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Three Years of Stripes: Learnings and a stripedshirt Sale

24 Nov

garnet and gold stripes for FSU This week marks the official 3 year anniversary of stripedshirt (3 years since we started selling shirts).  What a wild ride!  Learning so many brand new things, about the apparel and fashion business, and etail and building ecommerce websites.  Going from concept to actual shirts in 6 months was a blur!  Lightening fast, so much learned and done from design to pattern and sample making, grading, sourcing, color testing, thread count, fabric manufacturing, shirt production ….. all in the blink of an eye in the fashion world.

The 3 years since has been a bit of a slow trudge of selling shirts and putting blood, sweat and tears into trying to get stripedshirt into the mainstream.  I still love and believe in the business, but boy, “if you build it, they will not necessarily come!”

You gotta work hard to build your brand, and turn awareness and interest, into sales.   And you need a lot of good timing and luck.  The fashion business is hard.  And fickle.  And expensive.  Even great response and interest and feedback, including beautiful photo spreads styling stripedshirts by prominent fashion and lifestyle bloggers, only gets you great search results in Google and a nice fan base on Twitter.

And after doing PR for countless brands and companies in my 20+ years in the PR business, I now also know personally what I’ve counseled many on:  PR does not translate directly into sales.  It is air cover for sales, it creates awareness that makes the selling process easier and faster.  But you still gotta sell, sell, sell!

After 3 years of hustling, I also believe in apparel, its not just selling a fun, unique product people like that is priced well, has periodic discounts and sales, is easy and fast to purchase with fast delivery.  In fashion, there also needs to be that magic moment, that tipping point.

We haven’t had ours yet.  If only Taylor Swift would make stripedshirts just one of her many stripes!  Or Louis Tomlinson would go back to wearing stripes. :)  Or Where’s Waldo would become a cool everyday look more than just Halloween.

I won’t give up, I’ll keep plugging and will not be discouraged by the reality that stripedshirt is a fashion brand, which is all about timing and trend.  Hoping for my own tipping point in year four!   Wish me luck and thank you to all who have supported stripedshirt so far!

To show my thanks for the support over the years, please use the code 3YEARS at check out for 25% all orders from now through Saturday Dec 7.

Taylor Swift in red and white stripes

These are a few of my favorite (Trader Joe’s) things!

30 Sep

With the Austin Trader Joe’s now open for 10 happy days, at the request of a friend,  here is a list of my TJ favorites (keeping in mind, I’m an East Coast girl, and long time TJ’s lover and devotee, as in as long as to remember when the 2 Buck Chuck was really 2 bucks!)

These are the things I seek out and many of which I used to binge eat or purchase and transport on my trips to cities with TJs. Now, I can get them in my own hometown!  BLISS!  Try em and see what you think:

Pound Plus bittersweet chocolate bar with almonds.  A square of this is how I start every morning.  I’m serious.  Like a coffee or cigarette addict, this Mama is the walking wounded til one square of this amazement is in my body.  And now I don’t have to hoard or ration as much.

Savory Thin Mini Crackers.  They have bigger sized too but I love these mini guys, dipped in hummus, bean dip, Greek yogurt dip (more on these below).  These are rice and sesame based, so ideally gluten free and ideally not so bad for you.  And they are a wayyy cheaper replacement to the Blue Diamond Almond Nut Thins I got hooked on.

The rest of the items won’t get as many call outs, superlatives.  These two are just very close to my heart!

  • Any of TJ’s hummus
  • Especially the White Bean hummus
  • Mediterranean Greek Yogurt Dip
  • Any prepared salads, esp. Vegetable and Grain Country Salad
  • Wasabi Peas
  • Blue corn tortilla chips
  • Veggie sticks potato snacks
  • Sea Salt Butterscotch caramels
  • Speculoos cookies – SOOOO good, and addictive
  • Any trail mix, I esp love the Tempting one with nuts, raisins, chocolate chips AND peanut butter chips
  • I haven’t done as much of the frozen foods as I will be now, too hard to transport on a plane back to TX from CA or Mass.  But I love those I’ve had:  Channa Masala, Chicken Tikka Masala, Aloo Chaat.

If you want to know a little history, the company started in 1967 with a store in Pasadena, CA, still there today.  They started pushing their re-usable bags in 1977 – very early recyclers!  They didn’t expand out of CA until 1993, and the first East Coast store was opened in 1997, in Boston, in Brookline, where a certain ME shopped!

If you haven’t yet, check out TJ’s website, http://www.traderjoes.com/, its pretty funny and unique with a lot more product recs than mine.  This is just a cool company I love.  They don’t put a lot of money into advertising or marketing, or fliers.  Its mostly all word of mouth from zealots like me!   Now, if I could just get them to shift from the iconic Hawaiian shirt (started in 1968) to stripedshirts…..

Get thee to our Trader Joe’s, fellow ATXers, it’s worth the trip!

 

My Baby is Five, and I’m Back Alive

9 Aug

My youngest turns 5 a week from today which set me to thinking – not about her, but about ME.  You see, I’m realizing right as she’s turning five, that I’ve finally gotten back to a decent place.  Not amazing. I mean amazing is rarely possible for any Mom, or any living human being, right?  But decent.  Less insane.  Most always happy.   Sometimes even balanced.  Sometimes even amazing!

Five years later, I’ve gotten back to a decent place for both my mind and my body.  And I wondered if I’m not so alone, if this is actually fairly normal: that it takes years – sometimes half a decade!!! – after you finish your “birthing of babies” – to get yourself back.

For my mind, this is a really recent thing, as in over this Summer.  I joked with people, but I wasn’t joking, that since my youngest was born, August 2008, I’d read exactly one book.  Blink.  By Malcolm Gladwell.  Because it was really short.  Truth.

But I had a goal this summer to get back to reading.  I started slow, literally reading my 8 year old’s books, first Waiting for the Magic (darling), then Wonder (hugely moving).  Then I moved on to one that had been collecting dust on my nightstand for years – Memory Keeper’s Daughter.  Good, but so depressing it kind of ticked me off I picked it to get me back in the reading game.  I am proud to say I just finished Gone Girl, which was awesome, but unsettling.  And I have Lean In up next, so I too can get irritated by Sheryl Sandberg and complain that yes, you can have it all, if you have a big bank account and nannies.  We’ll see what I think!

So I feel like my mind is finally turned back on beyond what I *have* to think about each day with family and work.  I’ve found time for recreational reading, critical to my mind being back!

As for my body, I’ve been working harder and longer at this, guilted into it by my Mom who pointed out that, after 40, your bones degrade, etc., etc.  But it’s still been a slow trudge back.  Last year, 2012, I was so very proud to complete 80 Jazzercise classes, really not even twice a week, but huge for someone who’d previously done nothing.

This year, it’s still August and I’m about to top 100 classes!

Jazzercise was a very doable, welcoming environment for me to get back in shape.   See my post on Confessions of a 40 year old Jazzerciser.  I’m in the best shape I’ve been since Spring Break senior year in college when I lived on pretzels and diet coke to prepare for a week in a bikini in the Bahamas.   (other than, of course, as you other mother’s remember, those rare fleeting months after losing the baby weight, but before you stop nursing when you still stretch out your bra, but not the backseat of your jeans – ohhhh to be in a perpetual state of breastfeeding calorie burn……but I digress……….)

So again, with my baby on the brink of her 5th birthday, I realized my body is back in decent shape and my mind is back to reading once and awhile, and I feel pretty good!  Happy 5th birthday to ME! I’m BACK!

……Now, if only I could eat more vegetables, kick diet coke, stop swearing, learn to speak Spanish, sell more stripedshirts and get rid of the weird outer layer of fuzz in my hair I’ve had since my oldest was born in 2004 (seriously, anyone else with the halo of fuzz?), this decent place would become an amazing place most of the time. For now, I’ll happily take decent.

How about you, how long after kids did it take you to be back?

RIP Lilly Pulitzer, a stripedshirt inspiration

7 Apr

 

I was so sad to read today that Lilly Pulitzer died, at 81 years young, after a brief illness.

She – and her company – has been a favorite of mine for all my life, but also a stripedshirt inspiration for four reasons:

First, her preppy fashions are timeless. They are also bright and fun.  Life is too short to wear black!

Second, Lilly does “mommy and me” so well with adorable matching dresses, tops, bathing suits.  We are hopefully doing the same, giving Moms and kids a super cute way to dress alike.

Third, Lilly also started her brand from a focus group of one: herself.  Her signature shift was first designed in 1959 or 60 (she herself couldn’t recall) as a uniform for her work at a juice stand.  The bright colors and bold cotton patterns hid juice stains.

Finally, accidentally falling into fashion via a juice stand uniform gives me hope!  Lilly wasn’t fashion or runway trained, she wasn’t a designer.  She started something she personally liked, and that others liked too, and grew it into a hugely successful business and a timeless brand I love and aspire to for stripedshirt!

RIP Lilly.

 

Mom and kiddos in red and blue striped shirts

MARCH MADNESS!!!!

18 Mar

You know what’s complete madness?  Even more than Kentucky not making the cuts?

Not a single school from Texas in the tourney.

Not good, Tejas!  But makes me cheer for Ohio State even louder, I guess. And, whether the Buckeyes, or 64 other teams, odds are, stripedshirt has your team’s colors.  So get some stripes now so you can show your colors from now until April 8 for the NCAA college hoops championship in Atlanta. Enjoy the madness! Go Bucks!
Final AP Top 25 pre-Tourney:

  1. Gonzaga – red and blue
  2. Louisville – red and black
  3. Kansas – royal and white
  4. Indiana – red and white
  5. Miami (FL) – green and orange, don’t have yet
  6. Duke – royal and white
  7. Ohio State – red and gray
  8. Georgetown – navy and white
  9. Michigan State – green and white
  10. New Mexico – red and white
  11. Michigan – maize and blue
  12. Kansas St – purple and white
  13. Saint Louis – royal and white
  14. Florida – blue and orange
  15. Marquette – blue and gold
  16. Syracuse – blue and orange
  17. Oklahoma State – orange and white
  18. Wisconsin – red and white
  19. Memphis – royal and white
  20. Pittsburgh – blue and gold
  21. Arizona – red and blue
  22. Creighton – royal and white
  23. Notre Dame – blue and gold
  24. UCLA – light blue and yellow – don’t have yet
  25. Oregon – green and white

striped shirts for women, kids and babies for Buckeye fans

Surprises in Stripes

22 Feb

Doc McStuffins wears purple & white stripesolivia the pig wears red and white stripesPhineas wears orange and white stripes

 

Three years ago today, I took a huge leap and started stripedshirt. I consider it the first official day of business because it was the day I registered the URL of the brand I’d dreamt about for a decade prior.  I didn’t have first shirts for another 9 months so I mark the anniversary of stripedshirt around that time, Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.  (and yes, as a mom of 2, the significance of starting a company and delivering first product 9 months later is not lost on me) Over these 3 years, I have learned so much, a PR gal trying to dig into the fashion, apparel, retail, ecommerce worlds.  Holy cow.

The adventure has been a blast, and getting this old dog to learn new tricks (after 18 years of public relations) has been such a boost of energy in my life.

I still deeply believe in the focus of stripedshirt:  giving women, kids and babies fun shirts to wear to support their favorite team, school, cause or holiday. I still believe stripedshirt is fan-wear for those of us who just want our colors to show our spirit, not a big logo or a guy’s name in a shirt build for a man.

But, along the way, I’ve had what I call Surprises in Stripes that I thought I’d share here at three years into the life of stripedshirt:

People just like stripes.  Especially the ladies.  So many of my purchases are just women looking for a cute stripedshirt.  It seems red and white stripes, in particular, are very hard to find, in a cute, affordable version. (this goes for several men too, complaining they cannot find a good red and white stripedshirt and why don’t I make a version for guys?)

Mommy and me dressing alike extends way beyond Lilly Pulitzer.  Moms want to dress like their kiddos, and at least up to a certain age (8 years old and counting for me), kids like it too!  I’ve had many matchy striped days with my girls since this all began and it is cute and sweet.

Beyond just the Mom and kiddo combos, stripedshirts are great for keeping a group together! I found this out by chance, taking 4 little girls to Sea World one Christmas break right after I got my first shirts.  We all striped up and I never lost them and they always knew where I was too.  Fantastic!  I’ve since seen families going to Disney in stripes, Girl Scout troops in stripes, Family reunions or photos, girl’s weekends or bachelorette parties.  A group of stripes, even if several different color combos, is quite a fun – and recognizable – statement.

The lead up to Halloween is my biggest rush of the year.  Not back to school and start of football season, not March Madness, not Christmas.  Halloween. This bummed me out at first, people buying my shirts for their costumes.  But now, my hope is, they get a stripedshirt to be Waldo or Freddy Krueger or Olivia the Pig or Phineas (not Ferb) or Harry Potter or a French Sailor or whatever and they love the shirt way more than just 1 day of the year. (I hope!)

And finally, I had no idea what a fan-base Doc McStuffins has with the 2 to 6 year old set!  After red and white, my biggest seller by far is kids’ sizes of purple and white.    And I’ve tested the theory, most are for kids who want to dress like their favorite new Disney Character.  The Doc IS IN stripes!

One last Surprise in Stripes over these past 3 years – the sweet, amazing support I’ve gotten. I had hoped for it, but you never know how people will react to what you are up to.  People I know and people I don’t have been so supportive, sharing kind feedback and cheering me on.  There is still absolutely no more exciting moment for me than to see a “stripedshirt in the wild” – worn in public on someone I know, or better who I don’t, and that the wearer really, genuinely likes the shirt! YEAH!

Here’s to many more years of stripedshirt, and many more Surprises in Stripes!

North Central: The Heart of Austin’s Stomach

16 Feb

I know this blog is supposed to be about stripes, but once and awhile, I use it as a pulpit to talk about other stuff on my mind – SXSW, Locks of Love, PR, even Lice.  Today its about food.  And while I am biased because it is my hood, holy cow North Central has some good eats!

Last night was my first time at Drink.Well on North Loop.  Awesome cute little bar/bistro I will go back to again and again. It made me think of all the other great eats in my hood these days that I must share:

  • Foreign & Domestic, just down the street, awesome upscale date night vibe (gotta try their bakery next)
  • Gusto on Burnet is really good Italian, a nice spot for lunch, grown up dinner or family dinner.  Don’t miss their meatballs
  • Next door, Blue Star Cafeteria kind of kicked off the North Central yum-fest, and I still adore their coconut chicken tenders and childhood-memory style chicken & rice soup.  Brunch there rocks too
  • But of course, old style good breakfast is at the Omelettry across the street, an Austin classic.
  • Pinthouse Pizza across the street is loud, but a great place to grab beer and pizza, with or without your kiddos.
  • If you want a quiet place for a grown up drink, Apothecary on Burnet is perfect.
  • Just down Hancock was Jorges, and something new is coming, with equally good margaritas, we hope
  • The granddaddy of the hood is Fonda San Miquel on N. Loop.  Amazing experience, everyone ATXer needs to do dinner there, brunch, but also just a night of drinks and chips.
  • And I haven’t yet tried épicerie Café & Grocery, right across the street, but must because I’ve heard great things.
  • We, of course, have Central Market on N. Lamar, and our own P Terry’s just down the street, as well as our own Taco Deli (mmmm queso) and Uchiko which I didn’t want to like but holy cow those brussel sprouts are out of this world, and everything else there is absolutely amazing too.  And don’t underestimate Taco Shack, which has the best breakfast tacos in the city, IMHO
  • We Allandalers don’t complain about the new Walmart because with it, came some great food.  Yes, Hopdoddy across Anderson (if the line out the door ever stops), but I really mean Tarka for awesome fast serve Indian.
  • For pizza in the hood, we now have two East Side Pies, with its great NY style pizza (one on Anderson and one off Airport at 53rd
  • I know everyone talks about their cinnamon rolls, but at Upper Crust, I adore their cheese soup.  Yes cheese soup.  Try it, you’ll love it
  • There aren’t a lot of great hot dog places in town anymore, and I still miss Dog Almighty, but for a great hot dog, Man Bites Dog on Burnet is delish
  • The Triangle is nearby where we can never decide between Mandolas and Galaxy Café, our two family favorites.  Galaxy also has an awesome brunch.
  • And you can’t forget family favorites like Hey Cupcake and Amy and Phil’s, both also on Burnet. And across from Atomic so you can pick up a tattoo and some hydroponics.  God love Allandale!
  • The absolute best the hood – and possibly the city – has to offer though is at retro cool Little Deli off Woodrow in Crestview.  I can never decide between pizza, the Italian Wedge, the club, the roast beef.  It is THE lunch place of choice if you are REAL Austin, and dinner rocks too (esp with BYOB).  Tony is a lot nicer than Lecretia was, but he’s kept up her food quality and then some.  Don’t miss Little Deli!

PHEW, I’m full just writing about all these, and I’m sure I missed a lot of goodies that my neighbors will point out.  My message to you in Austin is Get You to North Central for Great Eats!

NO bumblebee stripes. Ever! stripedshirt has the right way to handle yellow and black

29 Oct

Well, the Pittsburgh Steelers proved  my point this weekend: Not all stripes are good looking stripes.

 

Horrible bumble striped jerseys for Pittsburgh

Yellow and black stripes look like nothing but a ridiculous bumblebee.   Even gold and black.  BUT yellow and black can come together, super cute, with our yellow and white stripedshirt and a black long sleeve T underneath it.  OR a black scarf, a black skirt, black shorts or pants, etc.  You get the idea.

Yellow stripes, just add black

Hear me, Steelers fans.

But also fans of NO Saints, Iowa, Purdue, University of Colorado, Wake Forest, even you, Vandy.

stripedshirt has your colors and its yellow and white!  Just layer it over a black T and you will look loads better than our NFL friends from Pittsburgh (tho the ridiculous look didn’t stop the team from beating the Redskins!)

BTW, this goes for the amazing Giants too: black and orange together really only look good one day a year.  To cheer on SF all year long, our dark orange and white with black accents is a much cuter way to stripe up!  Check out www.stripedshirt.com to support all your teams, from Pittsburgh to San Fran and everyone else!

Cheer Chic! Stripedshirt in the Austin American Statesman’s REAL

26 Oct

 

15 striped options at stripedshirt

 

THX Statesman and Amy Gabriel and Cristina Facundo for the striped support and giving us a little ink in the November issue of REAL!  Love it and so very excited for this local visibility!

http://www.statesman.com/news/lifestyles/fashion-style/shine-items-fashion-beauty-health-and-fitness/nSk3G/

Cheer chic

Keep it preppy and sleek on game day with a figure-flattering tee from Stripedshirt (www.stripedshirt.com). The brainchild of local “momtrepreneur” Laura Beck, the collection consists of duet color combo striped shirts for women, kids and babies. Not just for Texas pride, she currently has 15 fan-friendly shirts in a variety of sizes and colors pairings. Prices start at $19.50.

10 Days Left to Stripe Up for Halloween: Where’s Waldo, Olivia the Pig, Doc McStuffins, etc.

21 Oct

10 days til Halloween.

Doc McStuffins purple and white shirt

Stripedshirt can still help with your costume, as long as orders are received by Fri night, 10/26. Please pass on word to anyone – or their kids – going as Olivia the Pig, Doc McStuffins, Harry Potter, Freddy Kreuger, Where’s Waldo, a pirate, a sailor, a french person, a hipster, Lou Tomlinson or any of the boys from One Direction.

We can help!  go to www.stripedshirt.com and stripe up your costume now!  Or just get your cute dark orange and white to be stylishly in the Halloween spirit!

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