Hi Jeannie! How are you?
Jeannie- I'm Good! Its nice to finally talk to you in person!
Meg Haus- I know its so cool! OK so, first question is an easy one. When did @ripleyandrue officially start on Instagram?
Jeannie- Well, I started the girls' Instagram account in May 2016 and I was just posting kinda cutesy pictures of them in the bandanas that I was sewing at the time, but we hadn't officially opened a store yet. So August 2016 was when we officially announced our store, and became Ripley+Rue as a brand.
Meg Haus- How did you choose the niche for your product style?
Jeannie- I really like to think of R+R style as an extension of my style, you know prints and designs that I love and wanna put on my dogs. I originally started making my own bandanas, because A it was something easy for me to start sewing, and B because I couldn't find what I wanted from other stores. The pet store styles seemed kind of stale, and I wasn't huge into the Instagram realm yet so I didn't see all these awesome products. And of course my product style is always evolving, but I really try to keep it BRIGHT, BOLD, and COLORFUL! Also, so people can differentiate my brand from my competitors.
My goal is that when some one sees my accessories they go "Oh that's RIPLEY+RUE!"
Meg Haus- I can definitely point you out in a line up!
Jeannie- That's good that's good! But yea, like I said there's tons of awesome shops out there, and some of which are very similar, but I hope we can offer products that attract people that love this specific style and probably could be my best friend or something. (Jeannie laughs)
Meg Haus- Yea, your brand definitely really stood out to us when we first discovered each other and I just remember the colors being so bright and happy. When did we find each other, I cant remember.
Jeannie- You know what? I remember what it was! It was the post that you did, you tagged us in a post about being different. It was that post you did directed towards other shop owners. It was pretty epic to me, what you said, and I remember I messaged you after that. You know, of course that stood out to me because in hind sight that was something I had been going through and it really related to me.
Meg Haus- That actually brings me to my next question. Since that's how you and I kind of connected originally was, dealing with the whole Instagram drama thing, and when you start an IG business you don't realize how touchy things are. Once you start an IG pet account whether personal or business, you rise in popularity and its not always nice comments coming in. Sometimes jealousy takes over and people start to comment not so nice things. Jeannie, how have you dealt with the Instagram drama that comes with running an IG business?
Jeannie- You know, coming in as a new Instagram business, it wasn't something I expected at all. Here I am coming onto IG to see cute puppy posts, and post my new products that I have been working so hard on and unfortunately have met some some surprising actions of accounts that you don't think you'll ever encounter. I guess the best way to describe it is sort of virtual high school drama. These are the things that you didn't think you would see again. Smaller drama can eventually lead to cyber bullying and I've witnessed this from other accounts. I feel like there's going to be some sort of documentary about this! (both laugh and agree) The biggest issue I see is between competing shops. These shops are doing their own thing and they're killin' it, but I think the actual drama occurs when followers of those shops get involved.
Meg Haus- Right, its like a little army of minions that are sticking up for a specific shop blindly, not knowing how much they're hurting the victim.
Jeannie- Yea, and honestly as a shop owner I feel like I can kind of care less about that stuff. You know, we're so busy trying to design, fulfill orders, you know run a business which is really really hard. Its like, we don't have time for this drama. But at the same time, when its pulled in front of you, you almost feel like you have to be involved.
My advice to new shop owners, you know what I've done, I just reject it. I don't acknowledge it, I don't feed into it, and I feel like it should pass. I feel like if you're genuine and true to your business, you'll succeed.
Meg Haus- One thing I've always said is Instagram business is really the same as huge well known companies. You're going to have a Hyundai and a Honda. Both are similar silver cars, both run well, but some people will be drawn to what is on the inside of one car versus the other. What matters is whats on the inside and how that company is run and how they build their cars. Some one is always going to choose one car over the other and that's just how things work.
Jeannie- Yea totally, I mean a shop isnt one size fits all. Everyone has to relate or have a specific feeling with that shop. Theres plenty of shops and people to go around and it works because people like options. Like you said, Hyundai Honda, Target Walmart. Just like us, you know you dont buy your clothes from just one boutique. Yea, i think theres plenty to go around.
Meg Haus- Lets dive a little bit in to your personal experience you have had with Ripley+Rue cyber bullying....
Stay tuned for PartII of Series I / Girl Boss Diaries
Written/Edited by Meg Haus - Founder/Owner - Haus of Hound
This was a closed interview with Jeannie Founder/Owner of Ripley+Rue
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