The Phoenix, a third-generation family-owned Georgetown boutique, has offered the finest clothing, jewelry, and home decor to its legions of loyal customers since 1955.
Samantha Hays Gushner has recently taken The Phoenix's helm from her parents, John and Sharon Hays, who in turn guided the store for decades following its founding by John's parents Bill and Betty Hays.
"During a driving vacation through Mexico in the early 1950s, my grandparents fell in love with the Mexican people and the remarkable variety and beauty of their folk art," says Samantha. "For many years, The Phoenix was one of the only U.S. sources for high-quality textiles, wood, and silver from Mexico."
Samantha's parents expanded the scope of the business to include many U.S. designers. "I'm proud that my mother, Sharon, was one of the earliest retailers to partner with clothing designer Eileen Fisher. Eileen's high fashion is now valued worldwide for its beauty and wearability, and we support her commitment to sustainability in both the process and fabric of her collections. The Phoenix continues to be a major retail source for Eileen Fisher's ever-changing, always-classic clothing line."
Samantha continues her grandparents' and parents' tradition of showcasing the work of artisans throughout Mexico, valuing relationships built over generations and empowering their efforts to sustain a stable living.
"I grew up visiting the talleres, the workshops of such well-known artisans as Manuel Jimenez and Los Castillo," says Samantha. "Now I partner with their grandchildren, who honor the work of their forebears but have also brought their designs to new levels of contemporary art. I also source new designers who work in the same tradition of high quality, personal craftsmanship.
"'Hecho a mano,' or 'made by hand,' is a powerful statement that guides our retail philosophy. We seek to honor that tradition by providing our customers the finest quality in home goods, jewelry, fashion and art from Mexico, the United States, and around the globe."