Monday, October 28, 2013

The Namesake

As long time readers of this blog know, the store was named Zoe in honor of the daughter that I never had.  The Zoe Girl motif (designed to my specifications by the talented Lisa Henderling with the guidance of my wonderful friend and graphic designer Cori Canady) reflects my vision of what I believe my "grown-up" Zoe would look like.  I have been privileged to meet a number of Zoes in the time I have owned the store (even a dog named Zoe during the Doggie Trick or Treat in Old Town yesterday).  But never in my wildest dreams did I imagine she would inspire a piece of jewelry!

Enter talented NYC based jewelry designer Katie Bartels.  As we talked about various ways to work together over the summer, we arrived at the idea of Katie creating a signature piece that would be sold only at Zoe.  When I asked her to describe her design process and inspiration, she shared this with me:

"I was incredibly excited when Susan approached me to design and hand make a piece exclusively for Zoe Boutique! The Zoe woman is sophisticated, elegant, stylish, and classic so I knew freshwater pearls had to be a part of the piece I designed. I am a big fan of "Zoe pink" and thought it should be incorporated into the piece for a fun pop of color. I sketched a few different design ideas and was very drawn to the idea of mixing pearls and ribbon for a preppy look. I worked with Susan to get the color of the ribbon just right and we finalized the design when she visited my studio in New York City over the summer. It was important to both of us that the necklace complement the clothing Susan carefully selects for the boutique and I think we definitely achieved that goal. It was such an honor to create this design!"

So, I confess to being slightly biased....but I do think it is gorgeous!

Katie is coming to Zoe for an exclusive Washington DC area trunk show on November 16th.  Stop by to meet this talented artist (and just all around fantastic young lady!)  

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Spring Market - Three Years Later

Before starting this blog post, I went back to read the summary of my very first Market visit 3 years ago.  Prior to opening Zoe, I made the trip to Atlanta in the Fall of 2010 for my first buying experience.  If you'd like to relive that experience with me, that blog post is here.

So it seemed fitting that three years later, I found myself back in Atlanta again, this time buying for Spring 2014.  Other obligations had kept me from going to NYC in September as usual so I got to enjoy the familiar and more relaxed confines of the AmericasMart.

Because I am what my husband refers to as an "Intense Traveler", I was on a 6 am flight to Atlanta and at Market just as it opened at 9 am.  Having registered with a couple of clicks for a Fast Badge online, I had my buyer's badge in no time flat and was off to my first appointment.

No more breaking Market up into two days like that first trip.  I was all about making the most of my time there with the hopes of heading to see family in Athens on Saturday morning rather than coming back to Market.  Thanks to Tara organizing all of my appointments for me, I had a great schedule with all of the brands I wanted to visit (and a little time to look at other potential lines).  In total, I saw 13 lines that day!

Some surprises - Beth Bowley has ceased producing a line.  We will receive her Holiday shipment but that will be it.  She has been a customer favorite and we are sad to lose her.  And Cynthia Steffe is no longer designing for Cluny.  We have loved her unique takes on traditional designs and were an early buyer of the line.

As I have mentioned before, being in Atlanta allows you to have more time with your reps and to visit as friends.  I loved my time with Maye of Alice & Trixie and Amy Matto, Natasha of Chan Luu, and Noelle of Rebecca Taylor.  They are absolutely some of my favorites and know me and the store so well that they start editing the collections before I say a word.  We've worked together for long enough that they know my buying style and the style of my Zoe customers.

I was so enamored with the jacket from the Lily Aldridge for Velvet Collection that I threatened to take it with me right then!  The reps agreed that it looked great with my redwood colored jeans from Red Engine and my silk blouse from 81 Poppies.

It was surprising to see how many of the trends carried over from Fall to Spring.  Lots of leather and leather accents remain.  Black and White and darker colors were prevalent in the lines (I complained to a couple of brands - where are my Spring colors??)  Peplum is still very in as well.  Seeing a lot less of the High Low trend that seems to be wearing out its welcome.

Lots of Black and White

Velvet finally brought some color to the mix (as did Trina Turk)

Rebecca Taylor always has great dresses

After a VERY long day (I think I finished up at around 6:30), I checked into my hotel for the night and went to get something to eat and relax for a bit.  I've stayed in my hotel (the Marriott Marquis) twice with Jim so he asked me to take a picture for him showing him the location of my room.  Of course, I had to oblige.

Even after three years and countless market and buying trips, the process of shopping for my customers remains one of the most fun and most stressful aspects of owning a store.  Atlanta will always hold a special place in my heart because she was first.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Zoe's Fall Windows

In my continued mea culpa regarding my poor blog posting, I realized that I had interviewed Tara on the topic of this blog when I was in the store following the District Sample Sale, oh....about a month ago.  It is high time I got around to giving you the details around these beautiful windows!

The origin:  Our lovely Alexandra is studying for the SAT and, during quiet times in the store, she and Tara review vocabulary words.  (Who knew that working at Zoe was so educational?)  One of the words was "defoliate" and Tara challenged Alexandra to use it in a sentence.  As they discussed the word in detail, all Tara could think of was falling leaves.  And an idea for a window display was born!

The two of them had also ventured to Georgetown one evening to see the movie "Scatter My Ashes At Bergdorfs" and had been wowed by the window displays and how each one told a story.  Even more inspired, Tara began searching for the templates to help her carry out her vision.

She found the templates for the beautiful fall leaves online and began printing and coloring leaves in her spare time  (coloring them at one of her boyfriend's football games, she was asked if she was a teacher!)  For the trees (shown below) she resourcefully used cardboard from the boxes containing clothes that are delivered to Zoe.  (We are all about recycling, reusing, and repurposing at Zoe!)  The corrugated cardboard was perfect for creating a bark-like effect when she added a darker brown market to it.

Like Janice and Karen, she doesn't tell me exactly what she is planning but assures me that I will like it (and I always do!)  If you haven't already, make sure to stop by to let her know how much you love her windows!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Grown-Up Surprise

Oh, hey blog...long time no see!  I've been just a "little" busy lately but that doesn't mean that I don't think of you (and feel guilty) every day.

In thinking about this blog post I realized that, as a grown up, I don't have very many good surprises.  Bad surprises, yes.  They seem to pop up with regularity.  But no honest-to-goodness, I wasn't expecting that, how fantastic! surprises.  They are few and far between.  Until now.

There seem to be a plethora of sample boxes out there.  Birchbox.  Barkbox.  Julep.  Nature Box.  The list goes on and on.  But did any of them apply to me?  One day in August, I was reading blog entries from a great site called DC Ladies.  One of the writers mentioned the PopSugar Must Have Box and I was intrigued.  This looked like it had possibility!

I didn't want to go in too deeply without knowing if I would like it, so I signed up for a 3 month subscription.  They initially told me I wouldn't receive my first box until October but they had some subscriptions lapse in September so I was able to receive that box as my first of three.  And I was hooked.  Finally, I had something that would surprise (and delight) me!!

Jim has even gotten in on the excitement of seeing what has arrived for the month.  He informed me last week when I called home to say I was on my way that my October box had arrived and wondered out loud what was in it.  Here is how it looks when it arrives in the mail.

The anticipation was killing me...but I always open it slowly (to make the surprise even better)!

The pink pamphlet provides details on each item in the box.  And what an awesome box it was!  Imagine my delight when I saw the Jane Tran bobby pins like we carry at Zoe (love some hair jewelry!)

Each box normally has some kind of food, some cosmetics, a book (I know, like I need more books), and other fashionable things.  I was doubly excited when I found that they had included the SAME HAIRBRUSH that we featured on Alexandria Stylebook from Bellacara!  Talk about being on trend - the ladies of Stylebook know what we are talking about! (Make sure to sign up for our email list here!)

We all need a little (good) surprise in our lives from time to time!