Meet Jennifer Mankins, Unlikely Queen of Brooklyn Retail

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 ShopBird.com.

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