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Kate Abney | Photo: Sara Hanna | January 29, 2013
A Buckhead boutique owner serves up style for a cause.
W.port owner Emily Bean may be small—but what she lacks in size, she makes up for in heart.
Bean is stationed at her Roswell Road boutique almost daily, so you’re bound to meet her when you swing by (just look for the signage by JEZ-featured decorative painter Kristen Fountain Davis!). Since opening late last year with the help of her stepmom/friend/mentor Pat Mastandrea, the store has become one of Buckhead’s most popular boutiques.
With Mastandrea back in Westport, Conn. (the boutique’s namesake), Bean—a local girl born in Peachtree Hills—is the face of the operation. Having moved to Westport at age 9, Bean fell in love with the relaxed refinement of the New England coast. She built up a résumé that read like a who’s who of the fashion world: Bumi Sirotka and Martin + Osa in New York; Bloomingdale’s in Chicago; Deka Athletics, Intermix and Ralph Lauren in Atlanta; and Cicada in Oxford, Miss. But, with all that, there also came a foil: Two weeks before graduating from The University of Mississippi, at age 23, Bean was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia.
“I’ve never cried about it,” she says courageously. “I’ve just never let it affect me. I’m very fortunate.” So far, Bean’s avoided chemo and other invasive therapies by taking the medication Gleevec. Though she isn’t cured, she hasn’t let her diagnosis dent her spirit. Besides frequent visits to pHWine Merchant, and Treehouse Restaurant and Pub (“I eat way too often,” she says, laughing)— as well as running marathons to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS)—w.port is one major way she stays upbeat. And, for shoppers, it’s also one way to support the cause—a percentage of the store’s profits are donated directly to LLS. That means you can feel great about buying up the flowy Demylee tees, Vince basics, cowhide belts, Zuni turquoise jewelry and much more.
“Our best sellers are the American Colors by Alex Lehr tops,” Bean adds. “We carry them in a few shades and two different styles—we can’t keep them in [stock]!” Another big seller? Red’s Outfitters sunglasses—w.port was the first merchant to carry the up-and-coming Atlanta brand. “We’re the all-American store,” says Bean. “I wanted to sell a lifestyle.”