Mon, June 24, 2024

Art shop move makes way for intimate apparel boutique

When Art on Broad moved a few doors down, Ashley Gardner opened shop in their former location at 1028 Broad Street in Augusta on May 25th. Her new venture, Serpent & Sage features lingerie, underwear, and other items.

In the 18th century, women’s undergarments were referred to as “unmentionables.”

A partially clothed woman was seen as more erotic than a nude woman. Between the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and Victoria’s Secret fashion show, not to mention successful movie franchises like Fifty Shades of Grey, the description now seems de rigueur.

Gardner, owner of Serpent & Sage, started as a family photographer. It was a great flexible business for a stay-at-home mom. She eventually evolved into boudoir photography.

Nicki Davis, manager, and Ashley Gardner, owner, of Serpent & Sage

“I loved the art of it and creativity. It focuses on self-importance. It’s about viewing yourself in a different way, especially in today’s body shaming world or working with women who are cancer survivors and have undergone a mastectomy,” said Gardner.

It’s a message that resonates with Gardner because her own mom passed away from cancer when Ashley was 21 years old.

“I would like to think she would be proud of me and that I have inspired my kids as they watched me build two businesses.”

Gardner and her family moved from California to Augusta in 2018 “where the cost of living is more affordable.” Her husband works at Ft. Eisenhower. Ashley has continued to build her photography business through networking.

“Working with so many women, it became clear they were having a challenge finding lingerie that fit properly for any size or shape.”

Boudoir photography and the sale of lingerie are a natural fit. Both businesses are forecast to continue growing. According to lingerie market research, sales are expected to reach almost 95 billion this year and 143 million by 2029. Likewise, the Professional Photographers of America reports specialty photographers, which include Boudoir photographers, have the potential to earn 60% more than general portrait photographers.

The reception for Serpent & Sage has been positive with customers ranging from women to couples and men looking for gifts. If you’re a Bride-to-Be, there is a special section featuring lingerie, underwear, and jewelry.

Gardner is working on a website for the shop which will include online ordering. Store hours are Tuesday through Thursday, 12 – 6:00 pm, and Friday and Saturday, 11:00 am until 7:00 pm. You can follow them on Facebook here.

Editor’s Note:
Mitzi Oxford is a veteran broadcaster and features writer who also worked at the same television station in Columbus, Georgia as Augusta’s Brad Means! If you have a South Carolina story idea for Mitzi, please email her at

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