Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Business Babe: The Blush Label

Two sisters, two styles, one colorful vision. Christie and Mary own The Blush Label, a stylish home fabrics boutique. Inspired by the beach, Puerto Rico, and their own personal styles, Christie and Mary have designed the perfect colorful touches to any home.

When and why did you decide to start The Blush Label?

Mary: We incorporated in July 2012 after making a trip to Puerto Rico to visit our father's side of the family. The colors on that island are so beautiful and we wanted to bring them into our homes. Once we were able to get the logistics together of starting a business, we sat down, started designing and eventually The Blush Label was launched in April 2014.

What was your background in and how did it prepare you for being an entrepreneur?

Christie: I grew up figure skating, and from a very young age designed each and every one of my competition & practice dresses. I would draw them while sitting in class (clearly not paying attention as I should have been!) and my mother would make the patterns from scratch and somehow bring my designs to life. 

Having a business partner can be tricky, how did you and yours meet and how do you balance your roles?

Mary: We're sisters so working together came naturally for us! Of course since we are sisters, we fight like sisters too, but it's only ever because one of us is really passionate about a certain product or launch and we want it to be the best for our customers. We work great together and have a deep understanding of each other, which is why we've been able to bring our business to place where it is and where it's going. I couldn't ask for a better business partner -- Christie is incredibly creative and does an amazing job bringing The Blush Label to life.

Where do you find inspiration?

Christie: I find a lot of inspiration in nature, music, and at the beach. We came up with some great ideas after visiting the Amalfi Coast, and our family in Puerto Rico last year. And sometimes I'll go over to Duke University and walk through Sarah P. Duke Gardens and draw from the flowers and plants there.

What's been your biggest challenge? Greatest success?

Mary: Our biggest challenge and greatest success was going to Atlanta Market -- there was a ton of preparation (and a lot of pressure on both of us) but it was worth it! Not only was it great for business, but we learned a lot and really listened to how the market responded -- that was important to us.

Favorite product on your site?

Christie: That's a hard one because I genuinely love everything we've designed so far. I'm going to have to go with the Pineapple Glasses because I use mine all the time!

Best form of marketing?

Christie: I've been doing some blogging, but Instagram has been very powerful and helpful for us. We weren't in the greatest spot at Atlanta Market and would have been missed by so many if we had not put our location on all of our Instagram posts. So many people told us they only came to that side of the building because they saw our posts and knew we were there!

What's next?

Mary: Next, we're off to High Point Market in April! We're looking forward to showing there, meeting new customers, and debuting some new products. Come by and see us if you're planning to attend -- we'd love to meet you!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Photography by Colleen Goldhorn

If you follow me on Instagram this #ootd may look familiar to you. That's because it was my birthday outfit last month. I'm sure all of you girls out there can understand how important a proper birthday outfit is, it's up there with prom (but like, every year). I mean it's something you'll look back and remember, not to mention have like a million pictures tagged all over social media with you wearing it. 

Anyways, I love a big ol' girly glam full skirt... the twirl worthy kind. Ya know? Since the skirt had so much volume I balanced it out with a fitted crop top. It took me a year to find the perfect one. I love how it's off the shoulder. And the shoes... they're literally my favorite thing ever. Besides my dog...

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Business Babe: The Stylist LA

How perfect would it be to have an ultimate closet where you could pick from trendy designer dresses for any occasion? Sounds too good to be true right? Wrong! The Stylist LA is a designer dress borrowing service founded by Emily McDonald. The aim of the company is to help women of all ages feel confident and beautiful in each and every outfit that they wear.

What was the inspiration for The Stylist LA?

The idea for The Stylist LA came to me when I was a student at USC.  I was in a sorority and saw how often girls needed dresses for events.  The girls always wanted something new to wear, but didn't want to purchase an expensive dress that they would only wear once.  At the same time I was interning at a fashion PR firm and I saw how celebrities basically checked out clothes for events.  I started to think it would be really cool (and convenient) if girls could rent from an "ultimate closet" for special occasions. 

What's your background and how do you think that's prepared you to be an entrepreneur? 

Where to start? I grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma and knew from a young age that I wanted to have my own company, particularly in fashion.  I chose to go to USC because of it's strong entrepreneurship program and it's location.  It was either New York or LA for me and ultimately the sunny days and beach won me over.  At USC I interned at a fashion PR firm for 2.5 years.  It was a great introduction to the fashion industry in LA.  After USC I did a post graduate program at The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Product Development.  There I learned everything from the conception of the idea of a product, to production, to selling it to the end consumer.    I believe that every step of my journey has prepared me for what I am doing today. I try and absorb everything I can from each unique situation I am in, whether it is school, work or meeting people in any industry.  Everything that I have done on this journey has taught me more about the fashion industry, leadership styles, and ultimately about myself and how I work.  

That being said, nothing but being an entrepreneur can fully prepare you for this unique journey.  Every day is different, you have to make tough decisions and at the end of the day the performance of your company relies completely on you.  

What's your best form of marketing? 

Our best form of marketing hands down is word of mouth.  We try and give our clients the best possible service that we can.  In turn our clients become loyal brand ambassadors for us by spreading the word about us to their friends.

How do you go about selecting merchandise? Knowing what your customers will like, staying ahead of trends, discovering new brands, etc.

It's tough!  I stay on top of what is going on in the fashion world by reading fashion magazines and blogs and paying attention to red carpet styles (especially during awards season!)  I ask our clients a lot of questions.  What do they want to see more of?  What are they loving right now?  Then I build our selection based on our customer.  I look at new lines and think, where will our girl wear this?  What is she doing in this piece?  What will it cost for her to rent it?  We have clients with a variety of styles and personalities, so I think of this when I am placing orders for new dresses.

What's been your biggest challenge? Greatest success? 

Our biggest challenge is growing rapidly and maintaining The Stylist LA feel.  When our clients shop with us they really feel like they are shopping in their fashionable, best friend's closet.  We develop close relationships with our client and when they come to us it is so much more than just renting a dress.  We chat about boyfriends, jobs, life updates etc.  We are focused on keeping this vibe while we grow and dress many more clients.

Our greatest success...that is a tough question!  One of our greatest successes lately would be the launch of our new ecommerce site last August.  Launching the new design and increased functionality was very exciting, and now nothing beats watching it grow. We are getting numerous orders daily from all over the country.  It is so fun to watch the orders come in and see The Stylist LA spreading the love from coast to coast.  It has been so fun to see this company grow and to see how loyal our clients are.

Why do you love what you do? 

My favorite thing about what I do is the moment that a girl finds the perfect dress.  There is this "aha" moment when a girl feels amazing in the perfect dress.  You can feel it.  I still get goosebumps when these moments happen.  That is the ultimate for me.

What's next?

So many things.  I can't divulge everything but I will say this.  Our goal for this year is to spread The Stylist LA experience to many more girls.  Our inventory will be growing, our client base will be growing and I can't wait to share more!

Favorite style currently available? 

This sequinromper by Karina Grimaldi. The sequins make it dressy while the romper style gives it an effortless feel.  I'm romper obsessed.  Get ready to see many more in our collection!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Want It, Need It

Seriously, can it be spring yet? I know that's the most "basic white girl" thing for me to say but I mean it. I'm over layering, I'm over boots, I'm over dry cracked hands and most definitely over temperatures below my age. 

It's such a tease that stores are now filled to the brim with sundresses, gauzy shirts and sandals. I want it but I can't wear! Thanks to Mr. Groundhog apparently I have to wait 6 more weeks. Can't a girl catch a spring style break? 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Galentine's Day

Photography by Colleen Goldhorn 

With the main color of Valentine's Day being pink how could I not love it? It's a natural fit for not only Piqued PR but also #Patricia'sPalace (seriously it exists on Instagram, look it up!). We had a little Galentine's Day celebration at with my interns to celebrate. It was full of coma inducing sweets (another reason I love the holiday), pink sparkles and cute little unicorns. Yeah, the latter is random but I just couldn't resist them in the Target dollar section... gets me every time! Because every 25 year old needs a bag full of mini plastic unicorns? 

PS. Meet my intern Francesca, hailing from West Chester University!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Like A Pro: World Traveler

Chloe Johnston loves fashion and travel. So she decided to combine the two to create the Chloe Johnston brand. They provide customized city tours ranging from New York City to Paris. We don't want any Piqued PR lovers to look like tourists on their next trip, so we asked Chloe for a few expert travel tips!


Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Be sure to drink plenty of water the day before travel as well as the day of. Hydration will help with fatigue, jet lag, and making your skin look radiant.

Pack light

Remember you will be shopping wherever you go. Bring a few key pieces that can easily be mixed and matched. Adding scarves and statement jewelry to simple ensembles help to create completely different looks. For fall/winter, my jacket is key! I always bring something thats warm, waterproof, and chic. It's the first thing everyone sees after all!

Try new things

Immerse yourself in the culture. Keep an open mind and always try new things. It’s not only what you pack, it’s what you bring back!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Want It, Need It

I guess by now I don't have to restate my love for snail mail. Oh wait I just did... Anyway, there's nothing better than a handwritten note, especially when it comes to love letters. Do you think Romeo & Juliet, Elizabeth & Mr. Darcy, Noah & Allie would have emailed or texted their love for one another? No, there's no romance in that, people! 

This Valentine's Day step up your writing and courting game with a handwritten note of admiration. We're throwing it back old school. And don't forget to spritz a splash of your signature scent on it! 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Like A Pro: Style on a Budget

Jennifer Burchette is the creator of the blog Fashionista Jenn. The perfect blog to help fashionistas learn how to balance the schedule and budget of a young woman while still being in Vogue. We asked her to give us a few tips for style on a budget. 

Re-wear your party outfit

Don’t be afraid to re-wear those fun Friday night outfits with the girls or your expensive holiday outfit. Instead of spending money constantly on a new dress every time you want to go out, simply pair them with your day outfits. Loved that sequined skirt you wore for a New Year's party? Pair it with your fave winter sweater. Re-using party favorites is the perfect way to look cute without breaking the bank.

Steal his look 

Dressing fabulous doesn’t always have to take a lot of effort. Use your resources! Instead of searching for the perfect over sized sweater for the cold season, borrow it from a guy in your life! I love to layer over sized crew necks over my graphic print and/or velvet leggings. Just make sure to return them later...maybe.

Shop budget friendly online stores

Being able to own designer items is great, but being able to achieve the same look without the designer prices is just as fantastic! Shopping online at a pocket friendly stores such as ASOS, Nasty Gal, and Missguided allow you to have the designer look without putting a huge dent in your pocket. 

Stick to your staples

Have you ever bought something and went home and realized you already had something similar to it but in a different color /similar style? Avoid wasting money rebuying similar items and stick to a list of staple pieces. Once you have your basic staples down then you can possibly expand on your wardrobe. 

Creatively layer

Finding different ways to wear your favorite things can be the most exciting part about getting dressed! Don’t ever feel limited to a certain look! In these times we tend to wear an outfit, post it to Instagram and then think we could never be caught dead wearing that item again. For example, pairing your favorite turtleneck under a denim button-down gives your look a whole different feel. Experiment with your clothes and have fun in them!