We were happy to introduce Alisha, owner of Ivy & Vine Clothing Co. through our my B.O.B. campaign on Instagram! This campaign brings awareness to Black businesses from the owner's perspective. At blackbox we believe it's important to know the vision and purpose behind a business. Through our blog, we can dig deeper into their stories and provide a fuller perspective with you!
After her daughter was born in 2015, along with having to do a lot of online shopping, Alisha had a hard time finding things she wanted for her baby. So she took matters into her own hands and created an affordable marketplace for women and children; Ivy & Vine was born!
You mentioned shopping for your newborn daughter online while on maternity leave. What was it that you were looking for and couldn't find that prompted you to start Ivy & Vine?
The main thing that I shopped for in the beginning were unique headbands and bows. There were some cute items out there, but they were so expensive. I remember buying about 4 headbands one day and my shopping cart total came up to $103. I wanted to provide a good quality product that was more economical for families. Most moms on maternity leave are on a budget, but you still want to be able to buy nice things for your kids.
What steps did you take to launch your online boutique?
I started researching brands that I wanted to work with, based on the quality of the product and of course the cost. I attended a few webinars and used my experience as a previous business owner to help we with the web development and e- commerce side of it.
I wanted to be a one stop shop for accessories for girls and women, but have the store be heavily influenced by the products that I loved. I love sunglasses, so I started there. I ordered samples of the sunglasses that I liked for myself and made sure that they were sturdy. I still do that now. I only stock accessories that I would wear on a daily basis. The process was the same for the headbands for little girls. I also stock graphic tees that are original designs. The graphic tees were inspired by my love for travel and Southern culture.
Looking back on your business, what would you do differently if you had a do-over?
I would invest more in manufacturing my own products instead of buying wholesale. When you manufacture your own products, you increase your profit margin and put yourself in position to wholesale to others. You are also creating a legacy for your business and family. The products that I have created are something that my children can be proud of and make profit from in years to come.
What do you love most about Ivy & Vine?
I love that what you see is what you get. If you see a product on our website, that's exactly what it will look like when you get it in the mail. We have all been victims of the bait and switch. We give you exactly what you are expecting to have.
What do you have planned for your business in 2018?
I plan to add more travel related products to our inventory. I would like to collaborate more with travel bloggers to promote my passport covers and map necklaces in 2018. I am also working on product placement in local boutiques.
It was such a pleasure learning more about Alisha's desire to provide a quality, affordable fashion collection for moms and children. We are wishing her much growth and success with Ivy & Vine. We can't wait to see the new items coming in 2018!