Shopping and Story Telling
We've long been obsessed with THREAD. If you're local to Columbus, Ohio, you've probably seen this adorable shop...and if you're not in Columbus - shop online ASAP and thank us later.
It has been a dream to have our line carried in THREAD. We were introduced to the retailer's boss lady through our fellow Columbus entrepreneur, Jared Friesner, of Cliff Original, and we were thrilled when Miranda Boyle welcomed our skincare line into her store with open arms.
Our marketing leader, Katie, sat down with THREAD's owner and curator, Miranda, at her flagship shop in Grandview. We sought to learn her methods for crafting such a distinguishable voice in retail, and her passion for paying it forward for new entrepreneurs.
Katie Schacht (Ks): Thanks so much for taking this time to chat with me! I'm such a fan of yours!
Miranda Boyle (Mb): Of course! This is so fun!
Ks: I really want to understand how you came up with this vision for your company. What made you want to open your own stores?
Mb: Retail is in my blood. I studied fashion merchandising at Ohio State University and went on to management at Banana Republic. I've always worked in retail and it's taught me so much. I know what it's like to steam clothes for 2 hours, and how to talk to customers, which is so important if you're going to "be the boss." It gave me an appreciation for all aspects of the industry. For example, working at Banana Republic taught me the differences between "big corporate retail" and boutiques.
Throughout my career I've traveled quite a bit (I have family in London and France) and when we go over there you can see and feel the differences even more. In Europe, they still embrace small boutiques. It's adorable, and creates a sense of community and an element of surprise for the shopper when they find things they weren't expecting. I think that our location in Grandview is much the same, and I'm proud that we're attracting similar small businesses to the area.
Ks: Absolutely I agree! How long has THREAD been in business now?
Mb: Grandview was our first store location, and we opened in 2012 across the street from our current location here. We have operated out of this larger space since 2014.
Ks: Congrats on all the success! Especially nowadays, operating in brick and mortar retail is no easy feat! What would you say is your vision for your business?
Mb: Provide an exceptional experience to our customers that they can't get anywhere else. Whether that be in store or online. A big piece of how we do that is through our partnerships with emerging designers. In this current economic climate you have to be giving people something they can't find anywhere else. If they've seen it before they can (and will) find it elsewhere. If we can deliver surprising pieces to people, create that element of surprise, and introduce them to something or someone new....our brand will be distinguishable and memorable.
Ks: I completely agree, and you can really tell that your company is a destination for emerging fashion designers. How do you cut through the retail "clutter" and brand yourself as that leader in the emerging space?
Mb: We tell a story. We dig deep into the lives and brands of designers we're considering working with to find what's truly compelling about them in the marketplace, and then we help them tell their story in our store and on our website.
And for THREAD as a company, we remain true to our identity by knowing our role in that designer's story, knowing our customer, and staying true to our values and vision.
Ks: I love that story telling piece. Of course you know at balm we lead with our story about cancer, survival, and natural living. We have a real reason and passion for doing what we do and we strive to tell that story as clearly as you have in your store. We're honored to be among your emerging talent! Thank you for helping us share our mission here.
Mb: Of course! I love balm's story. I was drawn to you because I know that being a young female entrepreneur is not an easy feat, and honestly, I wanted to help and "pay it forward." I know that if I had been given the chance to learn about my business in this way when THREAD was younger it would've been immensely insightful, so I wanted to provide that opportunity for balm.
Ks: We certainly are enjoying the partnership, thank you! How do you describe your leadership style in creating this story-telling vision and your team?
Mb: I think a strong leader knows who they are, what their business is, who their customers are...and they're willing to disrupt all of that when they know it's what the business needs. Then, I just rest on the fact that I've assembled a great team that will support those decisions. For example, taking on a skincare line like balm was, at the time, new for us. But I knew that I wanted to help, that balm was an "emerging talent”, and that we could and should collaborate with you! So we took the chance, and my team was completely on board.
Ks: I can tell just from working with all of you that you really do have a wonderful team. What's your secret to team building and management?
Mb: I let my people own their business and make their own decisions. Even as a leader, I know that I can't do this by myself. I stay humble, and I encourage growth for my people, wherever their path takes them.
Ks: These are such insightful nuggets of wisdom, thank you!
Mb: I'm thrilled for this partnership. The balm regimen looks beautiful in our store, and I love that we get to partner with you to tell your families' stories through your brand. Being an entrepreneur is the hardest thing...but it's so exciting, and totally worth the work. I'm happy to be able to help introduce Columbus to your amazing company and mission.
Ks: Thank you so much. Likewise.
Join us at THREAD's flagship store in Grandview, Ohio on Thursday, 5/25/17 for our "Movers and Shakers" event. From 6:00 - 8:30pm EST we'll be highlighting our skincare regimen as we get to know Columbus's best small businesses....and yes, we'll be doing some shopping :) For more information please visit: www.balm-skincare.com/events.