SIX MN Shares Its Formula for Fashion

by | Feb 2024

Jill Zafke and Brionne Johnson

Jill Zafke and Brionne Johnson. Photos: Chris Emeott

Local women open their dream clothing boutique with curated styles.

In math, six is considered a perfect number. The same could be said for in fashion. Take, for example, the origin story of an upscale Excelsior boutique.

Every so often, two people meet and make an instant connection. Jill Zafke and Brionne Johnson experienced just that. From starting an e-commerce fashion business to now running a successful women’s boutique in Excelsior, these two women are truly a perfect match.

Jill Zafke and Brionne Johnson Modeling Clothes

“This was always a dream of mine,” Zafke says. “I knew I wanted a boutique since walking into one in Edina. I just kept thinking, ‘What am I waiting for? I want to do what I love!’ It’s a game changer for our family and our happiness.”

Johnson grew up in a family business and was familiar with the grind, making it absolutely critical to find the perfect person to be her business partner. When reflecting on her connection with Zafke, she says, “We had similar friends, went to the same gym … Life kept happening, and we kept running into each other.” With their friendship in bloom and their goals aligned, they started on the journey of opening their own business.

First up, a name: The women chose to focus on six core styles to elevate any wardrobe, including athleisure wear, denim, outerwear, sneakers, tanks and T-shirts. The number six comes into play again as Zafke and Johnson both have three children, who inspire them to incorporate their home lives into their business. (On occasion the kids can be found in the store after school, helping bag, fold and hang clothing or even playing DJ.) Add this all together, and you get SIX MN, their curated women’s boutique.

Next up, location: Starting as an e-commerce business allowed them to cast a wide net in terms of where to land and when to open a brick and mortar store. But with kids in the school district, family and friends nearby, it was a no brainer. “We knew we wanted to be downtown Excelsior, but trying to find a spot is virtually impossible. So, first it was about getting our name out there, and less than a year later, we have a permanent spot [in March 2023],” Zafke says.

Lastly, the inventory: While the six core styles guide decisions on stock, this team is very intentional about what it brings into the store. Johnson and Zafke travel a few times a year to market in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City to build relationships with brands. They personally trial run items to test how the pieces feel, wear and wash. They’re always on the hunt for effortless, chic, elevated and comfortable looks. Favorite lines include: MKYNZĒ, LNA, Boyish Denim, Commando, Frame Denim. The team strives to bring in brands unique to the area and beyond.

Traveling soon? The owners’ top items for travel are wrinkle-free Commando neoprene pants, irresistibly soft shirts, timeless cashmere sweaters and flattering travel separates.

For shoppers unsure about what to add to their existing wardrobe, SIX MN offers personalized styling to ensure the needs of each customer are met. “A lot of great clients want and need the [one-on-one] experience,” co-owner Brionne Johnson says.

432 Second St., Excelsior; 612.460.5960
Facebook: SIX Boutique
Instagram: @sixmn


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