Twins, Marilyn and Katherine Hessler, are seniors at the University of Mississippi yet unlike most they own and operate a clothing boutique. I Just Have to Have It is located on the Oxford Square. The twins started their business in the summer of 2014, in Meridian, and opened their Oxford store in the spring of 2017.
“We had been going to Atlanta market for gifts and jewelry since we were 12 years old with our mom and grandmother,” Marilyn Hessler said. “In the summer of 2014 we went to Atlanta apparel market to pick up a few clothing items for fun to sell and we sold out instantly. People were begging us to get more items and we haven’t stopped.”
I Just Have to Have It originated in Meridian, Mississippi, and the twin’s mother, Cheryl Hessler, still operates the original store. Katherine and Marilyn are in charge of the Oxford location. On home game weekends Cheryl works in the Oxford location so the twins are able to attend the games.
“Our mom calls herself the ‘momager’,” Marilyn Hessler said. “She manages everything and lets up pick 95 percent of everything. She also picks out items but she looks for what moms would like. Our mom is also amazing at picking out jewelry. She picks out all the jewelry and purses.”
Clothing prices, online and in-store, typically range anywhere from $40.00 to $80.00. These prices are significantly lower than most clothing boutiques on The Square.
“The main thing that makes us different from other stores on The Square is our prices,” Marilyn said. “I cannot tell you how many times we have had girls come in and say they saw someone down the street selling the same exact thing for $40.00 more.”
In addition to Marilyn and Katherine, I Just Have to Have It is primarily operated by college age students. The twins do not hire adults.
“It really is just college students running the store,” Marilyn said. “I think it goes to show that college students have drive and can get the job done on top of school and all the other things that come with being in college.”
According to Marilyn, managing both a clothing boutique and schoolwork is challenging. The twins are often in the store until 2 a.m. on school nights.
“Running the store and also managing school work is hard,” Marilyn said. “Last semester was hard for me because I would be in in class and I would have employees or reps from brands call and I would not be able to answer. I am taking a lot of online classes this semester so I am able to be more hands on. If the store needs me I can go help as soon as possible. If we end up having too much to handle, between work and school, we have some amazing friends who make sure we stay on top of our school work and then help us after hours at the store.”