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.
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.
1. So every girl needs a little man candy in her life, and we have stumbled upon the sweetest variety there is: Johannes Huebl. Unfamiliar? Perhaps you know his absolutely beautiful and stylish fashion icon of a wife, Olivia Palermo. Yeah. So a link we absolutely love is Johannes’s Instagram. Trust us when we say that giving this gorgeous man a follow will not be a mistake. If you like five o clock shadow, boating escapades, and fashionable men and women alike, you will screenshot every picture he instagrams and send it straight to your friend group’s GroupMe.
2. Love wearing yellow? Hate wearing yellow? Love the idea of wearing yellow but you aren’t exactly a golden goddess? Head over to Man Repeller and read this article that makes a case for embracing whatever pallor you represent and wearing yellow heedless of its (kind of) bad reputation. And if you love this yellow look, head over to Style.com to gawk at Fendi’s whole resort 2016 collection.
3. Health nuts unite in the name of zucchini pasta!! And now, I found an amazingly delicious garlic-lemon roasted tomato recipe that will leave you feeling satisfied and healthy when you’re done. Give it a try, and let us know how it goes!
4. Yesterday was full of surprises. I made it until noon without coffee and bought a vest I wanted for approximately 70 percent off. I think the biggest surprise, though, was learning that Tom Hanks starred in Carly Ray Jepson’s “I Really Like You” music video, and what an amazing surprise that was! The fact that Carly could get Tom Hanks to lip sync her whole entire song made me respect her in a way I never knew I could. From singing “Friday” to canoodling with Forrest Gump, I think I feel comfortable saying she has made some pretty huge strides in her career. Congrats Carly, and congrats Tom on a stellar performance.
Summer has been okay and all, but tbh I am more than ready for fall. The past couple of weeks I’ve noticed some of my fall pieces integrating themselves into my summer wardrobe, and their earth toned coloring and long comfy sleeves beckon at me longingly each morning. A few times I have even reached for items that have no place making an appearance in 100 degree weather… ever… like suede fringe jackets or leather pants. The second I check the weather app, I am shaken out of my revelry and left waiting for the weather to cool off, the leaves to change, and for my favorite black motorcycle boots to come back into commission.
Until then, I will just have to keep interspersing fall where I can, and what I’ve found is that booties make that completely doable. If you are like me and are dying to pull out your fall digs but are also vigorously complaining about the obscenely hot weather, may I suggest pairing booties with your jean shorts, dresses, and ripped denim? I promise it will make you feel a little closer to fall!
Denim, y’all. Can live with it. Can’t live without it. I want you to think about a life without denim. What would you wear? I think it is safe to say that I wear denim probably at least six times a week in one form or another, and its sheer versatility makes it something so worth loving. Whether you wear blue jeans or can’t help a good chambray, denim comes in every shape and size and is oftentimes the key to success in an outfit. I don’t know who decided that denim goes with everything, but I think we can all agree their contribution to society is a notable one. So for all of my denim loving friends, I have styled a couple of looks that are reliant on denim… holla!
Shibori, a form of resist dyeing, is a huge trend for the summer. From tanks to dresses, you can’t go wrong with this super laid back, super cool trend! It’s absolutely perfect for hot summer days, trips to the beach, or just hanging around. In fact, I actually prefer it to tie dye. Although the two are pretty similar, shibori just flat out looks cooler… at least in my opinion.
I know, I know. As far as mornings go, we usually think of Sunday as being the “easy” one. Reminiscing about Sunday mornings, I can practically hear the pitter patter of rain against my windowsill, feel the warmth of a big down duvet, and smell cinnamon rolls baking in the oven. When Lionel Richie described Sunday mornings as easy, he hit the nail on the head- when they’re good they are so good, and a Sunday morning spent easily is undeniably therapeutic. What do you do, though, when for some reason you don’t have the hours between 9AM and 2 PM free on your Sunday morning to be unapologetically lazy and eat a delightfully gooey cinnamon roll for each episode of Gossip Girl you watch?? What if you actually have…. obligations (gasp) to tend to?! That’s when you have to evaluate your life and check your Saturday itinerary. Saturdays, although usually reserved for outdoor activities, birthday dinners, shopping, mini road trips, farmer’s markets, etc., etc., in the right circumstances can assume a similar role as the famously “easy” Sunday morning. The fate of your Saturday morning lies in your hands, and with the right clothes… yes clothes… you can turn your Saturday morning, or any morning for that matter, into an Easy Sunday Morning.
Raise your hand if you have ever envied how comfortable every single garment made for babies is. Yeah, me too. Where is that super soft fabric when it comes to manufacturing clothing for adults? Although incredibly cozy garments are few and far between in my wardrobe, some of our new pieces are raising the bar when it comes to comfort standards, and it is these cardigans, jumpers, dresses, and tops that you are going to need to make every morning easy like Sunday morning.
Like the 4th of July! I absolutely love this holiday! What’s there not to love about celebrating our freedom while most likely sunning at the lake with great friends? We always grill out and blast fun music, it’s the best. The looks below are all completely America-loving and perfect for celebrating the occasion. I tried to pick a variety of looks to cover all of the bases for however you choose to celebrate!
For a day at the lake:
To be the belle of the BBQ:
You can’t forget the most festive accessories:
For a sassy dinner after a day of fun:
For when you get a little too much sun:
For an easy breezy relaxed look:
Which look is your favorite? I had to snag the scarf for myself, of course.
We’ve all been in this situation. You wake up, go to your closet and decide that whatever you’re going to wear today is going to be super cute and fabulous. After all, looking good can make it easier for you to get out of the door in the morning. But then you realize it’s summer; you’re going to be walking to class or sitting your car that’s sure to feel like the Arabian Desert for a few minutes. Even just walking from your house to the car can cause you to sweat like a large man. Then your mind goes from searching for something cute, to something to keep you cool. Jeans, pants, and everything even a little restrictive or form fitting is now out of the question. Now, the dilemma is finding something cute, comfortable, and cool, which sounds impossible. So, after being stuck in this situation everyday for the past two weeks, I’ve come up with a few options.
When attempting to stay cool (and sweat free), I like to go for light colors, loose styles, and breathable fabrics. Also, I don’t like things sticking to my legs, so I usually go for a skirt, dress, or looser shorts. How do you stay cool and cute?
Y’all! Our Sweet Southern Summer Lookbook is finally here, and trust me when I say it is absolutely beautiful. The vibrant colors and perfect summer patterns mix to create a really stunning aesthetic, and the carefully styled looks are ideal for any summer day in the south. Whether you live in the south and spend your summer lounging on the porch with sweet tea or not, you can shop all of these looks now and view the lookbook here: http://www.reddressboutique.com/lookbook/
Shop some of my favorite looks by clicking on the pictures below!