Chatting with Lucy (L) and Monique (M) of Babs + Mickie Co.
The vast mass that is the world wide web opens us up to so many different things; whether it be music, fashion, art, or people. Being one who basically spends their livelihood on the internet via this here blog, freelance projects and more, I find myself connecting with really amazing people via social media. This is how I was introduced to Babs + Mickie Co. The Atlanta-based women’s e-commerce store reached out to me via Twitter about a possible collaboration and I was totally into it. I really appreciated their aesthetic, and here, I am able to share the story of the women behind the brand. Read on.
Tell us the story behind Babs + Mickie Co. and how the idea of this business came about.
Monique: Randomly, it started at mutual friend’s birthday brunch. It was in West Midtown (Atlanta) and we were all just talking about our sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha. We were just getting ready to graduate and one of the things about being a student leader on campus and being in AKA is that you have this whole reputation, or this whole responsibility to be prim and proper, just a lady at all times, you know? But both of us are a little rough around the edges with that [laughs]. One of the things with me and Lucy is that we best express ourselves through clothing and style, and being ourselves, so we wanted to create an online store that kind of represented that, and that’s where the birth of the two characters came in, the “Babs” and the “Mickie”. Babs being that typical lady, like the Alpha Kappa Alpha woman, which is really poised and polished, and Mickie is more of the androgynous friend that you like to take out, the rebel, boyish part of the brand. We really wanted to have two styles that we kind of fuse together to make up those characters; to make up what a woman is. We want to make sure girls feel comfortable embracing both sides.
How would you each describe your personal style?
Lucy: I think for me, I definitely find my personal style to be androgynous. I love feminine silhouettes…I think the clothing I like has more shape to it, more geometry and cuts…more futuristic. I do like to play with different textures. I like pops of color, so you will find me in grays or blacks, or nudes; I like to play with nudes a lot, with pops of color. But at the very same time, I like to stay prim and proper, so I do have my nails done, and things like that. I like accessories; hats, sunnies, a pop of lip. I definitely think Monique is more feminine though…
Monique: I’m more comfortable. I like boyfriend jeans, but I will always throw on a pair of heels with it. I love colors, patterns; you will rarely see me in anything very tight. I like to be flowy, and loose, and comfortable. That effortless chic style, I guess is more that I go for.
What are some common misconceptions you believe the public may have of starting your own e-commerce business?
Monique: That it’s easy. That you can just put it up and people can shop online, as opposed to a brick and mortar stores where you are worried about foot traffic, depending on the city you are located in, high overhead costs of getting a building and so forth. People like to go online because 1) we are in the technology age, and 2) it just seems easier to put up a shop online, but the amount of work you have to do to make people actually go to your site, because you’re one in millions, you know? So that is the main thing, but thankfully we have so many tools like social media and so many ways to bring traffic to it, but you really have to put a bulk of your time into that, because with brick-and-mortar, you can have that foot traffic and say “Hey I like that!”, and try it on, but how are you going to get people to your website? How are you going to find out about Babs + Mickie? That’s a tough battle. I didn’t realize how tough it was until you actually get into it and you’re like “SEO and all these other things…what?”.
Lucy: It’s so much research. I believe we spent the majority of our time researching. As soon as we graduated from Georgia State in 2012, we looked at a couple of our records, and I think we opened the store six days after. Through all that time in 2012, it was just research, research, research. How to start a company? What is marketing? What is SEO? How do you find your audience? Who is your audience? It’s not just getting products and throwing them online. Our main thing is building a consistency with our brand, and discovering our customer; knowing who our customer is, what she wants, what she likes. Keeping up with trends but still having a starting point, or a point of reference. Starting an online store is NOT easy, and 80% of small businesses fail in the beginning, but you really have to do your research, and have fun with it too.
You all are an Atlanta-based business and you mentioned that there are a lot of cool new things on the fashion front for the city. What do you foresee in the future for Atlanta as a burgeoning fashion capital, and what can we expect from you both in the not-too-distant future?
Lucy: Atlanta is great for the new up-and-coming professional, entrepreneurs; so much construction going on, but from Atlanta you can expect new designers, new fun styles, more contemporary-chic, and from us, a plethora of that, going into casual, cocktail-wear, formal, business [attire]. We want to bring color and patterns to the city, and that’s what we want to do through our brand, Babs + Mickie; showing the everyday girl who loves style where she can find that, you know?
Monique: I think what is a good thing about Atlanta is that everything is just sprouting up so quickly, we’re JUST getting our Rodeo Drive with the Buckhead Shops that they’re just building up, we’re just getting our SoHo, so a lot of designers are seeing potential in Atlanta. There’s a growing market and a big media outlet, like a $1 Billion budget, so you’re going to get a lot of opportunities in the entertainment industry, and fashion is really starting to grow because people feel interested it. With that, we’re definitely going to make sure we capitalize on bringing those patterns and those colors to the city. What I loved about coming to New York is that everyone had their own style, and I feel like Atlanta has their own style, but it’s growing, so we’re really excited to take advantage of that, and provide some cool products for women to be comfortable in.
It was such a pleasure chatting with Lucy and Monique about their business. A special thank you to Lindsey Trimble for the lovely photos (website link below). Be sure to follow Babs + Mickie Co. at the following links: