7@7: Missy Owens Mull Dishes About Knives, Barrio Boys and Sexual Chocolate
Mayor of downtown (that’s what I like to call her) Missy Owens Mull is the lovable and fashionable face of Owens & Co., the corner shop on Nu‘uanu Avenue and N. Pauahi Street that carries an attractive empire of darling goods that will cute-ify your home, closet and office. I met up with the stylish shopkeeper at 7 p.m. (of course) and asked her seven questions that made her blush, gush and pretty much laugh out loud.
7@7 is an occasional feature where the HONOLULU Magazine fashion team gets the scoop by asking local creatives 7 questions at 7 o’ clock over a drink of their choice.
Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino
Who: Missy Owens Mull
What: Moscow Mule
What is the weirdest encounter you’ve had in your shop?
A guy who lives in the area came to the shop looking for knives. He found a set and, instead of testing the sharpness on his fingertip, tested it on the palm of his hand and sliced it. I freaked out and asked him if he needed something to stop the bleeding—blood was dripping everywhere. He showed no emotion and just kept saying he was fine and that he wanted to buy the knives. I wrapped some paper towels around his hand, but it didn’t stop the bleeding. Finally, after me persisting that he take care of his injury, he left. Later that day, he came back to buy the knives. I sold him the set—the one he used, of course.
Which shop neighbor would you call for a drink after a long, exhausting day?
I love all my neighbors. The Barrio [Vintage] boys are always fun and we can chat for hours about neighborhood news and fun, daily happenings at our shops.
What was your worst customer-service experience?
I was looking for bikinis on Kaua‘i at a surf shop and the sales associate behind the register didn’t ask me if I needed help. After about 15 minutes, she still didn’t approach me, so I asked if I could try on the suits. After leaving the shop with no bikinis, she chased after me and accused me of stealing! After a moment, she realized she made a mistake, and didn’t apologize. At Owens & Co., we try to create an environment where everyone feels welcomed and relaxed.
What was the last thing that made you laugh so hard you almost peed in your pants?
Just the other day, my sister’s boyfriend started doing lines from Coming to America. He can do a really, really good Sexual Chocolate impersonation.
Since you sell such fun and unique gifts in your shop, what do you like to receive as gifts?
Anything food related. A gift card to an eatery, or food itself!
What would you put in a time capsule for your great- great-grandchildren to learn about you?
My first record and obsession, Michael Jackson’s Thriller. My wedding rings. Keys to my shop—it’s such a huge part of my life. My pussyhat from the Women’s March—it was the first time I protested. And, my husband’s gumbo recipe, it’s amazing!
What have you learned since opening the shop six years ago?
When I opened the shop, I wanted to be able to make a living on this crazy risk of starting my own business. It worked out, and in the past several years I’ve met and surrounded myself with the most amazing and inspiring people. My neighbors, customers, vendors and employees make what I do a joy. Now, being a part of an amazing community is (also) why I’m here.