My first year in business

Ann, can you believe that last week was the first anniversary of the day I opened the doors to Julia Farr?

I am amazed.  It has been fascinating and fulfilling learning the business of fashion, meeting and clothing many fabulous women and adjusting to the life of an entrepreneur. The one year mark had me looking back to the beginning of it all – the epiphany and decision, developing the concept, my first buying experience and the store design/build-out, all leading up to the opening of the doors.  Then the year began.  I thought I’d give you a few of the highlights of my year and share with you a few photos of some memorable moments.

The Genesis of Julia Farr:  Summer 2009. You know the background: a lifetime love of fashion, a career in law and three growing-up-too-quickly, adorable children.   When I began to actually consider living my dream of owning a small boutique where my children could come and go and I could do exactly what I love to do (inspired by Wayne Dyer’s book, Excuses Begone!), I started sketching the idea out on paper and speaking with a few confidantes — whom I sincerely hoped would not laugh.  Somewhere during this incubation period, it hit me at once. The vision of the boutique itself and the concept of the business struck me like lightning. I saw it all.  With no reservations, I moved ahead and began to create Julia Farr.

My concept: A boutique focused on the intimate experience of building a wardrobe in a zen-like and fun environment– with consultation and personal service at its core.

The Logo: Fall 2009/Winter 2010. The first expression of the business was developing the logo. Over a several month period, I worked with graphic designer, Wendy Peacock. We began with various silhouettes with soft curves, but she looked like a bowling pin or a really busty gal.  I realized the figure needed a neck and better lines, so Wendy took my idea of a universal female form and created the angular figure with the silver “JF” initialed belt cutting across the middle.

The Business Plan and Website:  Ann, you know this part of the story!  Naturally, you were one of the very first people with whom I shared my idea.  You immediately asked how you and Tyler could help.  What I soon found out was that you actually meant it and before long, through your gift of writing and Tyler’s entrepreneurial expertise, I had a business plan and a stunning website. I will always be grateful to you both for such a gift.

First time at market:  February 2010.  My sister/marketing director, Mary Joyce, and I went to New York to find the fundamental essentials of a woman’s wardrobe to bring back to DC.  We spent three days buying with back-to-back appointments with Kara Ross, Milly, Tibi, Susana Monaco, Halston Heritage, White + Warren and several others who welcomed us into the retail world.  It was thrilling and overwhelming. I bought more black pants than I will ever know what to do with.

Boutique Development:  I wanted to create a space that was a cross between a Parisian apartment and a spa using the colors of the beach. Cindy McClure of Grossmueller’s Design Consultants, keying off my concept, created my boutique. It is exactly how I envisioned it, yet surpassed all my expectations.

July 21st, 2010: In DC’s sweltering heat, I opened my doors with a lot of heavy, dark Fall clothes displayed.   My very first customer, Mark Grannis, arrived at 8:30 am to find something for his wonderful wife, Sarah.

I’ll let the photos tell the story of the rest of the year.  There were great gatherings, racks of clothes and simply spectacular new friends all wearing the designs that we found during our first time at market.  I’ve learned some things about DC’s chic women that I’ll share on another post, but for now, I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

Mike Wilbon, Julia, and Alonzo Mourning at Christmas Men’s Night
The community of excessive talent who built Julia Farr:
Tyler Prochnow: Think Big Partners, business plan, website, and invaluable advisor
Ann Prochnow, freelance writer and co-author of You Look Pretty, website author
Blake Miller: website designer
Felix Alonso: Vogue by Alonso, designer for 2010-11 private label collection
Dana Rice: SistersMedia, creator of the bags, boxes and bows and in-house photographer
Elizabeth Thorp: EDT Communications and Poshbrood, public relations specialist, launched the business into the DC stratosphere
George Peacock: Euclid Investments,  CFO, daily operations
Wendy Peacock: graphic designer, created logo
Harry Farr: Farr & Co., outstanding landlord, daily business and marketing advisor
Cindy McClure: Grossmueller’s Design Consultants, boutique design
Mike Johnson: Art Design Build, boutique construction
And the women of Julia Farr:
Mary Joyce Colwell: marketing, press, trunk shows, the heart and soul of the business
Janie Haynes: boutique operations, social media, marketing and absolutely everything else
Kelly Croglio: who opened the doors with me and spent 6 months building the business with her incredible fashion sense and radiant personality. Now part of the LivingSocial team in Richmond
Amelie Colwell: first employee, boutique sales and support
Melissa Parker: boutique sales and support
Andrea Narrow: boutique sales and support
Amy Boyce: merchandizing, JF model and inspiration
Caroline Scullin: merchandizing,  boutique sales and Saturday support
Cecilia Connolly: Saturday boutique sales and support
Joyce Connolly: Trunk show support
Stephanie Lennon: window displays, merchandizing, ambassador, JF model
Laurie Farr: window displays, ambassador, JF model
Joyce Farr:  ambassador, JF model, mother and grandmother who raised my three while I built the business with everyone above

And all my wonderful friends who supported the business from the very beginning!


1 Comment

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One response to “My first year in business

  1. kelly

    congratulations to a wonderful, successful year! so lucky to have been a part of it!

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