Anniversary Countdown: August

About three years ago, I got a call from the store. It went something like this.

Store: I think we just got the wrong shoes. They can’t be for us.
Elizabeth: What do they look like?
Store: Nothing you would ever order.
Elizabeth: What do they look like?
Store: They are a smoking shoe by Same Edelman with rose gold studs all over.
Elizabeth: I ordered those and I want a pair.
Store: Oh. Really? You are going to wear them?

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So, I will admit they aren’t my typical style. They were also at the beginning of the smoking shoe trend–it was a little out of the norm for what we have. But I love them. They go with everything and are so comfortable. I will say they sold out quickly which shows when I go on buying trips I should not be afraid to buy a little outside my comfort zone. Now I would never think twice about buying studs or smoking slippers for the store!

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Inspiration: County Fair Style

So, if you read Alexandria Stylebook, you discovered yesterday that Brad and I took the kids to the Richmond County Fair–which they have now declared an annual family tradition, one I am happy to oblige. While at the fair, I decided I needed photos of these chickens based upon the fact that they would make cool fabric/patterns for clothes. Inspiration county fair style.

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What do you think? Doesn’t the last photo look like a DVF dress print?

And this one was just funny looking. The white part is his head!

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All About Kelly Wynne

To share with you our excitement for the new-to-the-Hive line of handbags by Kelly Wynne (and in preparation for our trunk show in late September), we got an exclusive interview with the designer!

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What were you doing before you launched your handbag line? How did you get started in the industry?

I grew up in Austin, TX and graduated from Ole Miss in 2009 with a degree in graphic design. That’s really where my creative “design wheels” started turning. Mississippi is my home away from home. Most of my extended family resides in the Delta, and I grew up cheering on the Rebels at many football games each year.

After college, I moved back to Texas and worked in public relations for 3 years before pursuing my dream of designing handbags. I love all accessories because accessorizing is the best way to jazz up any outfit! I couldn’t let go of the idea of designing a collection. I began researching, sketching, and meeting with various professionals in the fashion industry. One thing led to another, and my dream of designing handbags became reality. I finally decided to go for it!

Being a graphic designer before this venture has definitely been helpful in creating the logo and any marketing materials we have needed. I wanted a subtle logo which I feel like I accomplished because I have many people asking me what the logo means. I spent many nights sketching and brainstorming ideas before decided on the “K” and the “W”. Once the logo was finalized, I was really excited about the next steps in designing these handbags.

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There are many styles of everyday bags i.e. tote, crossbody, hobo, etc. What is your favorite style for everyday use? Which is your favorite from your collection?

My favorite style for everyday use is our “Paint the Town” Tote. I have never been a tote person, but ever since I started producing my own line, it has been my go-to bag! It has two pockets on the outside, which is perfect for you iPhone – no more digging! We also included pockets on the inside for your lip gloss, pens, subway card, etc. It is so functional, yet chic! My favorite color combination for fall is our Whiskey Black Serpentine. You don’t have to worry about wearing black or brown boots because this bag will go with both!

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Tell us a bit about your production i.e. where are they produced, what type of materials do you use and where do they come from, etc.

I wanted to start a fresh and contemporary handbag line with a mid-range price point inspired by the stingray look. I love stingray, but it can be very pricey. I started developing unique printed leathers that mimic exotics in a luxe and eye-catching way. There are two printed styles from my first collection, the Lizard which is comprised of repeating dots and the Serpentine which is a splattered look, both on printed suede. The printed suede is a different, unique texture. It feels so soft and wonderful! We will be adding new prints in future collections. The possibilities are endless!

All of our bags are handcrafted in New York City. It has been the most amazing experience working with suppliers in the US. I love knowing exactly who I am dealing with on a day-to-day basis. I can’t imagine trying to accomplish my goals overseas. My favorite part about this whole process has been meeting so many different people. Of course, I face daily challenges and am always problem solving, but I am satisfied with my ultimate decision to have the bags produced in the US. I love being able to support jobs in the US, especially when so many designers have their bags manufactured overseas.

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What and/or who has inspired your designs?

Like I mentioned in my previous answer, the stingray was my original inspiration when designing these unique leathers. Since then, I have tried to look for luxe patterns in nature & interiors that catch my eye. I am able to work from these natural patterns and develop my own putting the Kelly Wynne twist on a new design.

The person who inspires me is my mother. She is a go-getter and one of the most intelligent women I have ever met. There are also a few designers that inspire me by their story… Rebecca Minkoff, Tory Burch, Coco Chanel, & Kate Spade.

What is one piece of fashion advice you were given that you’d like to pass along?

The one piece of advice I have been given that’s really hit home is don’t be influenced by others’ design suggestions. Every friend, family, co-worker has an opinion about how to do things and how to “make it better.” It is important to follow your own design ideas and let your creativity flourish! Otherwise you’ll become too generic and set yourself up for failure.

**Our Kelly Wynne trunk show will take place Thursday, September 26 through Sunday, September 29.

Prepping for Tonight’s Photo Shoot

We are getting ready for another photo shoot for Alexandria Stylebook tonight, and it can be a stressful process. As our models are real people, they have busy schedules and are often not able to try on and pick looks prior to arriving. We pull as much as possible–of course keeping in mind the model’s personal style preferences and sizes–and just keep our fingers crossed that it all comes together. Thus far, it has come together beautifully every single time.

I can’t tell you yet who our model is (pictures will be posted to our Facebook page later this evening) but she wears clothes beautifully and has a lot of personality in front of the camera. That relieves a little of the pressure. Also, we have officially transitioned to pre-fall and fall which means we have plenty of options in her size. Toward the end of summer, as our sale product flew out of the store, we had much less to choose from. So, keeping in mind that I will likely arrive at the studio tonight with 15+ pairs of shoes and bags of jewelry, here’s my starting point:

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The Clayton by Aerin is one of my favorite styles this fall. It doesn’t get more versatile than this. The boot is slimming, and the heel height is comfortable yet flattering to everyone.

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We keep bringing the Lillian by Vera Wang Lavender back because it’s just that good. We typically photograph our models in heels (their choice) but having options and variety is important at photo shoots. This luxurious ballet slipper will definitely be making the ride to the studio tonight.

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I don’t know that we’ll do a riding boot just yet (still too warm to think about it), but again, I have to have options. Our classic Kiernan by Tory Burch is likely the only one I’ll bring though. Especially since I already have Aerin’s Clayton.

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Finally, I always bring a “back-up” shoe–the one pair that will go with anything, look good on everyone, and work for any time of night or day. That’s the Vince Camuto Margarita in black.

What do you think? Is there another pair you think I should bring from our fall and pre-fall collections?

Introducing Leghila…The New “It” Bag

Introducing the newest bag label at The Shoe Hive: Leghila. Made of the very best neoprene, these bags combine the greatest resistance with extreme softness. And the manufacturing process is absolutely cruelty free. The bags come in a variety of color combinations, of which we will receive the white/lime green, orange/white, blue/turquoise, red/violet and white/blue.

The bags are made using a unique “raw-cut edge,” a technique that the company was the first to apply and patent. The zips, chains and all other accessories are 100% made in Italy and anallergic.

The best part about these bags? They are machine washable at 30 degrees water temperature. You do have to follow specific instructions though.

– Remove the chain.
– Reverse the bag and insert it in the washing bag (that comes with your purchase).
– Put the washing bag in the washing machine.
– Wash it at 30 degrees.
– Do not bleach or iron.

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Customer Guest Blog: Sidewalk Sale Recap

I was one of the first at the Shoe Hive on Saturday morning. Arriving a full 30 minutes before they were to open at 9 a.m. the shop was already buzzing with customers. I laughed as I heard some women rush down the street to the entrance saying, “We are early and they have already started!” They were obviously ready to get their favorite designers at a great price. Another friend I ran into asked if a pair of shoes that she had her eye on was still there. She had to work and was going over as quick as her day was done to snatch them up.

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I really liked the way the Hive had their tables arranged. It was not a percentage discount. I am terrible at math, and calculating 40% off, 60% off, etc. is not a quick process for me. In the time it takes me to pull out my phone calculator and come up with the price, my picks could be gone. At the Hive, there was a $25 table,  a $35 table, and a $50 table. No calculating! Just pick your shoe, try it, and enjoy your deal.

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Later on as I was enjoying a bit of lunch, I watched shoppers pass by. It seemed that everyone was carrying a bag with “The Shoe Hive” logo. I eyed with just a bit of jealousy those who were carrying two or three bags!  I could just imagine all the Marc Joseph, Kate Spade, and Sam Edelman creations that would soon find a home in other closets and not mine. No worries, though. I know where the best shoe boutique in Alexandria is. I will be back!