It’s Friday night at 12:42 am. Okay, well actually it’s now Saturday but I’m wide awake in my living room typing this blog post because I can’t sleep. This actually happens to me more often that you would think. As tired as I am being a mom and an entrepreneur you would think I would just crash into bed at night. Nope, not the case. In fact, I find that most of my creative juices come to me late at night which is exactly what is happening right now.
I got home yesterday from Las Vegas. I was there for four days on a market trip at the largest retail market in the country. “Magic” as it is known draws retailers and wholesalers alike from all over the world, over 100,000 of us to be exact. (Thanks to my cab driver for that tidbit of info!) It consists of two large convention centers and lots and lots and lots of clothes. Yes, it is every bit of fun and exhilarating as it sounds, however, its more overwhelming than anything. There is so much to buy but that also makes the choices harder. You have to go into it with an idea of what you are looking for or you will get sucked and buy everything you simply like. You have to go in with a plan, i.e. what styles, designs, prints, and patterns you are looking for. And you also have to go into it looking to be inspired, to create, and curate. (P.S. I apologize if I over use that word, curate. I just really like it! It makes me feel like I am ACTUALLY creating something! It makes me feel “artsy” when in fact, I don’t think I have an artistic bone in my body unless it involves clothing. ) Walking into market I had a plan. It was simple. You ready for it? Here it goes… Buy what you like! Well, duh! Right? Why wouldn’t I? I just knew if I had to sell it, I had to like it. It had to translate for me. It was easy or at least it seemed that way.
Day 1 approached and my market partner, Jessie (she is amazing! Check here out here: ) and I loaded the shuttle to head over to the convention center. On the way, I was describing to her how the market worked, what she could do to help me make buying decisions and how I like to “shop” the market. We stepped off the bus and we were ready. Coffee in hand and cute outfits on, we walked straight in to the first booth on the right. It was Everly, one of my all time favorites. It was like walking into a clothing dream. The booth was beautiful, the displays were modeling the most gorgeous dresses with elaborate patterns and the buyers were packed in like sardines. As Jessie and I skimmed through the racks, we instantly fell in love with the entire collection. We loaded up our “must haves” on a rack in the center of the booth and went back through them to see what was a definite buy and what we could possibly pass up. And of course, across the way is Diana Harbour of Red Dress. If you don’t know her, she was on Shark Tank and got the bid from Mark Cuban. She is probably every boutique owner’s role model. I was totally “girl crushing” on her and possibly even drooling a bit. ( Real Talk, my dreams and goals for Ruthie Grace are to grow to that size. She did it and I believe I can too! Just need lots of prayers! ) We walked out of there with a hefty order and really excited! This was the first sign it was going to be a great market.
As the day continued, we walked in and out of booths. We discovered some great new vendors with awesome pieces. I found that I wasn’t buying as much from others as I had at Everly. And the longer the day continued, the more I felt like I was seeing the same styles over and over again. It was my quest to find new styles and new lines to keep Ruthie Grace unique, hip, and just a half step ahead of the curve. I began to feel almost frustrated like I was searching for something I couldn’t find. I’m sure exhaustion had something to do with it and overwhelm but I just couldn’t shake it. Jessie and I stopped for a lunch break to discuss the day so far. I thought maybe hunger had something to do with it. With a hot sandwich and tomato soup in front of me, I remember her asking me “well, what style are you looking for? What’s your target customer?” in hopes that this would help encourage me to keep pushing onward. And my answer was the same as it has always been. “Because I am located in an area where there are all ages and lifestyles, I dress girls who are 13 all the way up to women in their 60s. I help the high school girls buys dresses for mother/daughter teas and banquets. I help young professionals find great work attire. I help the stay at home mom find practical clothing for chasing kids and running errands. I dress the expecting mommy for her first baby shower. I help women find outfits for church. I help college girls find cute outfits for going out and dancing. I help women find something fun and flirty for their Caribbean vacation. I help women of all ages, of all styles, of all different backgrounds find what their daily lives need. I can’t confine myself to one look, one style, or one age group. As much as I would love to hone in on one group from a marketing stand point, I’m not going to. I am not going to leave anyone out.” That was that and we moved on but that conversation really resonated with me a lot throughout the rest of our trip. We ended of buying some phenomenal pieces. To say that I am excited about what’s coming is an UNDERSTATEMENT!
So let’s fast forward to today, right now, and why I can’t sleep. I’ve been thinking about all of you over the last few days and how I can create ONE look that helps all of you find what you are looking for. Today, I have come to the realization that it’s not possible. While that may sound negative, it’s not because it led me to this thought. The girl who loves graphic tees and converse may not be the girl who likes maxi dresses, and you know what, THAT’S OKAY! So, in order to make shopping easier I have decided we are now going to have COLLECTIONS! Yes, collections… well what do you mean? I mean separating out the clothes into specifically curated (see, there’s that word again!;) ) collections according to different looks so you can find exactly what you are looking for. That way if one day you need a cute raglan, you know where to find it. And then, when you have an upcoming party, you know where to find it! In the past, our new arrivals would and could consist of any style. When looking through the selections, you may only find ONE thing you liked or that you could see yourself wearing. Moving forward, your style will be grouped together so that you can shop for YOU! Let me give you an example of some ideas of have in my mind: Denim Days. All of our denim and jeans in one place with full descriptions of measurements, how to wear them and what shape they look good on. A “Not So Basic” collection with all of our pocket tees and easy to wear tops for a casual everyday look. I want to infuse these collections with my styling expertise and hopefully this will help you find what you need. However, in order for me to create these collections for YOU, I have to get to know you better. I can post pictures on Instagram and watch how many likes/comments it gets to see if it’s something you would like but that’s not what I need here. What I need is to hear your heart on who you are, what you like to wear, and what is your biggest struggle when buying clothes. I need you to tell me what stores you love to shop at, what bloggers you look to for inspiration, and what your “daily outfit” looks like. I could put a contest out there for just participating but I’m not. I want you to comment telling me what you would like to see solely because you know that by commenting you know that your voice will be heard. I want to see what you have to say and to simply get to know you more. It’s important to me! This store is more than just clothes. It’s a community. It’s a group of women with all different stories to tell. I want to embrace our difference but thrive off our common ground. I want you to be apart of our ever-evolving girl gang, the #regularruthies . Let’s take this next step together and build something that is grounded in great style, great people, and great love!
To give me feedback, please go to the blog post on our Instagram and Facebook page. On the picture, please list the following information
-favorite blogger or who you get style inspiration from
-favorite chain store you like to shop at
-what types of clothes you wear on a daily basis and WHY (i.e. mom, pregnant, working, or school)
-hardest obstacle when shopping for clothes
-tag a friend and ask them to do the same (the more the better!)
Thanks again for taking the time to read this blog post! Just knowing that you are on the other side of the screen reading my little story makes me smile. You are loved. Not only by me but by Him too! Don’t forget that!
P.S. hopefully now that I have typed out this blog I can sleep! HOPEFULLY!