One reader, Rebecca, emailed me today. It was the kindest message. One thing she said was that a few months ago she had a feeling I was pregnant again, but she thinks she was mistaking a physical baby for the high energy and intention and creation going on around my new project, Hello Holiday. I think she was right–the email sort of struck me today and I loved the sentiment. I wanted to share it.
Hello Holiday is a new online store for womenswear, and our mission is to help support emerging designers by “breaking” them to a more mainstream audience. About 10% of our inventory is clothing from new and upcoming desingers who we work with exclusively, and the rest of our inventory is made up of versatile and awesome new pieces sourced from showrooms and markets. We also offer a little bit of carefully-selected vintage stuff.
I met Sarah Lorsung Tvrdik as a teen in the Omaha music scene–our boyfriends (now husbands) lived together in a house with a bunch of dudes in a band. Over the years we both changed a lot but grew closer as friends, bonding over our love of fashion and design and potty humor and fast food and pop culture. We worked together professionally at first–see her modeling for me here, and a photoshoot she styled for me here, plus tons of other appearances she’s made. This year, we both found ourselves at a career crossroads, wondering what to do next. When Sarah dropped into my office in February to steam a dress, we opened up to each other about our biggest dreams–the aspirations and ideas we were almost afraid to say out loud.
Sarah was freelancing as a stylist and fashion writer, and I was downsizing from CAMP Coworking and looking for a new challenge in business. We just sort of came together at exactly the right time to talk about the right thing and come to the right conclusion–we have to do something different. Something for women. Something for ourselves.
That’s the company name that we came up with, about three drinks in each and two baskets of french fries at the Dundee Dell in my neighborhood. There were tears, and hugs, and we slumped back in the corner booth and looked at each other and it was SO REAL. No going back. (I was looking for the page of meeting notes I had where we wrote down all the names we thought of, but I can’t find the notebook they’re in.)
We love the name. it’s positive, friendly, celebratory, approachable. It connotes an “arrival”–for example, the arrival of an emerging designer on our site, the arrival of your package in the mail, or a woman’s own personal “arrival” as she navigates her 20s and 30s. It also connotes the festivity and joie de vivre that we really, honestly believe life throws at us every day.
Sarah and I aim to create an accessible, friendly brand that offers sophisticated but whimsical options in fashion for women like us on the brink of a major milestone. Finishing a degree, making a big career leap, buying a house, perhaps a marriage. For us, there’s always a new challenge on the horizon, and a new adventure penned into our datebooks. We know there are millions more of you out there who understand.
Okay, here are some more practical details in Q&A format! Q&A with myself, commence!
Q: Are you selling online or in a brick-and-mortar shop?
We have an office at 62nd & Maple in Omaha’s historic Benson neighborhood. We’re packing, shipping, photographing, and warehousing inventory there in a beautiful second-floor window-lit loft, and we’re moving in on September 1st. We aren’t selling out of the space–all of our sales will be online at http://www.hello-holiday.com after we launch the site.
Q: Are you shipping internationally?
Yes! We will ship via USPS with delivery confirmation. I just bought our label printer on Amazon Prime…can’t wait to fire that baby up.
Q: Hey, who’s driving this thing? Who’s on your team here?
Well, I’m glad you asked. Besides Sarah and me, the founders, we have Shannon Jaxies, my assistant at Princess Lasertron who is moving on to Hello Holiday, and Amy Lynn Straub, one of the best and most creative fashion photographers we know. Our amazing supporters include hairdresser Rebecca Forsyth, graphic/ux designer Jonathan Tvrdik and a few freelance programmers led by my husband Dave. We also have a small roster of enthusiastic, diverse, beautiful models we are working with. It’s a labor of love with our community of friends, which is the most heartwarming part of the whole thing. I’ve never worked on anything that brought me more fulfillment and optimism.
Q: What brands are you carrying?
We went on our first buying trip in Dallas in May and placed orders with seven different brands, and in two weeks we’re going to the Magic trade show in Las Vegas where we’ll get a bunch more. What we look for are classic silhouettes, quality fabrics (we want things that are LINED, we want NATURAL FIBERS, stuff we can WASH…), bright colors and graphic patterns…special things. Some of the brands I’m most excited to share with you are Seychelles shoes, and Darling, an Australian brand that recently came to the states. We also have a few emerging designers to debut at our launch.
Q: So, when’s the launch?
That’s the big question. It all depends on how soon we can get our initial inventory photographed and get the website finished. The timeline keeps getting pushed back but realistically, we should be able to push start within the next four weeks.
Q: How can I help?
TELL EVERYONE. We have zero advertising budget. If you like our shop after we launch, just tell someone. That’s the best thing you can do. Another thing we’re going to be doing is looking for other small and “indie” businesses–maybe yours?–to partner with to do some cross-promotion. If something like that is interesting to you, send me an email and we can talk about that.
Oh, and follow us on twitter @HelloHoliday.
Okay! That’s another long post! I seem to be full of those lately. Fast forward through thousands of hours of design scouting, inventory gathering, trip booking, hanging file folder decorating, paper pushing, and waffle-eating, and we can say that we’ve built something that we’re really proud of. I hope you like it. It’s so, so fun.