Simple Pleasures, Providence: Interview with Owners Mary and Alice

I am very excited to share this feature with you! Simple Pleasures is a gem and a staple here in Providence. I have been obsessed with this shop since I moved to Providence. It’s the kind of place that you “ooo, and aah” at everything and even giggle a bit.

Simple Pleasures is owned by a Mother-Daughter duo, Mary the mom and Alice the daughter. When asking them about their shop, Mary said to me “It’s more than the money for us. We take a lot of care in having a lot of neat stuff for our customers. We love what we do.” Their love and passion for this lovely boutique translates in the beautiful things they carry and how they treat their customers.

They want to keep the joy and magic of small business alive. We hope that they can continue doing what they do with our support!





How and when did Simple Pleasures start?

Mary: Simple Pleasures first started in 1992 as a flower shop and boutique with my friend Sunny Johnston. I always wanted to have a shop, and eventually we decided to be a boutique no longer having flowers, and Sunny moved on to new endeavors.

Alice: I grew up working in this shop. As a little girl, I remember working with my mom in the shop on projects.


How do you find the items at Simple Pleasures?

Mary: A lot of travel- We go everywhere! A lot of trade, apparel, and accessory shows. We spend days at shows meeting artists and craftspeople. We go through an extensive process to acquire all the things in the shop.

Alice: We focus on handmade things! We’ve had some really amazing work trips to Mexico, Peru, & Guatemala to find handmade goods.

What and Who inspires you?

Mary: You know, the shop has always been an art piece for us. It’s not just the kind of store that’s plain and simple, I love things that are interesting, beautiful and worth owning. I also love meeting craftspeople! I would absolutely love for the store to be a gallery as well.
Alice: Wearable, functional, useful goods inspire me. We love handcrafted things but they have to be functional so they fit into your life. We look for a combination of well-made and handmade.


What is your favorite Travel destination?

Mary: There are so many places I’d like to visit! I do love Europe and was recently in Italy.

Alice: I don’t think I’ve been there yet. How would you know what’s your favorite? I love experiencing new places!



What is your favorite season?

Mary: Spring!

Alice: I don’t think I have a favorite! I like all seasons for different reasons. Providence is the prettiest in the Spring, Fall is very vibrant and has a faster pace that I really enjoy.



Do you have a favorite Fall food/recipe?

Mary: Pizza!

Alice: I have lots! I love to cook and bake. I would probably say, from the cookbook Plenty Chickpea, Tomato and Bread Soup.


When do you feel the most creative?

Mary: In the shower! haha!

Alice: After a large cup of coffee, If there’s a specific project or problem to resolve that I can make time for, that’s when I feel the most creative.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to start their own business?

Mary: Being aware that it’s a big responsibility! I don’t think many people, myself included, had any idea of how much work it takes to run a business! You can’t go home at the end of the day leaving your work behind.

Alice: You can’t leave at 5pm, if you don’t do the work, it won’t get done.





What can’t you leave your house without?

Mary: Iced Coffee and a great scarf!

Alice: Blinc Mascara! It’s amazing! It doesn’t rub off, smear, and easy to remove.


What made you decide to open Simple Pleasures  in Providence?

Mary: I lived here. I am a RISD alumni and so is my husband. It made sense for my family for us to be here! I was fortunate enough to open the store…. It was a dream to start this.



How would you describe Simple Pleasures to someone who has never been in the store before?

Mary: It’s an experience! We work really hard at what we enjoy. Which is bringing interesting things here for people to appreciate and love for you to either keep or give as a gift. We love change and the seasons changing. We’re elegant and rustic at the same time! On a good day you’ll meet other interesting people. Our customers are interesting, educated, and clever. And when they get together, that’s a really good moment in the shop.

It’s more than the money for us. We take a lot of care in having a lot of neat stuff for our customers. We love what we do!

Alice: It’s really hard to describe. It’s a shop that you want to come in and experience! It’s a Neighborhood shop with a world of goods. You can always meet someone while shopping. We never want anyone to feel obligated to buy anything. We just want you to come in, hang out, look at things, and experience it.



We hope you enjoy this post as much as we did!

Mary and Alice have an incredible boutique. We hope you can visit Simple Pleasures. Tell them Winter Moon sent you!

Simple Pleasures is tucked away on 6 Richmond Square, Providence.



photography// writing // editing: by Olivia

2 thoughts on “Simple Pleasures, Providence: Interview with Owners Mary and Alice

  1. Kathryn Fisher says:

    My favorite store! I live in Bristol and I come to Simple Pleasures whenever I can. It is a joy to be in and shop in! The variety and quality of the things for sale is amazing. Please don’t ever close unless you move to Bristol!


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