Monday, August 29, 2011

Get Like Me: Blake Scotland

Aspiring to break into the fashion industry or simply intrigued by it? Well LoveBrownSugar has something for ya! Our “Get Like Me” series highlights exclusive interviews with industry insiders from celebrity stylists to fashion designers, editors, fashion PR heads & more!

From Eve's character "Shelly" on Eve to Stacey Dash's protagonist "Val" on Single Ladies, the life of a boutique owner has often been glamorized as one chock full of super chic clothing, celebrity clientele, and being the head chick in charge. But contrary to popular belief, a lot of blood, sweat and tears go into making a boutique successful - especially in the Big Apple. This week's "Get Like Me" feature is young entrepreneur and boutique owner Blake Scotland. Cited as one of Hello Beautiful's 30 under 30, Blake opened her lower east Side storefront in the worst of economic times but found a way to make it work and thrive. Check out what she had to say:

Name: Blake Scotland
Location: Almost always can be found at or around 62 Clinton Street, NY NY 10002
Personal Style in 3 Words: comfortable, androgynous, deconstructed
Favorite Designer(s): Acne, All Saints, One Teaspoon, Mara Hoffman and Balenciaga.
Must-Have Accessory: My Givenchy messenger bag - I've had it going on 2 years now and still feel as passionate about its functionality and design as the day I bought it.

When & why did you decide to open your boutique?
I decided in February 2009 that if I could do anything I would own a store. To me, it represented a dream job, maybe in the same way that for others being an actress or singer represents a reach. There was this moment where I thought to myself: "Other people have figured out how to make this happen. This is possible." So I set about researching the process and taking realistic first steps to put things in motion.

Were you scared to start your own business?
I definitely had some fear. But I reminded myself that fear is not a good reason either to do or not to do anything. At the time that I opened (Spring 2009) the economy was in bad shape all around and business was scary for everyone. I told myself that people were not necessarily 'safe' in corporate jobs so this shouldn't present a tremendously different anxiety. Of course, I felt it anyway.

How does Blake Scotland, the boutique, reflect Blake Scotland the person?
I feel like so much of my personality comes out in the store. At this moment I would wear every single women's piece that we carry (and more than a few of the men's). Everything is comfortable, multi-functional, durable, fun and understated in a certain way. The store itself is warm, welcoming and quirky. We (my friend and colleague Amaris) and I hand-pick all of the music. We're so excited and passionate about music, constantly searching for things that are new, international, just .. different - James Blake, Rusko, Maluca, Gold Panda. We play things based on what we find on a given day, how we feel. The store itself also changes as we take and display photos. In so many ways the store is us.

Most rewarding experience of your career thus far?
The most rewarding experience has been seeing the store make it to the one year mark, knowing how much time, energy, patience, endurance it took to get here. Our rebranding/reopening coincided with our one year anniversary and seeing the incredible turnout, reading the positive press has reinforced that we continue to move in the right direction. We also love an excited return customer!

Where do you see Blake Scotland in 5 years?
I just want the store to continue to grow and to explore new avenues for growth. We've just finished building an incredible webstore BlakeScotland.com. I see the webstore thriving, opening new locations. I'd love a store in LA, a boutique in London. The possibilities are only limited by our ability to stick with it and think outside the box..

3 Pieces of advice for aspiring boutique owners?

1. Be realistic about the costs (remembering to consider how you'll provide for yourself during those very early days ha)
2. Be prepared to make tremendous sacrifices with regard to your personal life and general lifestyle.
3. I struggle with this also - but pause to appreciate and enjoy the process!

What's in your purse?
Right now: Dior creme de gloss (lipstick) in Rouge Dior, an inhaler, sunglasses, $20, digital camera, 2 blow pops I bought last night to give as a gift to this boy I like...

If you're in the NYC area, check out Blake Scotland at 62 Clinton Street, NY NY 10002. For those of you not in the neighborhood, you can also shop the store online at BlakeScotland.com. For Blake's updates, follow her on Twitter @BlakeScotland.
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  1. I love this feature! A great new reason to visit LBS daily and Blake is inspirational.

  2. Loving the series! Keep them coming oh and we must get together during Fashion Week!

  3. I find this very inspirational & true. I am also a small boutique owner & just opend a couple months ago so it's always good to hear others stories!!!


  4. another inspiring post! My sister and i have a goal of owning a store together someday. i definitely took something away from this. Keep the get like me posts coming!