It all started when Graham's daughters went away to college and her eldest, now married with two kids and the last name Durkin, told her she needed to get a job.
Graham first worked for some small boutiques in Rye, but enjoyed it so much she decided to open her own place. Pink on Palmer, a beauty and accessories store, opened almost 14 years ago and as it got busier, Graham asked Durkin to join her.
With success came Pink's sister store, Clutch, known for jewelry, clothes, purses and other accessories. "We decided to open Clutch because we had jewelry and purses at Pink that did well but we really didn't have the space."
Clutch is now five years old and just got another sibling: Clutch in Rye opened two weeks ago, taking over the space formerly occupied by Blush (34 Purchase St.).
The growing family of stores complements Graham and Durkin's mother/daughter bond. "We always wanted to open in Rye but were waiting for the perfect space," she said. (Both are longtime Rye residents.)
The business works so well because of her and Abbie's relationship. "We complement each other with our own set of skills," she said. "Abbie is the design and creative person. When opening stores, she has a 'vision' while I see a blank space that's going to cost me money!"
Graham admitted she's more detail oriented but said everyone who works at the shops contributes in their own way. "This is a team effort and I believe we have the best people working at all three stores," she said.
Both women admit they love the stores and rarely "turn it off" in their "down" time, though they try. "Abbie really does eat, sleep and breath the stores," said Graham.
Like any mother/daughter business partners, the two admit they have their ups and downs but manage to work through them. "Our differences probably make us better as a business," said Graham.
Graham's other daughter lives in South Africa and is involved with a non-profit organization that helps women and children with AIDs. "She's my wanderer," said Graham. In other words: No sibling rivalry here. "She is very proud and happy for us but she loves what she is doing."
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