Jennifer Mankins and her Bird boutiques were the focus of a New York Times fashion section profile yesterday in which she was called the unlikely queen of Brooklyn retail. The Times took a look at the empire she’s building and the clothes she’s used to do it.

“I love oversize things and Japanese style and muumuus,” Ms. Mankins said with a chuckle. “One of my friends was like, ‘Thank God you’re already married, Jennifer’ ” (to Niklas Arnegren, whom she met at Brown and who is now the director of cultural affairs and public programs at the consulate general of Sweden).

Referential rather than racy, this style of dress is in keeping with Ms. Mankins’s theory that the current Brooklyn aesthetic, if it exists, has a certain intellectualism to it.

“If people are going to define ‘sexy’ it’s going to be in a way that’s a little more subversive,” she said. “It’s about being interesting as opposed to being really sexy, with the really high heels and really tight dresses.”

Jennifer’s journey stretches from growing up in Texarkana, moving to Ditmas Park, working at Barneys and then launching her “lofty” boutique that now has a firm say in the “cool club” for quite a few designers and customers alike.

She had never been wild about Manhattan, having spent a summer there during college and “sort of hated it,” said Ms. Mankins, who lives in Ditmas Park. “In Brooklyn there is sky and trees and you can get a little away from the manic pace.”

Bird has stores in Williamsburg, Cobble Hill and Park Slope in addition to the newly built

Photo: NYTimes

Comment policy


  1. is it me, or does it seem that this blog misses people of color in ditmas park? i think it’s great that there are young “professionals” “reviving” the area, but there were loads of people living and doing things here before they arrived. Or maybe that is the point, keep them invisible? – there is a particularly strong african american/west indian roots in this area, but i don’t see much profiles about any of it

  2. This is a story from the NY Times, which has only recently discovered Brooklyn at all, so your criticism should be directed at their narrow-mindedness, rather than this blog.

  3. Jennifer and Nick were neighbors for a short time and are genuine, hard-working people – happy to see Bird and Jennifer get the attention they deserve (even if it comes as no surprise to Brooklynites) congrats!

  4. Jennifer, I was a loyal customer when I lived in Carroll Gardens. Please open up a Bird, Ditmas Park please 🙂

Comments are closed.