Bleeding Heart Boutique opens in Uptown Athens

Loud patterns, bright colors and vintage clothing define Bleeding Heart Boutique.
Bleeding Heart Boutique owner Hannah Morgan files through a display of colorful denim.
Bleeding Heart Boutique owner Hannah Morgan files through a display of colorful denim. Photo by Keri Johnson.

ATHENS, Ohio — Joining a hot spot of local business at 28 ½ E. State. St., Bleeding Heart Boutique now offers a colorful, curated and hospitable secondhand shopping experience.

Located near Passion Works Studio, next door to Republic of Athens Records and above Precision Imprint, owner and operator Hannah Morgan held the shop’s grand opening on July 29.

Born and raised in Athens County, Morgan has a long history of working in retail — something she is passionate about — at Uptown Athens shops such as 10 W. Clothing Co., at 10 W. Union St., and Artifacts Gallery, at 2 W. State St.


In 2015–2016, Morgan began participating in pop-up vintage sales in Cincinnati and at the Nelsonville Music Festival, under the title Bleeding Heart Vintage. She sold original jewelry as well as vintage items she had collected over the years. She later had a booth at Peddlers Junction, located at 1002 E. State St. in The Market on State.

The Bleeding Heart Boutique storefront has been a long time coming, as Morgan had hoped to open the shop this past spring. She began renting in February, but her plans for opening the boutique were delayed due to a severe injury. 

In early April, while installing a lightbulb in the store, Morgan fell from a ladder, broke a vertebrae and herniated two spinal discs. 

“I was pretty far along; the store was mostly done — most of the display stuff, the painting,” she said. 

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Athens community members came together to support Morgan in her recovery and aspirations. A GoFundMe, organized by Morgan’s friend Erin Glaser, raised half of its $6,500 goal in less than two weeks, which helped cover rent, loss of revenue and more.

“I am very thankful for that, because I don’t think I would’ve done it myself; maybe pride would’ve come into it,” Morgan said. “I’m just really thankful that they stepped up and did that for me. It really was life-changing because it immediately took away at least that [financial] part of the stress of the injury.”

Morgan was able to return to the store in May, and with the encouragement and help of a friend, she began getting back to work. It was “reinvigorating,” she said — although lots of work, as she dropped off 500 pounds of clothing to wash and tagged all of her inventory. 

She is passionate about the shopping experience, and expressed a love for “the hunt” — sifting through piles and piles of clothing at estate sales, yard sales, thrift stores and more. Her store mostly features vintage items — aged 20 years or older — and secondhand shopping. 

“I don’t discriminate against modern clothing; if I love it, and it looks well made and it fits in the vibe of the store door, I’ll accept it,” Morgan said. “But mostly, my goal is vintage.”

Morgan prefers vintage items because she’s found them to stand the tests of time. She also believes “there is enough for everyone,” as far as clothing goes.

Discarded clothing is the main source of textiles in municipal solid waste, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA estimates that 13 million tons of new clothing and footwear were generated in 2018.

Morgan does not sort the items in her shop by size or gender presentation, but rather by color or pattern. It is a choice she’s made to be more inclusive, she said. Jeans are labeled with waist measurements; everything else includes the original tag sizing, although she noted most labels are nowadays outdated.

“Hannah’s shop is a great representation of the colorful and vibrant place that is Athens,” Republic of Athens Records owner Michael Wood said in an email. “We’ve been really appreciative of how Athens residents put their money where their mouths are in terms of supporting small local shops like us, and I’m sure Bleeding Heart will get a similar warm reception … We couldn’t think of a more perfect shop to share an entrance with!”

The boutique also features items from eight Ohio-based artisans, including seven from Athens; the eighth is from Cincinnati. Morgan said she is looking to showcase local artists through her business. 

Morgan said the community showed its support again at her late July grand opening, with longtime customers, friends and family coming to support and congratulate her. 

“I’ve been very surprised and grateful for the support,” she said. “From the beginning, people have been so supportive and excited.”

Bleeding Heart Boutique (@bleedingheartvtg) is open Wednesday through Saturday, from noon to 7 p.m.

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