Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Chatting with fellow fashionista and Black & Bold owner, Tara Pierce.

Photo: Agnus Rup

Approaching its first anniversary, Black & Bold has become a shopping sanctuary in Jasper Avenue’s boutique community near 124 Street. Owner Tara Pierce has worked hard to create a chic and edgy shop filled with beautiful basics and salivating splurges. Here, she shares her insights into owning her own business.
FYI>>>On Friday, November 6th Black and Bold is hosting its One Year Anniversary Party including music, appetizers, champagne and most importantly… Sales! Be sure to stop by at 12220 Jasper Avenue.

What inspired you to open Black & Bold? My mom asked me what it would be that I would regret not trying if I were old and sitting in a nursing home at the end of the rope. I knew it was this dream. I quit my job randomly, so I would just do it; I needed to let go of the edge so to speak.
As for the concept of the store – my mom, sister and I all liked to go shopping together, but I found we all liked different stores. I decided I wanted a store that a mother and daughter could go shopping and both find themselves not just one piece, but complete outfits. I have quite a group of mothers and daughters that come into the store. So I think I’ve nailed that part.
As much as we all like to explore different colors and prints – we all go back to basic black. It’s basic for that reason – it never fails. Either our jobs require it, or our figures look great in it, and it always looks sharp.
Then there is the name of the store – I get asked a lot why I chose what I did. Black & Bold… I just wanted something simple yet intriguing. And in my store if it isn’t black, it is bold whether it be in the colour, the print, the texture, or the silhouette of a piece.
It’s about clothes that are fun, yet practical, daring, but sophisticated, casual or dressy. Letting a girl be the girl she wants to portray to the people on the street, her coworkers and her friends.
What’s been the biggest challenge so far of owning your own business? Not enough hours in a day? I have a constant running list, it’s never ending. Keeping my head above water in challenging economic times has been difficult, but I need challenges. It pushes me to be ready. Let’s face it – it’s been a tough year even for established businesses, and I opened a month right before the whole recession thing came about. I’ll admit it, there were mornings where I woke up and wondered what the heck I’d gotten myself into, but I know I still wouldn’t have done it any other way. I wouldn’t fail because it wasn’t an option. I’m very proud to have made it into year two.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job? I love seeing different girls add their personal style to each item that I’ve brought into the store. It’s always fun to see girls run out of the store on the phone extremely excited about their latest purchase or talking busily to their companion about how the piece is exactly what they wanted and how much fun they had shopping; I love overhearing girls talk about Black & Bold to their friends a table over when I’m out.
But maybe the most rewarding part is that I have met a lot of different girls who have been coming into the store the past year, who are now good friends, each one of them great people. It’s the people that keep me going and make things interesting.
Is there one item you regret selling and wish you kept for yourself? Easy. Last fall there was this jewel-toned pink, red and purple fitted wool trench with a stand-up collar and black leather belt – LOVED IT. I could only get one ordered for the store and I felt too guilty to keep it for myself. The day it sold I was quite sad. Yes, I kept a picture of it.
How do you define your own personal style? Eclectic. Modern prints combined with classic cuts. Sweet girl frills and ruffles mixed with rocker chic studs and leather. Rags and riches - together. One day maybe ripped jeans, t-shirt, flats and the next four-inch heels, fitted dress and pearls, but I always have something shiny. I’m like a squirrel when it comes to shiny objects.
I always like to think a stylish woman must always look like she is en route to the most marvelous day or evening of her life. Even if she is just wearing jeans.
What’s your vision for Black & Bold in say, five years? Wow…fives years. I take things one day, one week, maybe a couple months at a time but five years? I’ve accomplished so much in just this one year that I’m really starting to believe the sky is the limit. For real. I mean, less than two years ago I was sitting around daydreaming about this store and this career, but now I’m living it! I hope to be running a full show, bigger, better; whatever I dream up next!

Finally, what should every girl have in her closet for fall 2009? A bigger closet. But no, seriously, that’s a really tough question this season. Fall always brings so much, and I feel this year especially there are just so many silhouettes, colours and textures. It’s really a great time in fashion to truly bring out your own personal style. I think people sometimes forget that – just because it’s the hottest trend does not mean you have to have it or have to be wearing it.
Figure out what it is about the trend you truly like. Take all the band jackets that are in right now and maybe the overall trend doesn’t look good on you. But does the cut of the jacket look good? Maybe the fabric isn’t your color or maybe it’s the placement of the embellishments. Once you’ve figured that out, you’re golden and can find that piece that’s going to look fabulous on YOU. Eighty per cent of looking fabulous is knowing you are personally rocking your ensemble.
My personal must haves for this season though? Definitely leather and lace, even worn together. Skirts, jackets, pants, dresses, gloves and more.
I truly believe style is a deeply personal expression of who you are, and every time you dress, you are asserting a part of yourself for the world to see. It’s about being you.

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