Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Name Game

We've been discussing how to go about naming the RubyMac dresses for a while.  I wanted to make it easy by giving each individual style its own name, rather than a style number.  Since I'm often the one answering when people call regarding things they've seen on our website, I know it can be kind of awkward trying to explain the item you're talking about.  Our product names are usually just descriptions, so logically, you describe the item you see in the picture.  It's so much easier when that item has a name -- the "umm... can you give me the SKU of that item?" moment is erased.  That makes it easier for all.  We've named the  fabrics as well, so if you call and tell us you want the Lundy Dress made in Pop Garden, we'll know exactly what you're talking about without you having to describe anything at all.  

Ok, so I just explained why they're named rather than telling you where the names came from.  My original idea was that we'd name them after current employees, former employees, and employees' pets (since the whole line is named after our pets).  That idea went out the window pretty fast though.  We don't have many employees, and we have a lot of dresses!  So, Siobhan and I sat down in her office with this mission in mind.  Within moments, we both had the same idea -- Let's give all of the dresses Irish and Scottish names!  We're by no means experts, so hopefully the googling of Gaelic and Celtic names in addition came up with accurate results.

McAuley is Scottish. Quigley is Irish (which is Siobhan's last name & my maiden name).
Siobhan's name is Irish.  My name (Kelin) is Irish.
Sure, eventually, we'll be down to the names that just look like a ton of vowels squished next to each other, but for right now the idea works. 

Extra:  Remember Dexter?  The cute little guy I posted a picture of in the last blog?  Well, Siobhan named him that partially because his ears are the same color as the hair of the Showtime series character Dexter.  Call me cheesy, but when we came across the names Lundy and Quinn (both of Gaelic origin), I knew it was meant to be!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

My favorite dresses...

In case you missed it, we posted photos from last weekend's shoot with Jake Simpson on facebook yesterday!  The lovely model who won our contest is Emily Sapier, and we think she did an awesome job!

These are my personal favorites:
buy this one here
We currently only have one size 4 in stock, but we can make any size you'd like upon request!

buy this one here
We currently have a 4 and a 6 available in this one. Hopefully a 2 will be arriving next week, but let us know if you'd like another size & we can make it happen!

Thanks to the folks at Cateechee Golf Club for allowing us to have our shoot there, and to  Katie Cotton for driving all the way to Georgia to do her hair and makeup magic.  Really, Katie's the best... She even boarded the golf cart with hair spray in hand to do touch-ups on the spot.  

What's the deal with RubyMac?

I've been meaning to do this for a while, and I'm sure a lot of you are wondering, "What's the deal with RubyMac?"  So, here's the story...
First, I'm sure many of you have noticed that every boutique seems to stock the same items.  It's a constant struggle to remain unique in this business, especially in a local economy that's unable to support the designer brands we used to carry (and still adore).  We spend countless hours looking for one specific thing that just has to be out there somewhere -- Just waiting for us to find it.  Sometimes we luck out, sometimes we don't.  Depending on factories in China (or any other far-away place) to send items to our vendors in order for them to reach us in time for YOUR most important events is terribly frustrating for us, and certainly for you!

So, that's the reasoning behind the development of RubyMac. The seed was first planted in my mind briefly in October of 2010.  One day Missy said to me, "How hard can it be?"  Months passed before I thought of it again.  Over the past decade that McAuley's has been in business, Anderson has changed, the economy has definitely changed, and our customers have changed.  I was becoming increasingly frustrated at the thought of being just another retail store.  That's not what McAuley's is supposed to be, but most people no longer have the means to support what McAuley's used to be.  We had to become something new.  To answer the question that gave me the idea in the first place.... Harder than you think!  The economic events of the past several years have impacted every industry differently, and apparel was hit harder than I realized.  With so many companies outsourcing both materials and manufacturing in order to save money, what we're trying to do has become more challenging than I expected.  This process has given me a greater understanding of how important it is to support local businesses and buy products made in the USA.  If you don't, they literally disappear!  That's why all of our dresses are being made right here in South Carolina.

Anyway, on to happier subjects... The name:  Fall is our busiest time of year.  Yes, busier than Christmas.  Clemson football is our biggest selling point!  That was going on at the same time I was preparing for my wedding and trying to come up with a name for our clothing line.  Then one day Missy comes to my office and says, "I know what the name is... It came to me in a dream."  A dream.  Really?  I sit and brainstorm for hours at a time and she thinks the name that came to her in a dream is going to be the winner?  I was hesitant, but I asked what it was anyway.  She said RubyMac.  I wish I could take credit for it...  It's pretty brilliant.  Ruby is my beloved Schnauzer.  Mac is Missy's Yorkie.
Our babies.  

You see, being a part of a small business (especially retail) means that you don't have a lot of personal time.  You constantly feel like you're disappointing your family, and you don't have much time for friends.  Our dogs are always there.  They don't hold grudges, and they love us unconditionally.  They say that having a pet can add years to your life, and I definitely believe it.  When I've had a horrible day, my little Ruby Doodle can still make me smile.  She hops around singing, and her entire body wiggles every single night when I get home.  Knowing that a furry little creature loves you that much is quite heart warming.

As for the logo, my friends at BlackWhisker (who also designed my Starry Night wedding invitations which are available from their Etsy shop) custom designed it for me with very little direction.  I had mentioned wanting to incorporate a sketch of Siobhan's dog Dexter in the design, but it wasn't a requirement.  I really had no idea what I wanted, or how you would incorporate a dog anyway, so when I saw it I was thrilled.  Now, I'm not a person who's typically pleased with the first draft of anything, but the outline of the dog got a true smile out of me.  Just so Dexter doesn't feel left out, here's his picture:

I initially planned on posting pictures of dresses as well, but it's getting late so I'll have to save that for after I return from fabric shopping for the next batch of RubyMac originals!  Oh, and I still have to tell you how the dresses are being named!