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Ronan boutique carries classy, quirky clothing and jewelry

by BERL TISKUS
Reporter | May 9, 2024 12:00 AM

The Jaded Pony Boutique’s wares are a lot cowgirl and a bit sass, sparkle, and snark. Anything but cluttered, the Jaded Pony mirrors the style and personality of Kelly Jo Nagle, who owns the business with her husband, Dusty.  

“It started because people like my style,” she said. “To be honest, I don’t have style, I just throw on big earrings and that’s it.” (Not true, by the way.)

“I wanted to call it the Painted Pony because I have a paint 

horse, but that name was already taken so I came up with Jaded Pony, from when I used to work in law enforcement,” Nagle explained. 

The Jaded Pony in question is the Nagles’ sorrel mini horse, who wears costumes occasionally, once even sporting a pair of pants.

The idea for the business began in 2021, when they were going to just “put some fun stuff online,” Kelly Jo said.

In addition to the online storefront, Kelly Jo shared space with a young man selling Native jewelry in the old Biscuit Cafe building in Arlee, from May until August, when another business offered to pay the building owner more money for the space.

In limbo, the Jaded Pony was invited to relocate to Missoula’s downtown, but Kelly Jo said, “It wasn’t our vibe.” So they looked for a shop space in Ronan.

The Pony’s current home had been vacant for 15 years. The owners asked Kelly Jo and Dusty what they’d like in the way of colors and floors, and the Jaded Pony opened on July 1, 2023, at 317 Main Street W. in Ronan. 

It’s a place where people like to hang out, with fun jewelry, pops of color from wild rags, sassy shirts, unique booties, racks of jeans, and a flat hat or two. There are only two hard and fast rules in the Jaded Pony: don’t gossip, and don’t talk bad about yourself when you’re trying on clothes.

Their best sellers are their shirts, 90 percent of which Kelly Jo and daughter Tawnie make themselves.They craft small batches, only about 6-10 of each design.

“My daughter’s very picky, and she was disappointed in the stuff we were getting,” Kelly Jo said. “We can make a better shirt, better quality, and make it cheaper.” 

The shop has a fresh boutique feel – cute shirts but not a dozen of the same style and color, a couple of pairs of kid-sized chaps  decorating a wall, purchases done up in hot pink tissue paper and a festive bag, an antique washstand displaying handmade soap and candles, and a few summer dresses paired with a lake blue hat. 

“Costwise, we keep our local audience in mind. If we stock $300 boots, they’ll just sit on the shelf,” Nagle said. Plus she and Tawnie like making people feel better about themselves without spending a ton of money.

“We just try to remember who our audience is,” she added. “Some of the things might be a little snarky; a little different from what they’re used to, but they kinda like it.”

Also Kelly Jo is a big proponent of small businesses and uses social media to promote her shop and those of her neighbors’. For instance, she  posted on a recent Saturday morning that the Jaded Pony, Jack the Barber and the Mission Valley Popcorn  Kitchen were all open. A customer called and said she was headed to the Popcorn Kitchen because she didn’t know about it. 

Another small business collaboration was a scavenger Easter egg hunt put on by the Jaded Pony, Sweetcakes and the Mission Valley Popcorn Kitchen in Ronan, the Coffee Corral in Charo and the 44 Bar north St. Ignatius. 

“Ronan has a lot of potential,” she said, and she wants all the local small businesses to survive and thrive. 

A display of sparkly bracelets, fun earrings, and other jewelry greets customers as they come in the door. (Berl Tiskus/Leader)
Summer items are starting to appear at the Jaded Pony Boutique in Ronan. (Berl Tiskus/Leader)