Obsessions Boutique & Salon in downtown New Albany is the result of a lot of hard work and determination.
“Technically, Obsessions started when I was a freshman in college,” said owner Leann Murphy as she sat inside her business located at 121 W. Bankhead St.
Murphy explained that Obsessions began when she would go to a small market in Memphis and buy items such as jewelry and purses for herself. She always received lots of compliments on her fashions, so she started buying extra items to sell on the side.
Gradually, the business grew, and she began selling merchandise at festivals, pop-up trunk shows and other events. At the end of her freshman year in college in 2007 she set up Obsessions as a business with the state. Basically, the business started out of the back of her car.
After attending Northeast Mississippi Community College, Murphy transferred to Ole Miss and also went to cosmetology school in Corinth. She took cosmetology classes at night, went to Ole Miss during the day and also had a job in Tupelo.
After finishing cosmetology school, she rented a small building on State Highway 30 in New Albany where her grandmother used to get her hair done. She did hair part time while she finished school at Ole Miss.
She graduated from Ole Miss with a degree in marketing and a minor in business administration in 2010. Then she started working on making her dreams come true.
“I knew I wanted to have a boutique and salon,” Murphy said.
That had been her dream since she had been a senior in high school at West Union. She started looking for a place downtown that was big enough to fit a salon and boutique.
At that time, Murphy was 22 years old, broke and just out of college, but she came up with a business plan. She figured this was the best time to take a risk because she was still single, did not have any debt and had nothing to lose.
Murphy felt as though she was bringing something different to New Albany by having a boutique in the front and a salon in back. She noted that women could shop while they were getting their hair done. But she still needed a building and did not like waiting for the right one to open up.
“When I get my mind set on something, I want to make it happen at all costs,” Murphy said.
Eventually, she discovered the building she is in now, but there was another business in it at the time. She fell in love with the building right away, and amazingly it became available a short time later when the business that was in it decided to close.
Murphy took over the building in June of 2011 and opened Obsessions that September, which is almost nine years ago now.
Murphy noted that she graduated from Ole Miss in 2010, and a little over a year later her dream had come true with the help of a lot of people.
“I was determined, and it happened,” she said, adding that she thinks God has been a part of it all. “I do feel like it was His plan and His timing for me to do it then.”
Once Murphy got Obsessions in New Albany established, she was still not done pursuing her dreams. In March of 2015 she opened her second Obsessions location in downtown Corinth’s SoCo District. She noted that Corinth is a special place to her because her husband, Kendall, is from there and she went to cosmetology school there as well.
“It just all came together,” Murphy said, adding that it has not been easy, but she has no regrets. I have loved every minute of it.”
Now she wants to see her business grow even more and just launched an online store before the coronavirus pandemic hit.
She said, “I don’t want to see brick and mortars close altogether.” But she said so much of retail is going online now and she wants to keep up.
“I’m thankful to add that branch to my brick and mortars, to have the online presence, and I hope to see it grow too,” Murphy said.
The apparel at Obsessions is affordable and good for many ages. Just because women get older does not mean they can’t wear cute clothes, she added.
“I tell women all the time, you’re only as old as you feel, and as long as we dress you appropriately yet stylish you’re going to feel young,” Murphy said.
Most of the clothes at Obsessions are casual, cute and fun, said Murphy. There are dresses that can be worn to church, weddings or other occasions. Pants, jeans, shirts and jewelry are also sold at Obsessions, which has a large amount of inventory with new merchandise coming in on a regular basis.
The salon at Obsessions in New Albany has seven stations and offers manicures, pedicures, color, haircuts, spray tans and waxing.
Murphy said she is “very proud” to be part of downtown New Albany. The Main Street organization is also very helpful when it comes to orchestrating events to bring people downtown, she added.
“We do have a lot of out-of-town shoppers,” Murphy said. “Our downtown is amazing.”
Murphy grew up in New Albany, and she and her husband have a 3-year-old daughter, Annperry, and a son named Manning on the way. Her husband, Kendall, is a football coach at New Albany High School.
Obsessions is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.