I know, that’s not what you would expect to hear from the owner of a large online retailer, but Red Dress Boutique isn’t just any retailer. So I’m asking something of you, consider it a favor; just hear me out—it’s that important to me.
Don’t shop today.
So many holidays are marketed as ‘occasions to spend with family’—to make memories, to enjoy time together, to be grateful—but out of the same mouth we hear the whispered temptations of, “Thanksgiving Sale,” and “50% Off,” or “Shop Today for Special Deals!” I look at the ads, the emails, the commercials, and wonder what other people think when they hear these conflicting messages. I’ve been on both sides of the fence, and because I’ve irreparably lost something that you may still have, I need to say this before it’s too late for you.
Don’t shop today. Please. Not one sale. We’re a family company, through and through. And while we love each other as we are now, there’s a distinct absence this morning. I feel it in the air, in my bones, in my heart. And I promise that if you don’t take time right now to hug and pay attention to those loved ones, you may not get the chance to next year. I’m not trying to be morbid, just blunt, because it’s that dire a message. I wish I could take every one of you by the shoulders, and shake you, tell you to wake up and enjoy these moments while they’re here because you’re on a ticking clock and likely don’t realize it.
Don’t shop today.
While your dad is hovering in the kitchen, poking and prodding the turkey and grumbling about how ravenous he is, go join him. Steal bits of food and revel in those pilfered bites, with your partner in crime, like they’re the best bites you’ve ever taken. They might very well be.
Don’t shop today.
Sit with your grandmother and look her into the eyes and really, truly listen as she talks about the way things used to be. Take a moment to appreciate the vast quantities of cookies, pies and cakes that materialized from that wonderful woman’s arms—smell them, taste them, remember what they looked like. They’re beautiful, so is she, and this could be your last opportunity to actually thank her, through your attention to her, for all of her efforts. She has incredible things to tell you, if you’ll just put your phone down and hear them.
Don’t shop today.
Help your mom in the kitchen as she cooks enough food for an army of fifty, slaving away like it’s the last meal any of you will ever eat. Maybe somewhere deep down all mothers know how little time we have on this earth. Perhaps that’s where part of this message is stemming from. Not just the things I have lost, but my son … the brave, precocious little thing who, even as I type this, is dragging out all of his toys so they can have Thanksgiving with us. New souls, and old souls seem to have that in common—the keen understanding of what matters and what doesn’t. Granted, for my five year old, it’s not all the time (try telling him he can’t have cookies after dinner, and my theory is instantly debunked). But every now and then, during moments like this one, he has that sense of knowing … that deep understanding of how absurd it is to do anything other than pay attention to those who are right in front of you.
Don’t shop today.
Help your little one do whatever it is they’re doing that is the most important thing in the world to them right now. Doesn’t matter what it is, or what it’s taking the place of. Your hair can go uncurled, your outfit doesn’t have to be perfect. Again, not what you’d expect from a women’s clothing boutique. But guess what? If I don’t tell you, who will? Who is going to beg you to enjoy this day for the unbelievable blessing that it is? Why am I? Because my daddy, and my grandmother aren’t here anymore. The poking and prodding is left to friends or other family members, the grumbling about the good old days is left to me, and there’s that absence that I mentioned earlier. Because although I have never shopped on Thanksgiving day, I’ve always treasured it for the miracle that it is. And now, that miracle is a little different, and I’m compelled to plead my case for your sake, and hope it’s well received.
So don’t shop today.
And take a lesson from me. Spend today being thankful. Spend TOMORROW shopping.
Love, Diana (Mrs. Red Dress Boutique)
You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing and falling over.”
– Richard Branson
Can we all say intense? That is certainly how it felt watching our episode of Beyond the Tank last night on ABC. Mark and I were on Cyberdust the entire time (twitter too) going back and forth with:
M: “Are you ok?”
Me: “I’m ok. This is stressful. I want to tell them all the truth.”
M: “We will. How are sales?”
Me: Site is down. We went 20K over anticipated traffic! It should be back up soon.”
M: “Drink a glass of wine and relax. It will all be fine.”
And you know what? It was. Our site came back up after 15 minutes and stayed up the rest of the night. As opposed to our first appearance on Shark Tank when our site was down for about 18 hours. And do you know why?
Because we listened to Mark.
That’s right. The site we have now is the same platform (Magento) we have had for 5 years. What changed? The pretty pages. We made our images bigger, focused on a new home page and let an amazing tech team dig into the code and fix some of our biggest issues. Other than last night, the last time our site crashed was early March. And the “Shark Tank effect” can take down even the most prepared of sites with it’s initial surge.
We did go on Shark Tank to get a new website platform. The reason being is because we had never had a support team for our platform that could figure out why we had such bad issues with stability. And it was a really tough decision for us for a number of reasons. We knew our customers were frustrated with our current site, the company we were looking at to build this new site was going to charge upwards of 400K for platform and design of a new site (insert nausea at that amount of money here) and in five years we had never found a tech team that could fix the issues we were having.
But we found that team and through their hard work and Mark’s advice we realized he was right. We could fix what we have, give it a face-lift and focus on some really important aspects of the business that we had not had time to focus on in depth before: analytics and a killer advertising strategy.
The meeting in Dallas with Mark took place in late February. During that meeting (which was over an hour) we strategized on where Red Dress Boutique would go next, goals for the year and talked about opening more stores! Was it tough to hear that Mark opposed our vision for a new site? Yes. But tough love is a part of life and learning and we left with a lot to think about and some new goals. Mark is a GREAT investor and an awesome mentor. But what’s great about him is like a great mentor, he guides us with great advice but he lets us make the final decision. And with any big decision for a business you know it could lead to success or it could lead to failure. And after that meeting my gut told me what we have could be fixed and we could find a more useful way to spend our investment.
So what have we been doing since our filming of Beyond the Tank?
Being an entrepreneur is an eyes open to eyes closed job. We did a minor redesign of our site. We added some customer service features such as Live Chat, Amazon Payments (no more running for that credit card ladies) and through heat mapping we figured out where our customers were going on our site and how to drive them to other areas. We have spent the last four weeks with Mark and his team focusing on analytics, customer acquisition costs (how much it cost us to acquire one customer) and advertising.
Working with Mark and his team has been wonderful. And what you saw last night was a glimpse into some very real and very tough reality of being a business owner. Do business owners always agree with their investors? No! But what we do is listen to each other and find a common ground that is good for the business.
What’s next for Red Dress Boutique?
We will continue to do what we do best: providing our customers with affordable fashion that is the new, next and now, focusing less on a new website and more on new ways to connect with our customers. We are a company that LOVES to engage with our customers. Chat with us on FACEBOOK, hang out with us on Instagram & Snap chat (Shopreddress) or start up a conversation with us on Twitter!
And we are going to spend our time focusing on better ways to be who we are and who we have always been: a company loyal to it’s fiercely loyal customers. Because honestly, at the end of the day, it’s not about us. It’s about you. That’s kind of the whole point. We LOVE fashion, but we wouldn’t be anything without the women who make up our demographics. Our shoppers ARE our existence. We don’t *do* customer service. We are genuinely grateful, individually and collectively, for your business. We write, by hand, those little cards you get with each purchase for a reason.
At The Red Dress Boutique, we don’t base our business model around fluffy ideals or smarmy slogans. We know you. You have learned to love yourself through trial and error, and you teach that confidence to others simply by walking the walk. You love fashion, affordability, laughing with your friends, and your life. You don’t dress well only to impress others—you dress well for the thrill of it! You don’t need kitschy sentimentality to click with the right boutique, but you’ll smile when you see yourself in the description of a new dress online (that called your name the moment you saw it). You’re just good like that. You’re humble, but you know you’re made of awesome. You’re tenderhearted, but a ferocious protector of those in your inner circle. You’re graceful, smart, and industrious. You are not a mere customer. You are a Red Dress Woman. You are our constant inspiration. And we will keep learning and growing for you.
Diana Harbour, CEO
The Red Dress Boutique
WHO: Red Dress Boutique and Hope Haven
WHAT: Threads of Hope Fashion Show + our first ever Pop Up Store
WHEN: August 27th, 6:30pm
WHERE: Athens Country Club
We are so excited to announce our 2015 Threads of Hope Fashion Show benefiting Hope Haven! It will be on August 27th at 6:30pm at the Athens Country Club. There will be a preview of our gorgeous fall line and our FIRST ever pop up store!
About Hope Haven: Hope Haven is a private nonprofit corporation that provides services for individuals with disabilities who live in Athens-Clarke County and surrounding counties.
Hope Haven believes in the uniqueness, worth, dignity, and right to self-determination of every individual. We strive to prepare, empower, and support individuals with developmental disabilities and their families to participate fully in the community.
Individuals who receive services from Hope Haven should expect to gain opportunities for increased community participation. We strongly believe that individuals have the right to direct their service design and delivery, and as such, each individual is involved in developing their own Individualized Service Plan, which identifies goals specific to their own strengths, abilities, preferences, and desired outcomes. Therefore, results and outcomes of services will vary according to each individual’s preferences and desires. Services available are outlined in our brochure, handbooks, and website. In addition, Hope Haven’s social worker is available to provide further information and consultation regarding services availability, including any possible wait times that may occur as a result of the intake process and staffing considerations, as well as organizational certifications, such as CARF accreditation and DCH licensure for Community Living Arrangements and Private Home Care Provider services.
See you there!
Red Dress Boutique
Whether you’re updating or just starting your work wear wardrobe, we’ve got you covered! We have tons of cute dresses, skirts, dress tops, and heels to make you the best dressed at the office. Here are just a couple of my favorites!Dress I Heels I Clutch
Blouse I Skirt I Heels
Blouse I Skirt I Heels
Red Dress Boutique
After my seemingly endless college career, I can officially say I’m an expert in something. No, I wouldn’t say I’m an expert in my major or some other academic skill/subject. I’ve become an expert in packing for the weekend. Whether you’re packing for a weekend at home, the mountains, or any other trip out of town, I’m here to share my expertise with you guys. It can be stressful planning for a weekend where you need several outfits for who knows what. Often times, we all wait until the last minute to throw stuff in a bag, and you definitely don’t want to lug around a giant rolling suitcase filled with random articles of clothing that just complicate your life later. So, here are some tips for packing quickly and lightly…
1.) Always consider the weather. There’s a huge difference in what you want to wear, and what is practical. Sure it may be cooling off a bit wherever you are, and sure, you may be super excited to wear your new scarf or flare jeans, but if you’re going to a place where it’s significantly warmer, pack something you will be comfortable in.
2.) Be well rounded. I’ve been in several situations where I thought I would just be hanging around my parent’s house, so I just packed gym clothes. I’ve also been in a situation where I brought all really cute outfits, but nothing to relax in. Make sure you have something for going out, as well as more comfortable clothes for hanging around or driving back.
3.) Stick to what you know. Trips aren’t a great time for trying new things. Yea, you may want to look cute or a little extra special for whatever you’re doing, but if you want to pack something you’ve never worn, try it on and figure out how to wear it and what to wear it with. In the past, I’ve packed new things only to realize it was a complete waste of space.
4.) Be versatile. Pack things like jeans that you can wear with multiple pieces for various occasions. Accessories (just a couple) are great for changing up your look too.
Do you have any tips to add to the list?
Red Dress Boutique
You can never go wrong with a comfy t-shirt and a great pair of jeans or denim shorts. I know what you’re thinking…t-shirts can be boring. However, after cleaning out my closet and then realizing I had no money to buy new clothes, I’ve found that there are so many things you can do with a solid shirt. You can dress them up, dress them down, wear them around the house, or on a date. Here are a couple of amazing outfits featuring comfy casual tops and denim!
Blouse I Poncho I Jeans I Booties
Blouse I Shorts I Bag I Sandals
Blouse I Jeans I Necklace I Heels
Red Dress Boutique
Even though it’s still 90 degrees here in Georgia, it’s time to start thinking about your fall wardrobe. Right now, you want to focus on things that can be worn now, but can easily be layered when it starts to cool off a bit. Here’s a list of pieces to make the transition as seamless as possible.
1.) Toned Down Dresses- neutrals are always a go to for fall, and since they are usually worn with bare legs, it’s great for summer! For cooler days, pair with tights or boot socks, and some cute booties or boots.
2.) Flare Jeans- These are great to wear with cute tanks for now, and sweaters for later! Plus, they look great with wedges or heeled booties.
3.) A Go-To Sweater- I usually carry a sweater with me year round because I get cold indoors very easily. They’re layer friendly and great to throw on over dresses, tanks, long sleeved shirts, and just about anything else.
4.) Necklaces to change up your look- I only have a few sweaters since a.) I live in GA and b.) they’re more expensive, so longer necklaces are a great way to bring new life to an old sweater!
5.) Booties- I also wear these pretty much year round. I think they look great with just about everything, shorts, dresses, skinny jeans…the list could go on.
1 I 2 I 3 I 4 I 5
Red Dress Boutique
Burt’s wallet holds the answers to why you’re not losing fat. Who is Burt? What’s his wallet got to do with weight loss? Read on to find the answers and discover three reasons you’re not losing fat.
My sister-in-law Natalie (an avid Red Dress shopper!) has become quite the endurance athlete, tackling 11 half marathons and a number of triathlons in only 11 months! This past weekend she had a competition close to Athens, so she and her husband Burt came to stay with me and Ally. We had a great time catching up, laughing, fishing, eating, and laughing some more.
Sunday morning, after her triathlon, they buzzed me to say that Burt had left his wallet at our house. About an hour later, we had searched the house, the garage, their bags, and were thiiis close to calling the competition venue to see if a wallet had been turned in. Then . . . Natalie suddenly shouts out – “Burt! It’s in the glove compartment!”
In the glove compartment? The whole time?
Looking back, I think we went a little crazy. We looked everywhere, even in places that made no sense. “Wait! Did you check the roof? It might be up there! Somebody get the ladder.” Ok, it wasn’t that bad, but in our desperation, no place was off limits.
Often, when we’re not making progress with our body – not dropping inches, not losing fat, very little weight loss – we do the exact same thing. We try to find the answer everywhere. We search online and read magazines and snippets of books. Maybe it’s gluten! Maybe I’m not eating right for my blood type! Maybe my metabolism is better when I have more cheat meals!
We look everywhere and try everything . . . except the glove compartment. Because, after all, that would just be too easy, right? Here are three things you just might find in your glove compartment that will help you start losing fat again.
1) You lie to yourself.
Allow me to clarify – you’re not eating nearly as good as you think/pretend you are. I see this all the time when coaching clients. “I eat really good. I just don’t know why I can’t lose weight.” Once we dig a little deeper . . . surprise, surprise, their nutrition is not nearly as good as they thought. Believe it or not, actual research backs this up, showing that we boldfaced lie to ourselves (and others) when reporting how we eat. Scientists discovered that, across the board, we overestimate our veggie intake and underestimate our fat and sugar intake.
So, even if you have a great eating plan, there’s a good chance your adherence is lacking. What’s the solution? You’ve got a couple options. Option one, take 3 to 5 days and track everything you eat and drink. Don’t guess, actually weigh and measure stuff. Then see if it matches up with what you should be doing. My guess is you’ll find that you’re currently doing the Frankenstein diet – a combination of what you should do and what the spoiled food-brat inside of you wants to do.
Option two, hire a qualified nutrition coach. Yes, I provide this service, but if you don’t like me, that’s fine – just find someone else. You will be amazed at the incredible insights and results you achieve when working with an awesome coach! A great coach will pat you on the back, take your hand, and guide you through the process that has always seemed so scary, unsure, and intimidating.
To discover the two other things keeping you from losing that muffin-top and all sorts of other fantasmo blog stuff, check out my blog here.
Who said florals are just for summer & spring?
Not me. Especially with all these amazing florals in a more neutral and darker palette. My personal favorite is the Pining Away Dress in Black. Spring is my favorite season, but Fall is giving it a run for its money with all these amazing new pieces. Plus, all these options are layer friendly. A little too chilly for a sleeveless dress? No problem, just add a cardigan, some boot socks or tights, and a great pair of booties!
Outfit 1, Outfit 2, Outfit 3, Outfit 4
Which is your favorite?
Red Dress Boutique
We are extremely excited to be collaborating with all of the talented designers that we are for our new home decor line, but we’re especially honored to announce our collaboration with The Blush Label! Owners and designer sisters Christie and Mary are what we like to refer to as soul sistas! We share the same love for colorful closets and lively homes.
Their designs are inspired by their mutual adoration of the beach, their father’s Puerto Rican heritage, and their own unique personal styles. They grew up around the art of sewing as their mother was a long-time seamstress. We are so thankful that all of these experiences have allowed them to bring their undeniable talents to life.
Even more important than the jaw-dropping design, Blush Label products are made in the United States and with the utmost quality. We can’t wait to snag some of their cocktail hour worthy pieces for our own homes immediately!
SHOP THE BLUSH LABEL COLLECTION HERE!