Tag - Houston

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FGI Houston Presents- Shop Talk: A Big Talk on Small Businesses
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Lily Rain Flagship Store Grand Opening
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Hanh Collection Preview Benefiting “Heroes & Handbags”
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“Pay It Forward Fashion Exchange” with Glam Authority
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Recap: All the Wire Preview at Pomp and Circumstance
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Cynique Evoule “Doctors on the Runway” Fashion Show
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Love’s In Fashion at Tootsies- Houston

FGI Houston Presents- Shop Talk: A Big Talk on Small Businesses

Fashion Group International of Houston recently held a panel discussion regarding “small business.” The event was co-hosted by Tout Suite, a bakery and cafe that is new to Downtown and will be opening soon. The panel was moderated by Sarah Gabbart of Houstonia Magazine and featured five key small business owners: Brandi Garcia of Do or Dye TX, Cheryl Schulke of Stash Co., Davina Tweedy- director of marketing for Langford Market, Jackie Adams of Melodrama and Jenny Morgan of Settlement Goods.

After a few opening remarks by the lovely Sydney Dao, the panel discussion began. Here is a synopsis of the topics and advice that were discussed throughout the evening…

*Branding and Building Buzz Before Opening the Store

- Free Fridays (usually during first year).
- Discounts on back of business cards for first year.
- Martini Mondays (usually during first year).
- Networking, handing out flyers door-to-door, trunk shows.
- Pop-up shops, professional womens networking groups, selling via Facebook and Instagram.

*Marketing

- Instagram is such an amazing and free resource.

*How to Stay Current and Keep-Up with Changing Market

- Sometimes you have to change as the economy changes.
- As your long-term clients grow in life, you need to change and grow to fit their needs as well.

*How Do You Maintain Store Presence?

- Do charity and beauty events.
- Network.
- Trunk shows.
- Emails (like constant contact) and social media.
- Be consistent on social media.
- Keeping up with the customer (such as sending birthday cards).

“It’s not always about ‘sell, sell, sell;’ but also enriching your customer.”

*Long Term Goals and Advice to Future Business Owners

Jackie of Meladrama and Cheryl of Stash Co. had some very enlightening advice on this topic.

- Write down your ideas. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel, it’s probably already been done. Put your own spin to it.

- Do something that you are passionate about.

- Always try to give back to the community.

- Do the research.

- Start out small, while building your clientele.

- Create your own experience when you own a business.

- “When you’re going through hell, keep going.”

- Check out books (and their websites) by Malcolm Gladwell and Seth Godin.

- “Do the best you can, until you know better and then do better.” – Maya Angelou

- “Don’t push the river.” If it doesn’t feel right or if you are pushing/working too hard, it’s probably best to rethink your business.

- Don’t go into business with the wrong person. Always trust your gut.

- Budget out operating expenses a year in advance.

The event concluded with some closing remarks from the owners (and gracious hosts) of Tout Suite and Shop Talk Chair- Trang Nguyen. Followed by a continuation of networking and mingling.

HUGE thanks to the folks at FGI Houston, Tout Suite, Sarah, Brandi, Cheryl, Davina, Jackie and Jenny!

Lily Rain Flagship Store Grand Opening

Houston-based retailer Lily Rain recently launched their 3,000 square foot flagship store in the heart of trendy Rice Village and I was on location to check it out. The store was designed by Houston-based MC2 Architect Chung Nguyen, who’s concept was an interpretation of a traditional home, complete with individualized “rooms” or departments and two really large old windows that were most likely re-purposed into mirrors (that I’m personally fawning over). I loved the decor and merchandising of the product, from the cute “floating terrariums” to the scarves hanging on a vintage rusty pool ladder. Lily Rain practically takes care of every need, whether it be fragrances to gifts to home decor and accessories to apparel. I’m a fan of their variety of fragrances, Kate Spade office supplies (bow tie paperclips…I mean…), journals and stationary by Christian Lacroix, jewelry and there are two sequin clutches that are just cheeky. Brands carried at Lily Rain include: Cynthia Vincent, Alternative Apparel, Tom Ford, Balenciaga, Eve Lom, REN, French Connection, Sara Designs, LAFCO, Roosts, Tom Dixon, Jonathan Adler, Deborah Lippmann, Butter London and RGB.

The kind folks at Lily Rain hope to bring a different and unique shopping experience to Houston consumers and hope they leave having discovered something new and unexpected.

Lily Rain Rice Village is located at:

2414 University Blvd. #180
Houston, TX 77005
(main entrance is on Kelvin Dr.)
Phone:(713)523-1902

Hanh Collection Preview Benefiting “Heroes & Handbags”

Self-taught Houston artist Hahn Tran is known for her oil paintings that involve heavy, sweeping brush strokes that make for a strong three-dimensional effect. Her works often involve a self-study of the human form, culture, nature and emotion. It was in 2011 when her career took on a different path- fashion. She couldn’t find the right handbag to go with her dress for a gala one evening and decided to hand-paint one of her own to match the dress. Hahn decided she was definitely on to something when a women bought the bag right off her arm during that gala. Since then, her ‘art empire’ has spread out to not only the handbags, but also hand-painted UZO umbrellas.

We had the pleasure of getting a glimpse of her second collection of handbags at her preview trunk show held at designer David Peck’s headquarters. I thought that the collection was colorful and definitely eye-catching. The accessories are bound to be conversation starters when worn out to an event. I learned that Hahn’s bags are canvas and she uses fabric paint as her medium. Hahn is a fan of David’s designs and thought that merging the two brands would be a perfect match. Proceeds from David’s and Hahn’s sales went to benefit “Heroes and Handbags“- an event held in Houston and Dallas to benefit Heroes and Children. Heroes for Children is a Texas-based charity that advocates for and helps provide financial and social assistance for families of children (up to 22 years old) battling cancer.

Hahn’s bags range from $175 for small bags to $550 for a tote. Check out Hahn Gallery for additional information.

“Pay It Forward Fashion Exchange” with Glam Authority

The Rice Village branch of Kendra Scott played co-host to the “Pay It Forward Fashion Exchange” that took place a couple weeks ago. The event was spearheaded by Kesha Scott- founder of Glam Authority, Houston’s go-to destination for getting your closet cleaned and organized, while also making it fun and profitable for you.

The event’s attendees were asked to provide designer clothing items to donate and exchange. All donations went to support The Women’s Home, a non-profit organization. They also own and operate The Cottage Shop- a boutique-y thrift store here in the city. The event also featured light bites and bubbly. While waiting for the exchange to begin, guests mingled and had the chance to shop the latest Kendra Scott products and check out the famous “Color Bar.” Giveaways from sponsors like Kendra Scott, Pynk Luxe, Chloe Dao and blogger/author Megan Silianoff were also handed out to a lucky few.

The exchange was divided into groups based on the color of the wrist band received at check-in. We had three minutes to grab items of our choice (but based on the number of items we brought to exchange). I ended up with a cute Nipon Boutique dress and jacket set, who’s bold pink hue stood out to me from across the room. It was fun seeing what everyone ended up with. Megan grabbed the vintage St. John top that I brought and I’m excited to see how she styles it. As we left, we were handed a swag bag, which featured a $25 gift card to Langford Market (thank you!) and other small treats.

Loads of thanks to Kesha Scott, The Women’s Home, the Kendra Scott Rice Village team, the sponsors and volunteers.

Recap: All the Wire Preview at Pomp and Circumstance

All the Wire is a Dallas, Texas based jewelry brand founded by two sisters- Tori Gonzales and Desiree Cox. The name, ‘all the wire’ stems back to the following love story between Desiree and her boyfriend (as told by Tori).

One day, driving down the country roads she {Desiree} asked, “Jeff, how much do you love me?” and of course, typical guy answer, ” a lot.” Which didn’t sit well with my sister. She needed full on detail, so she asked again and got the same answer. They kept driving and he told her to look outside the window, “See how the telephone wire keeps going and going? That’s how much I love you, all the wire….” I think she finally got the answer she was hoping for. These two love birds got married and on their wedding day, he had “All The Wire” engraved in her band.

Tori has always loved the story and the idea to start a jewelry line started to churn. She asked Desiree if she would partner up and the next day they started stamping jewelry. They built their brand with the foundation of that love story and wanted to create simple, yet customizable pieces for people to wear and express themselves. These pieces range from message bar necklaces/bracelets to charming wire-wrapped initial rings/charms to fun pieces with recycled bullet and mini pocket knife pendants. The brand launched in 2013 and has gained quite a lot of recognition. You may have also seen Gonzales on the hit Bravo reality show- Courtney Loves Dallas, which follows her bestie, (and number one supporter of All the Wire) fashion blogger – Courtney Kerr throughout her day-to-day adventures.

The All the Wire girls recently took a road trip down to Houston and hosted a trunk show at Pomp and Circumstance Boutique, where I had the pleasure of being in attendance. Courtney was also there to support her friend. There was a line out the door as trendy Houstonians packed the small boutique and were eager to check out the brand, as well as meet Gonzales and Kerr. I checked out the necklaces and all were simple yet statement-worthy. Tasty bites were provided, as well as delicious Texas themed macaroon pops that were provided by Macaron by Patisse. The Deep Eddy Vodka girls were on hand, serving their famous Texas-made specialty drinks in cute mason jars and striped straws. Outside was a food truck and lounge that was hosted by Houston Tidbits. I had the chance to meet Tori, Desiree and Courtney, who were so sweet and hospitable, taking their time to chat and take photos with guests. The girls only brought along a select few of their necklaces for the trunk show. It seemed that the “H-Town” message bar necklace was the favorite of the show, as everyone I spoke with bought one. I personally like the pocket knife and “Y’all” message bar necklaces. The brand not only stands behind their product and the story behind it, but they also want to be able to share others stories. They also believe in affordability, as the price points range from $30- 50. Besides being sold at Pomp and Circumstance, All the Wire is also available at: Duck and Dressing Boutique, The Buck Commander Store and Jul’s Boutique.

Thank you’s: Pomp and Circumstance, White Park Media, Houston Tidbits and All the Wire (love my ring)!

Cynique Evoule “Doctors on the Runway” Fashion Show

The Laura Rathe Fine Art Gallery was the setting for the Houston edition of Cynique Evoule Runway Series. Felicia Mosley launched the company in 2011 in hopes of bridging designers and models with some of the nation’s top influencers. According to Mosley, “The event is an opportunity for designers from coast to coast who have garnered attention from the general population of consumers and the media, to relay their aesthetic and their ideas through an inspired collection of garments and accessories. Since fashion has no borders, Cynique Evoule also sets out to serve as opportunity for talented designers from outside the country to introduce themselves in the Midwest fashion industry and grow their brands. The premise for this showcase is to bring the support of the city and other like cities to the governing bodies, gather the community under one roof to finally be able to appreciate design talent. What started out as hope for something ‘bigger and better’ for the city will now come to fruition throughout the country!”

The “Doctors on the Runway” series is part of Cynique Evoule’s community program. A portion of the proceeds benefit children’s hospitals in the cities where the the runway shows are held. This event’s portion of the proceeds went to Texas Children’s Hospital. Thirteen of Houston’s finest female doctors were transformed into models and sashayed down the runway, wearing Caché‘s Spring 2014 collection. The event also featured local designer Angelic Reese (a.k.a. Lisa Reed) and shoes by Luichiny.

The “Doctor’s on the Runway” series’s next stop is Chicago on April 27th, followed by Atlanta, Miami and finally New York.

**Dr. Heather Brown, Dr. Monica Gray, Dr. Terriya Richmond, Dr. Daisy Ayim, Dr. Nwanyieze Amajoh, Dr. Tamecka Knight, Dr. Kidada Lewis, Dr. Monique Mckight, Dr. Connie Nguyen, Dr. Lily Zhang, Dr. Vicki Carr, Dr. Tamyra Comeaux and Dr. Jonnae Atkinson — you ladies werked that runway! Congratulations and please keep doing what you do!**

Love’s In Fashion at Tootsies- Houston

Love was in the air during the “Loves in Fashion” show at Tootsies- one of Houston’s hottest shopping destinations. The fashion show benefited Dec My Room, an charitable organization founded by mother-daughter team: Susan and Kendall Plank in 2007. They were visiting a young family friend who was scheduled to receive a bone marrow transplant at Texas Children’s Hospital, which would keep him holed up in a drab hospital room for at least three weeks. They decided that they wanted to do something to make him feel more comfortable during his hospital stay, so they found out what his interests were (an A & M fan) and “dec’d” out his hospital room in A & M gear. He and his family were overjoyed upon seeing the room. This inspired them to launch Dec My Room. They have since decorated hundreds of rooms in Texas Children’s Hospital and MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Center in hopes of “creating a healing place” for children going through various illnesses, medical procedures, etc.

The event featured several philanthropic couples as they strutted down the runway, such as: Elizabeth and Daryl Allen, Karina and Carlos Barbieri, Gina Gaston and Mario Elie, Duyen Huynh and MarcMarc, Jenna Jackson and Brendan Gilbert, Natalie Lefevre and Jürgen Pichler, Vivian Wise and Sergio Morales, Patti and Don Murphy, Susan and Michael Plank, Clifford Pugh and John Dascoulias, Layla and Walter Salek, Millette and Haag Sherman, Jenee and Nick Stefaniks, Brittany and Max Tribble, Holly Waltrip and Mike Long, Noel and Scott Wise and more. In between the two groups of couples, models took to the catwalk, wearing selected looks that were currently trending. I especially enjoyed the pink dress with structured and flouncy skirt and an ensemble featuring lovely floral pants, a red top and yellow clutch and a gorgeous pleated neon yellow maxi dress.

After the fashion show, there were two surprise guests- former A & M quarterback Johnny Manziel and six year old cancer survivor Charlie Dina (and fan of Manziel).

Thank you Tootsies and Dec My Room for having me! Kendall Plank- it was lovely meeting you after the show. Oh and I had a “Walker moment” when I met a Texas Ranger! #Starstruck

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