Getting Cocky About Fashion
Always in touch with the latest trends, Miss Cocky has become a staple for those seeking Gamecock fashion, accessories and more
By JACKIE PERRONE
Photos by SALLY SCOTT
Like many Midlands residents, Marlo Meredith was an Army brat who landed here after living in many other places in the U.S. and Europe. She’s felt at home ever since.
“I arrived here at college-age,” she recalls. “Just walked into U.S.C. as a freshman, and knew I wanted to stay forever.” Apparently she was Miss Cocky before it existed.
Miss Cocky is located in downtown Columbia on Main Street, adjacent to the Marriott Hotel and across from the Columbia Museum of Art. Small but conspicuous, this eclectic boutique offers all things Gamecock, plus a dose of fashion and whimsy in the works of some local artisans. Like its owner and entrepreneur, Miss Cocky wants to help others show off their best while making the most of life every day.
“I love what I do here,” says Meredith. “The Gamecocks are at the heart of my business, but I have a passion for fashion also, and we have some creative artists right here in the Midlands who furnish us with jewelry, accessories and paintings, some things you won’t find anywhere else in the world!” (Watch for the whimsical hats hand-painted by Paula Ayoub.)
She may be her own best example. You may meet Meredith while she’s wearing a poncho-style cover over silk, or a long skirt with flashy jewelry, perhaps a bright top over jeans. “I’ve always had an eye for fashion,” she says. “It’s a way to help women feel good about themselves, and raise their confidence level.” Again, she models the vision.
After growing up in a military family, living across this country and also in Germany and Italy, Meredith finished high school in Denver, CO. At that time her parents had moved to Columbia, where her retired military father was a professor at U.S.C. She majored in psychology at South Carolina, and then followed in her father’s footsteps by serving in the Army for eight years. She has maintained her membership in the Army Reserves. She spent some years working at a mental health center, getting married and parenting two daughters. As those youngsters grew older, the idea of going into business appealed to her, and she bought Miss Cocky on Gadsden Street in the Vista.
“It made a hit with Gamecocks from the beginning,” she says. “Two years ago, this spot in the heart of Main Street became available, and we took it over. The foot traffic is constant and heavy, and when special events come along, the streets are filled. Right after we opened up here, the solar eclipse brought thousands to our streets, and right now, we just had another “wow” weekend with March Madness. It’s been exciting.”
Miss Cocky’s owner mentions that South Carolina’s opposing teams are often housed in the Marriott, and visiting athletes and fans find her right away. Football, basketball, and baseball, sure, but she also has a clientele associated with soccer, equestrian, and other sports teams at U.S.C. They too have seasonal competitions which keep the Gamecock merchandise moving off the shelves. U.S.C. co-eds from the retail school can earn internships at her shop.
Meredith’s older daughter, now a student at Belmont College in Tennessee, helps out at the store when she is in town. The younger one is now in middle school and can be found in the shop also at times. They spent last Christmas in London, a vacation trip but one where the entrepreneur always has an eye out for what’s new and interesting. She spots that in many locations.
Miss Cocky’s biggest news? A second store opening this summer on Beaufort Street in Chapin. “Our clientele ranges from about 18 to 75,” says Meredith. “We welcome everyone to try something new.” The Meredith family home is on Lake Murray, and they also own a Main Street apartment in Columbia as well as one of the notable Cockabooses. Meredith travels to Las Vegas every January to order for the coming year. “We want to be cutting edge,” she says. “Fashion is always changing and we plan to keep up.” 803-748-4771, misscocky.com