In 2013, shortly after having my second son, a very small online shop was formed. Working from the kitchen counter and shipping from the living room, I was raising a business and my babies. As orders grew and sales increased, a brick and mortar store was opened. And then another. And then.... a third. (More locations than babies, it was getting serious). It was an extremely wild, unintentional time.
See, my background isn't anything retail. Or fashion. I'm an engineer by degree, having worked in product development roles through different industries. Growing up, one of the biggest values my dad instilled in me is "if you don't have the tool you need, make it". I'm drawn to fixing things, making things better. Making it work right.
How does that have anything to do with boutique fashion? Well, when shopping at the large markets that boutique owners go to - there was an underlying problem. Most vendors that sold boutique clothing didn't carry larger than a size large. Yes, you can read that again. Size Large. That's me, average American mom of 2 boys and the largest size most vendors sold was mine.
And that, my friends, is where my instinct to fix things comes in.
In 2015, I started designing items for the boutique that would range across sizes. Styles that came in XS through 3X. More inclusive sizing. What seemed to "just make sense" to me was something that was going against the grain of the industry. I was discouraged by so many along the way. I wasn't setting out to change the world, just trying to make my corner of it a bit more fair. And then... those items became our top sellers. Month after month after month.
So in 2017, the brand was made available to other boutiques.
Based on the success of the in-house brand, the idea of "hey maybe others are having this problem, too" helped grow into something that was sold to other boutiques. In 3 short years, the small idea grew into something that was sold in just about every state in the US, stretched into Canada, and sold at large and small retailers alike.
And then, 2020 I ventured out on my own...
You know how sometimes you go with the flow because you're just in the stream, going there? Well that was me. And I began to feel like designing and manufacturing was my jam. The realization of an entire community of women that could benefit from my love of design was calling me. And my engineering background was pulling at me to start manufacturing small batch, USA-made items. At the beginning of 2020, I left the retail stores to venture out on my own. The Warehouse became a manufacturing facility, and home base for the online operations in retail and wholesale. Having left the stores, I started over with a new brand. Having had built so much, starting over was a bit scary.
Fall of 2020 taught me that inclusivity in sizing isn't limited to 3X. There's women out there in extended sizes that had a dire need for something cute. So back to the drawing board I went, and in the fall of 2020 I launched our first ever line of extended sizes - for women 4X, 5X and 6X.
That brings us to where I am today and what The Warehouse continues to be. The center where I design, sample, and manufacture high-quality, size-inclusive, boutique apparel for all the amazing women out there.