I hope you’ve had a spectacular time in Italy – can’t wait to see the photos next week. In DC, amidst trunk shows and trips to the beach, I’ve been celebrating four years since I opened my doors to JULIA FARR boutique on July 21, 201o. Every year I write you about this anniversary because as every small business person knows, each year is a milestone in progress. Making a hard right turn from the practice of law to apparel retail and the business of fashion, I have experienced complete on the job training that Retail For Dummies couldn’t begin to teach me (although I tried). What I didn’t know was a lot and what I’ve learned is a ton. Everyday I open the door to my store – greeted by gowns, cashmere wraps, sheath dresses and leather handbags — knowing my mission but never knowing how the day will unfold. Here are a few not-so-serious but valuable observations I’ve made through the years by consulting with the women who frequent my shop finding the perfect piece (or two or three or four) for just the right occasion:
1) Most women like their arms covered. Even the 30 year olds. Most dresses have no sleeves. See the issue here?
2). Women don’t shop on rainy days. But they will shop during ice storms and sometimes heavy snow.
3). Many women aren’t fond of their knees.
4). Most of my clients say they have too many black dresses. Most designers lead each season with black dresses. This makes my head hurt.
5). Fall is the most exciting season for fashion as seen in all the magazines – especially my favorite – the September issue of Vogue, HOWEVER, women shop more in the Spring because the sun comes out then and everyone is much happier.
6). Many Washington women like to find the perfect dress for their event minutes before the event starts. During the weekend of the 2013 Inaugural Ball, MANY women came to the store and bought their gowns between 4-7 pm the day before the Ball. We did alterations through the night and had them ready for pickup at noon the day of. True story.
7). Washington women are smart, sophisticated and funny and love to share their thoughts on my business. This is helpful – really.
8). The clothing and accessories come and go but meeting, getting to know and working with the women who walk through my door is above and beyond the most valuable part of my daily experience.
There are many more things to share along the way, Ann, but for now I am nothing but grateful to be opening the door to my store every morning to see what the day brings my way. Four Years and absolutely counting….