The holiday season is often thought of as the season of giving. Our mail is full of annual drives and bells ring at each of our supermarkets. How do we ever decide who to donate to, what does our money do, and where does our money go? I've often thought that the closer to home that our money stays, the better. I know that many of our customers donate both their time and their money to various causes, but this is the part of "coffee talk" that I ask you for more.
You may be aware or not, but the River Bend Foodbank is a very strong community organization serving over 300 partner agencies in Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. I personally have a relationship with the Davenport Community Food Pantry, because of teacher friends spearheading this branch. It resides in the old JB Young school and is one of the newest locations of family support. The time that I worked at this pantry, and after speaking to its coordinator, I learned that hygiene products are always asked for and very hard to get. She told me that what I was proposing to do, was a huge undertaking, as at least 130 families are seen daily, which is around 500 people. I am up for this challenge!!!! Will you help???
SOOOOOO.....here's the deal. I AM ASKING YOU TO HELP US SUPPLY FAMILIES WITH HYGIENE PRODUCTS! We will be collecting ALL of December. For every around $10 of love in the form of products that is donated, you will be entered in the drawing for a $200 gift card to The Ruby Slipper. The winner will be drawn on January 1st, 2018. And whatever you believe, or your political stance, or thinking that these people should be helping themselves, remember that about 60% or more of the humans needing help, are children.
Here are some ideas of items needed:
Toilet paper, soap, body wash, diapers, tampons, razors, shampoo, deodorant, you get the idea.
This is probably the largest undertaking that we have ever taken on, BUT I KNOW WE CAN DO IT!!! Please share this, and drop off items at our store all through the month.
Peace and love.
Two days ago I found out that a small business that is relatively close to me had closed. This business had been open many years and I'm sure had seen many others come and go. I would always go to this shop on Small Business Saturday and the women were always so kind to me. But this news really hit home because duh, I'm a small business.
I should have supported more. There is no reason with a shop that I liked, that my attendance was an annual thing. I am upset with myself because of what I know closing their doors does to their livelihood and to the offerings of the community. We cannot thrive on new bars alone. So today I make a pact with myself. I am making my Small Business Saturday list with my regulars and adding a new stop, but most importantly, I will try harder to CONTINUE to show support throughout the year!
And so should you.
Here's the facts. If a small business has a bad season, there is NO one to bail them out. If an Amazon, Nordstrom, Von Maur, Zappos has a bad season, their hand is held out to the vendors asking for markdown support. This is a fact, been there. Small businesses care about the community they are in. They know your face and maybe your name. They seat you at your favorite table. They give donations to organizations and people in distress. They wrap your gifts, and maybe even deliver them. They have watched your children grow up. They know "your" drink when you belly up to the bar.
THEY are the heartbeat of America. Now spend some time today figuring out where you are going to spend your hard earned dollars this season and throughout the year.
Ah, November. You are finally here. I have a love hate relationship with you, but mostly love. The sky is gray, the days are shorter, my coat is required, and trees hang on to their very last leaves.
But I LOVE November because of my occupation! (Almost more than December mind you) You see, November in my business is crunch time. Preparation. Crossing t's and dotting i's. Long days and higher stress levels. Don't worry, my husband says I thrive on stress! All to make sure that you remember "that great little shop" and to exceed your every expectation. To make your life easier. To avoid the mall :)
The Ruby Slipper will begin the month with their known for FAC event on the 3rd, where come 3:00 the entire store is 15% OFF! I am even making my grandmother's pumpkin bars and having cider this month!! With new goods arriving daily, seems like a perfect time to get a new Thanksgiving outfit! We'll see you Friday :)
We will be out and about town this month at two important events, The Water Party and Sizzlin' Soiree'. The Ruby Slipper and Katsch are donating the jewelry being sold at the Water Party 2017. These are $30 and if we sell out, it's like you helped donate $9000! That gives me warm, holiday fuzzies! The Ruby Slipper will also be involved in the brand new Sizzlin' Soiree' complete with fashion show and shopping! Both of these events are important to our community and families abroad, and you should check them out!
The entire month we will be receiving the best of the best gift ideas, only to be brought out on Black Friday, to officially kick off the season. Black Friday and Small Business Saturday we will be launching a brand new AMAZINGLY fun promotion! And Cyber Monday we will be offering a deal that is so CRAZY, you better get familiar with our website!
And behind the scenes, we are planning the BEST holiday windows, ordering wrapping paper and boxes, and sending the computer to the spa. Having our holiday kick off meeting, to make sure we are fired up and ready to go!! And this is just November kids!! SO join us this holiday, to feel good about the season. We'll be turning up the holiday music and wrapping paper will be flying!
On the eve of our shoe sale, I thought it important to talk about trends and what you "need" to have in your closet. Let's face it, we are just getting over with 80 degree weather, so I know hiding your toes has been an afterthought. And I also know that Midwest "must haves" might be different than the Carrie Bradshaws of NYC. Oh we get it, but our fashion must have an element of practicality our lifestyle and our weather demands. So let's proceed with the easiest to, "I only have one place to wear that" shoe.....
SNEAKERS - Huge in 2017, only getting bigger for 2018. There is not one particular brand that is leading the pack. Two key fashion tips for wearing a sneaker: Do not look like you are going to or just came from the gym. Second, make sure that your sneakers are clean and preferably anything but white or black. Think Sunday funday, not cleaning the house day.
BOOTIES - Yes I realize that booties were on the list last year also, but this year is a little different. And the way that I look at it, you can never have too many booties! Booties have POP this year. No holds bar, they want to be the star of your outfit this season. I suppose this is why red boots are hotter than hot. The shaft height of booties are more narrow this season, the colors can be bold, chelsea boots are a big deal, moto and lace details are for the super trendy, and texture in some shape or form is everywhere. Head spinning yet? Probably best to come see us, it's worth a conversation.
MULES - I love that the 1990's are back. The slide and mule (yes they are different) rage began this spring, but honestly, only the shoeistas knew what to do with them. The mule is the perfect shoe to wear with our crazy autumn weather, and dresses and straight leg pants/denim are its favorite companion. I get it, you are shaking your head right now because there is not much more time to wear these. Well I disagree. Mules are perfect for holiday house parties and trust me when I tell you, THEY ARE EVERYWHERE for 2018. So look at it like you will get a jump on the new year.
EMBELLISHMENTS - ON ANYTHING! What do I mean by this? This is such a broad classification that I lumped it all together. To me, another example of how footwear wants to rule your outfit this season. Brocade fabrics, fur, buckles for miles, metallic leathers, studs, jewels and pearls on heels, velvet. Keep the outfit simpler, let your feet do the talking.
BLOCK HEELS - I first became obsessed with block heels watching the Mary Tyler Moore show in 1974, when I was 8 years old. Yes my obsession with shoes started that early, don't judge. Anyway, the trend is happening and will go full throttle in spring of 2018. Heels are getting a little lower, and a little chunkier, which to me equates to much more stable. What's not to love? This shoe trend requires the rest of your outfit to lean a little more preppy and classic.
I could dissect these trends and go on and on, because truly this season almost anything goes.....as long as it's INTERESTING.
I LOVE SHOES :)
I’m not a photographer. I don’t even pretend to play one on TV. I am an amateur shop owner always trying to save a buck and time, so I have been dabbling in photography. And today I understand what it means when a REAL photographer tells me that everything just gelled.
Like some of you know, The Ruby Sipper has been experimenting with local women modeling our clothes. It only makes sense, right. Well today I scheduled the last shoot (tardy by the way), with our August model. Leslie Klipsch. I mean,,,,how could I be so lucky. Just an awesome person. I asked her if we could mix it up and shoot where she has been working. Of course, “I’d love to” was the response.
Which led me to the coworkqc. A super hip, inspiring, clean, meeting worthy, collaborative environment that would make any small business owner or flex time employee, super productive! This space was co-founded by Leslie. She’s kind of passionate about it. Now I’m kind of passionate about it. Therefore, I am attaching a link for you to check out. https://www.coworkqc.com (Currently, I am sitting in my very unorganized, used to be cool office, that is overrun by my teenager’s homework and my husband’s employer’s work. Oh, and dog bowls.) Ugh. I want to be at coworkqc right now.
Back to the clothes. I am very proud of these photos, because it showcases this very cool space, I happened to get VERY lucky on the photos themselves, and because the photos capture the essence of what The Ruby Slipper is really about. Real people, wearing clothes suitable for real life. Comfortable, affordable, flexible.
I hope you like the fashion and the space. Go spread the word!
As another holiday weekend quickly approaches, many of us are splitting town, heading to our favorite lake or beach resort.
If you could just get over that agonizing chore of packing (Cue the sighs). I must admit that I love to pack, so I am going to help you out. Efficiency and flexibility, that is the key. My husband is even amazed on my packing skills, he always takes more bags than me!
I truly believe that you should start with your feet. For a couple of reasons. Generally there is a lot of walking and shoes take up a lot of room. So sometimes starting with your favorites makes the most sense. Everything should be comfortable (no explanation needed).
Keep it neutral. The pops of color should come from small packable items such as accessories or even a swimsuit. Pack items that are multi purpose, available to be used in different ways. Here are my staples for the lake or the ocean:
1. bathing suit or two (print and colorful)
2. accessories that highlight a healthy glow (bright or gold)
3. denim cutoffs and jeans (always a staple)
4. knit sundress (can double as a coverup if needed)
5. logo or printed tees (cotton is best)
6. beach hat and head scarf (in case you're too lazy to wash your hair, or to protect it from the sun)
7. a couple of boho tops (companion to denim of course)
8. TWO pair of sunnies (nothing is worse than losing the only pair you brought)
9. Lightweight sweatshirt (sunburn makes you chilly)
10. Beach tote that you can fold up in your suitcase (for towels, water bottles, etc etc)
And of course,,,,,don't forget the sunscreen!
Have the best holiday weekend with family and friends!
Are we raising a generation of copycats and non-thinkers? Young adults that don't have an opinion about self expression, let alone their own views about world issues. Has the media become their catalog for appearance, self-worth, and knowledge?
Ya ya, I have a boutique and you're thinking, what does this have to do with clothes, fashion, and what you do. Actually, it started because I WAS looking at clothes and appearances of teenage girls. I have also been watching my nieces work through their pre-teen and soon to be teen years. As a mother to a boy, this difference has been very interesting to watch. I have also been shown various prom pictures (yes it is the season), and continued to notice patterns.
When I was a teenager, like decades ago, it was super cool to be different. It was the 80's and the 90's, the beginning of MTV, super models viewed only in magazines, and a grunge/artistic movement that made it "cool" to be knowledgeable about "stuff." In 1984, I promise you that I was the only one at prom in a black gown with past-the-elbows gloves. In 1986, I am quite sure I was the only one in my Fashion Merchandising Department that had blue hair.
Today, you can't find ANY girl in junior high and beyond, that doesn't have straight, long hair. Most likely in a "pony" maybe with a hair band. And all the girls at the ends of the prom pictures know their role, with the hand placement on their hips. Like EVERY single picture. I really think we need to coach these young women to be themselves, not what they think they need to be, both in they way they look and the way they think. Trends are trends, but mimicking is not cool. Be your own person, develop your own style, and realize your best accessory is your brain.
What do you think?
Memorial Day has always been considered the official kick off to summer, even though your yearly calendar says differently. And lately, the weather has been lying to us. But do not despair, if you have lived in the Midwest long enough, you know you have your 3 beautiful days in May, and then the humidity settles in. You might as well get ready, and your closet should be ready too!
Which brings me to the topic of this journal, Summer Essentials. If you haven't gone through your closet yet, you should probably make that a priority. And if you don't have these items IN your closet, then that is your next priority!
1. Day dress - If you haven't noticed, shorts are taking a back seat to dresses these days. They are cooler and it's nice not to worry about what cute top to wear. Bright colors are best to show off a summer tan, and the more whimsical the print, the better!
2. Birkenstock sandals - Fashion is such a cyclical beast! Did you think that you would be wearing these again, or your daughters would be raiding your closet for your pair from college?!? The more unique the better. It's not like wearing your habana Arizona this time around...Color color color!
3. White denim - It is true that whitish denim is becoming seasonless, but in summer no questions are asked :) If you need a little update, choose a style that has a frayed hem or is slightly distressed overall.
4. Off the shoulder tops - There is no part of the body that is getting attention like shoulders these days! Cold shoulder tops continue, but the latest attraction is the off the shoulder look. Slightly boho, sometimes dressy, the common denominator with this look is a good exfoliator and a self tanner :)
5. Slides - Open toe or closed toe is an option, having a back is not. I love it when a trend is easy. I also love it when a trend gives allows me the freedom to NOT have perfect toes! Let's face it, life gets busy.
6. Espadrilles - Nothing spells summer more than a pair of espadrilles. Low heel or high, ankle wrap or pump, the constant is the jute wrapped bottom. Perfect with everything summer from dresses to cutoff shorts, chicly European. Every time I slip on a pair, visions of blue waters and tapas dance in my head.
Today I realized how close knit our boutique has become. When someone in this family feels pain, we all feel pain. When you shed tears, we shed tears. We have worked together six years, and select talented women carefully. Many of you that have shopped with us from close to the beginning, are entwined in this sisterhood. We know about your families, and you appreciate ours. You all are an extended family. Today I am sad. And dear Ann, I am sorry for your loss. #sisterhood
Blogs. Such a bizarre thing to me. Everyone is a blogger. Everyone is an influencer. I started "blogging" because I was told it was good for business. It was painful and forced, and frankly I thought stupid, because everyone out there had pretty much the same thing to say. Needless to say, I stopped.
Two months ago we hired someone new,,,,younger, and she told me that my blogs were good and that I should start doing them again. Ugh. Really Sara? Of course I have sat on my hands for two weeks now, but I guess today is the day. (It might be my brunch mimosas talking, but I'll run with that)
First of all, I refuse to call these blogs from here on out. I will reference them as journals. They will not always be about fashion or beauty, possibly just life. I will try to have their focus be something that makes you feel better, inner strength, living life more beautifully. I will probably share some very personal photographs that might not be the best business choice, but that is not what this exercise is about. I want my journals to be personal. You can choose to read them or not.
It seems to me that Mother's Day is a good place to start. We are a women's business, our audience is mostly women, many of us are mothers, we all have or had a mother, and to me, there is no greater love than a mother's.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of traveling to Waterloo, Iowa to spend the day with my grandmother, mother, aunts, nieces, and one sister. You see some goofy pictures, but it is so much more than that. (And yes, I forced my giant son to go, so you see that too!) These women have raised children, experienced tragedy, continue to live life gracefully, and are beautiful themselves. The ages range from 9 to 94. They have lived through wars, the Great Depression, the loss of a spouse and father, cancer, divorce, etc etc. In the photos the great grandchildren or grandchildren to some, are pampering with manicures and back rubs. These children are definitely being raised properly; they realize this is clearly a mom's weekend!
I believe what gets women through the obstacles in life, is laughter and sisterly love. (hopefully also illustrated in these photos) If you don't have a network now, get one. Trust me, you'll need it. Take care of one another. That is inner beauty. So enjoy this beautiful Sunday, and hold a sister tight.