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Blog: Beeswax

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Our Favorite Thing: Giving Back

Nina Doherty

This past weekend, Suzanne and I had the great fortune to be a part of a charity Gala event, with funds being raised to for the prevention, intervention and treatment of child abuse and neglect.    The organization is Childhelp.org – founded by two remarkable women: Sara O'Meara and Yvonne Fedderson, 58 years ago, and with their love and tireless efforts, and the dedication of their incredible staff, 10 million children have been impacted by the non-profit’s programs and services.

The Gala evening included a special award presentation by Childhelp Celebrity Ambassador, Kathie Lee Gifford (of the Today Show), honoring Childhelp’s two amazing founders, and was emceed with great humor and panache by Childhelp Celebrity Ambassador, John O’Hurley (of Seinfeld / J. Peterman fame).  John and Kathy mixed with the guests and kindly stood before a “step and repeat” backdrop for a very long time - all to generously accommodate everyone that wanted a moment to meet them (us included).

From left:  John O'Hurley, Suzanne Runyon, Joy Runyon, Kathie Lee Gifford, and Nina Doherty

From left:  John O'Hurley, Suzanne Runyon, Joy Runyon, Kathie Lee Gifford, and Nina Doherty

We also took delight in seeing many of our dear friends, co-volunteers, and even one of our beautiful Hysteria clients, Trish McHugh! Small world!  She sported an all-time favorite Hysteria necklace from jewelry designer, Jenny Bird, and it was SUPER CHIC with her long dress.  Just perfect!   Trish said about the event: “The Childhelp Shining Stars Gala was an incredible success, as was my Jenny Bird necklace – my new favorite piece from Hysteria.”

From left: Wendy Liebl, Jamie Meidhof, and Trish McHugh wearing her Jenny Bird necklace!

From left: Wendy Liebl, Jamie Meidhof, and Trish McHugh wearing her Jenny Bird necklace!

We must also give a shout out to TSALT, Tamara Saltonstall, for providing Suzanne with a beautiful long dress to wear. As for me, I went with a “Rent the Runway” option from the Georgetown RTR storefront (rent it and give it back!).  Since Hysteria doesn’t carry formalwear, we had to get a little creative as neither of us had worn a formal long dress in like…years!   I think that we enjoyed that little fancy dress moment. When you don’t do it very often, it’s pretty fun to glam up a bit.

Most importantly, some great funds were raised to save and protect the most innocent of lives, and we can’t think of a better way to be a part of our community and a part of the mission to eradicate child abuse.  Next year, we’ll be sure to send a “Save the Date” in case you’d like to join us, and we’ll keep you informed on other upcoming Childhelp DC events.  If you would like to get involved in the DC Chapter of Childhelp, feel free to contact me at:  nina@shophysteria.com.

For the love of a child…

Fashion Flashback: Easter Clothing Defined Our Approach to Style

Nina Doherty

Yes, we were those kids in perfect little matching Easter outfits from a young age.  Our mother often made our outfits herself, especially in our youngest years, when she was trying to stretch the dollars (see the video below from 1968!). I can't imagine how many hours she spent slaving over a sewing machine.  In the video we have dresses, fabric purses and scarves with cute white daisy appliques as accents - all made by our mom.  

Another year she made us beautiful white dresses with navy blue capes. That year there was an "Easter Parade" fashion show where families walked the runway (back at the original Tysons Corner Mall), and we won for best dressed. All from our mother's vision and hard work!

This approach by our mom instilled in us early that fashion can be fun and creative, and it doesn't have to come at a high cost.  We learned that you can be well put together, and well styled, without having to be a slave to high-end labels. 

You could easily say that this approach informed and shaped the way that we approach curating fashion for Hysteria. When we first acquired the store, we tried following the path of previous brands and lines, but we found over time that carrying brands that compete with bigger department stores was a recipe for going out of business, and it wasn't true to our legacy and our own habits of getting great finds at wallet-friendly prices.

On any given day, particularly before we bought Hysteria, it would not be at all unusual for us to be sporting clothing from Target, Marshall's, TJ Maxx, and Mint Condition!  It's fun to mix pieces of different price points to put together a great look.  Style is just style - and we believe that it can be both fun and practical to mix up the pieces in your wardrobe.

If you've been in the store or shopped our website lately, hopefully you've noticed this fresh approach to our buying of merchandise.  When we go to market, we think about our Hysteria clients, and we really keep you in mind when we make our selections. Mom was our first muse for fashion, and now it's you, our beautiful Hysteria customers. 

Thank you for the inspiration!

Pumped Up Kicks: How to Embrace the Sneaker Trend

Kate Snow

You've been seeing these trendy kicks everywhere. From classic Keds to modern metallic Nikes, the rise of the sneaker trend has proved that these shoes aren't just for the gym or playground anymore. With a wide variety of styles to fit every fashionista's wardrobe, these kicks can literally take you from day to night or work to play. Read on to see how this athleisure staple can help you hit the ground running in style this spring.

Work

Photos courtesy of Who What Wear & Popsugar Fashion

Long gone are the days where you have to awkwardly change out of your ratty Metro shoes into heels at your desk. Depending on your work dress code, you may be able to rock some classy, professional sneaks at the office. We love the dramatic, yet professional contrast of the white sneakers and black jumpsuit, which you could easily transition into meeting-mode with a tailored blazer. The second look, with the structured top and tasteful pencil skirt is the perfect combination of sporty yet office-appropriate. The third look is perfect for someone who works in a creative atmosphere. We love the sleek look of the classic white dress and leather jacket, yet the spunky pink kicks put the cherry on top to make this a look that is playful yet professional. 

Weekend-Wear

Photos courtesy of Glamour Fashion

Everyone knows that sneakers are perfect for leggings and athleisure, but wondering how you can incorporate them with "regular" weekend wear? We can't imagine a more perfect sightseeing outfit than this adorable striped dress, chambray shirt around the waist, and classic New Balances. So chic! When you're ready to break out the white denim, we think these brightly colored kicks in the second look are the perfectly bright addition to this otherwise neutral outfit. We think the third look, with its fun patterned top, nautical-inspired skirt, and classic kicks would be perfect for a girly brunch or shopping trip in Old Town. The print-mixing is fun and modern, yet the classic Keds pull the whole look together to keep the outfit cohesive. 

Out on the Town

Photos courtesy of Popsugar Fashion, Popsugar Fashion and Who What Wear

Any woman who has bravely graced Old Town in heels knows the utter misery of getting your stiletto stuck in the bricks or tripping over cobblestones. Next time you go out on the town, keep your heels safely at home and try some fancy sneaks instead. We love the look of this playful party dress made more casual and comfortable with classic Keds. In the second look, sneaker queen Gigi Hadid makes these Ash wedge sneakers look glam with skinny pants and a sleek leather jacket to top off her all-black outfit. The third look is perfect for a romantic date night. This floral dress with boho jacket are perfectly complemented by these black kicks. Best part is, you wouldn't have to worry about sore feet after your romantic post-dinner stroll by the water. 

4 Years of Hysteria! What a Ride!

Nina Doherty

The massive Javits Convention Center, where the buying market in NYC is held, is a daunting space! Many hours are spent up and down levels from booth, to booth, viewing apparel and accessories...

The massive Javits Convention Center, where the buying market in NYC is held, is a daunting space! Many hours are spent up and down levels from booth, to booth, viewing apparel and accessories...

One of our favorite perks of the buying market is when we get to meet the designer of a product we sell.  Here is Suzanne with one or our favorite jewelry designers - Jenny Bird!

One of our favorite perks of the buying market is when we get to meet the designer of a product we sell.  Here is Suzanne with one or our favorite jewelry designers - Jenny Bird!

From this long view, you get an idea of the length and breadth of the Javits Center.  Buyers from all around the world descend here to curate the best selections they can find to please their clients... 

From this long view, you get an idea of the length and breadth of the Javits Center.  Buyers from all around the world descend here to curate the best selections they can find to please their clients... 

4 years, and 8 buying markets ago, we started this journey as the latest proprietors of Hysteria (now an 18-year-old brand).  From the “get-go”, the responsibility of carrying on the brand “Hysteria”, was a bit daunting, to be sure. Now 4 years later, as we reflect on our time...wow…if only we knew then, what we know now!  But, then again, that’s what all small business owners say, right?  Or, to put it another way, as we often say to ourselves, “if it was easy, everyone would do it”!

One of the key things that we have learned, though it’s an intuitive notion, is that the art of buying merchandise in retail is tricky. And, for sure, our “make or break” is the decision making in “buying right” when we go to market. To answer this objective, we are always listening to YOU, our amazing and beautiful clients. You have given us invaluable feedback, support, coaching, and even the occasional shoulder to cry on! 

To be sure, fashion is FUN, but without a doubt, it is also a business. In this realm, the right formulas need to be applied, so to be a profitable and survivable business. Toward this end, early last year, we embarked on a relationship with a technology and consulting organization that has helped illuminate and manage the information we need to make sound business decisions around our merchandise buying. That strategy was behind the advent of our “reinvention” campaign, and the methodology utilized continues today.  

Though it is all well and good to crunch numbers, we as buyers, want to create the right assortment so that we can style you in a way that gives you something that you truly enjoy and value when you leave the store [“sparking joy”]. Not just something that hangs in your closet. We are mindful of trends, but we are not a slave to them.

So, as we commence on our newest year and merchandise season, what’s next?    1) We’re buying deeper and bigger in the brands that you love, and 2) we’re continuing to bring in more fun jewelry that will add that dash of spice which completes the “outfit”. Last year, with our reinvention intentions and process well in hand, we were hitting our stride. In our 2nd year of this approach, we are really picking up speed and running faster into our future. This is sure to be, by far, our best year yet!