Archive of ‘Shop Swagger’ category

WRAL Out and About Awards

I was so excited to find out that Swagger had been nominated in the Best Boutique category for the WRAL Out and About Awards.  It is always an honor to be nominated for a Voter’s Choice award!

After a day where nothing seemed to go right – starting with finding out that my favorite romper had been shrunk in the wash (sigh) to spilling an entire bottle of water inside my purse (who does that?) to many other things in between – I was a little stressed on the way to the award ceremony held at Sitti.  But I talked to my amazing store manager, Susan Rogers, all the way from Cary to Raleigh and by the time I got there I was excited to have a glass of wine and talk to the other nominees!

I remember when I first opened Swagger and would go to these events – I wouldn’t know anyone and it was always very intimidating.  Now, 14 years later, it’s like going to a class reunion:  Some of these business owners I only see once a year at an event like this, but it’s always great to catch up!  And I love seeing people I respect and businesses I love getting recognized for all their hardwork!

swagger-us-wral-outandaboutawardsOnce the award ceremony started, I wasn’t prepared for Best Boutique to be the second category called out and a little caught off guard that Swagger WON! Susan was cheering for us and I was messing with my phone – haha! I am so grateful to everyone who voted for us!


It was so fast that I didn’t have time to take a picture of the “winning slide”, but I’ll hang our award inside Swagger with pride!:) So thank you for shopping at Swagger and for loving us the way we love you!  I am forever grateful!


Lokai now at Swagger!

Honestly, I can’t go a day without seeing someone wearing a Lokai bracelet.  I love what the company stands for, and it always reminds me to “stay balanced”.  I know that seems a little cliché, but it is true.  We all have highs and lows and it is good to remember both – to stay humble and hopeful.

If you’ve never heard of a Lokai bracelet, it is a beaded bracelet made up of: one white bead filled with water from Mt. Everest, the highest place on earth, to symbolize the highs in your life, a black bead filled with mud from the dead sea, the lowest place on earth, to symbolize the lows in your life, and the rest of the bracelet consists of clear beads because we all have our story to tell.

I am a big believe in wearing things with meaning, so I was super excited when became an official Lokai store this past week!


When you purchase a Lokai, 10 percent of net profits will be dedicated to giving back to the community through a variety of charitable alliances.  So it’s a win-win!  You give a meaningful gift and a charity benefits from it – a perfect gift in my book!:)



Atlanta Market Recap

What happens in Atlanta doesn’t stay in Atlanta!:)

We just got back from one of the best gift markets I’ve attended in years!  I’m so excited about the new trends, colors, sayings, products – I just can’t wait for it all to get in! Some of my faves are:

capriblueI’m so excited Swagger will now smell like Capri Blue candles!:)

corckcicleLook at all the NEW colors for Corkcicle – we are dying!  I’m personally in love with the pastel pink, and they have a new 60 oz that will hold an entire pitcher of margaritas!  Hello fun day at the beach!!:)

mermaidtailsAnd these mermaid tail blankets are so adorable!  They actually gave me one for my daughter when I placed the order and she can’t get enough of it.  She HAS TO have it when she’s on the couch.  And I know more than kids are going to like these – it is the perfect thing to snuggle into at your beach house!


I also love all the companies that have been started to help people in need and to support charities.  Swagger already carries Bridgewater Candles, Alex and Ani, Chavez for Charity, The Giving Keys and Lilly and Laura, and are excited to start carrying several new lines including this jewelry line, The Shine Project, that helps kids become a first generation college student!


I promise to update you all when new lines come in, but just in case – start following Shop Swagger on instagram and facebook – links at the top!:)


What I’m Wearing – Holiday Edition

It’s December 1st and I can’t believe Christmas is only 24 days away!  We have so many fun things on the calendar that I’m sure the days are going to fly by!  Forget the fact that my Christmas cards aren’t ordered and that I’ve only purchased 3 gifts (eek!) – what’s really on my mind is – what am I wearing to all these events?!  Haha – you know – I don’t have a thing to wear in my closet;)

So many cute things going instore and online today that I HAD TO try them all on and make my decisions!! What do you think?

I’m pretty much infatuated with the floral dress by Everly!  I love the fit – figure flattering but not tight, the flutter sleeves and of course the pattern!  I plan on wearing it to my husband’s annual Christmas work party at Jimmy V’s – they deserve a shout out because dinner is always amazing!!  This outfit is dressy without trying too hard and is really comfy – yay for me! This year I don’t have to suffer for fashion – haha.

I also love the navy dress with the hot pink floral burnout pattern.  It is going to be perfect for a night out to dinner with our friends!  Although black IS my signature color, I do love navy on blondes – especially this time of year when most of us are pasty from not being outside – or is that just me??

Finally, one of my favorite events of the season is An Evening with Elves at Marbles Kids Museum.  Our daughter loves it and it’s really a magical night!  If you are in Raleigh and have young kids, I highly recommend making it a family tradition!  This year I plan on wearing one of our piko sweaters with a long necklace and bralette. Comfort is key since I’ll be chasing Kennedy all over the place, but I want to look cute in the pics – right?  Nothing better for that scenario than a piko sweater!

Here we are last year at A night with the Elves

Here we are last year at An Evening with Elves!

I promise to post a pic on Swagger’s social media from all our events!  Please follow us – links are in the right hand column, and send us pics of you in your Swagger holiday attire – you never know where they will end up!:)





G105 Radioathon for Bob’s Buddies

This year Swagger’s Annual Holiday Open House preview night benefitted Bob’s Buddies.  When I was approached by this organization as a potential beneficiary and learned the story about how Bob’s Buddies started, I knew Swagger had to help be a part of such a worth while cause.  Bob’s Buddies raises money for the pediatric brain cancer foundation and 100% of all donations goes to researching a cure!

I want to thank you to all of our loyal and amazing customers who came out on Thursday November 5th to shop for a cause!  The event was sold out weeks before the event and so many people told me how this event was how they kicked off their holiday shopping season!

I am honored and blessed to be able to help causes such as this through my small business, but I know I wouldn’t be able to do it without all of you, so THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!

This Wednesday, November 25th at 8 am (ish) – I will be on G105 presenting the check from our fundraiser to Bob, Erica and the rest of the showgram, so listen in to see how much we all raised for these kids!


Fall Transition Wear

I am so excited for fall since I got back from the Gift Mart, but I’ve had a bit of a conundrum.  I want to put on my favorite pair of boots, throw on a sweater dress and come to work, but since it is 100 degrees outside that isn’t going to happen! But much to my delight, the fall transition pieces I ordered came in and were hanging in my office this morning!  So even if I can’t necessarily wear them – at least I can look at them… and buy a few – of course;)

After being literally giddy about all the colors and textures my marketing manager and I realized it was time for a second episode of “What’s in Mandy’s closet” and we thought what better than one on Fall transition pieces.  And I can add a few pieces to my closet without feeling guilty – I mean, it’s for work – right?!  (Hopefully my husband doesn’t see this post or my gig is up – he kind of put me on spending probation… But again, this doesn’t count because it’s for work – right?)

So anyway – back to business.  Here is – the second episode of ‘What’s in Mandy’s Closet?” on fall transition pieces. I really loved making it and was surprised at the shockingly small numbers of takes we had.  Go Mandy. Go Mandy:)

Sooooooo – what did you think?  I particularly love the tie-dyed asymmetrical top with skinny jeans and booties – I know I’m going to be wearing that a lot!  And the olive knit dress can actually be worn now with sandals.  How do you feel about the floppy knit hats for fall?  I’m obsessed!  Whenever I see one on someone I think about how cute they look, so this season I’m jumping on the bandwagon! And I love long necklaces because they trick the eye into thinking you are taller than you actually are – and at 5’4″ – I need all the help I can get!

So just a little recap on what we are seeing for early fall trends:
1.  Boho chic – everything fringe, suede, tassles, flowy body styles
2.  The color of the year, Marsala – which is basically burgundy but they gave it a fancy name:)
3.  Floppy knit hats
4.  Tie dye – tie dye is transitioning from summer to fall in a big way so rock your inner 70’s star!

I hope this post helped you get some ideas for fall!  Bring on the cold weather!!



To market, To market

Well that was a whirlwind trip!  I absolutely love going to market – one of my favorite parts of my job – but WOW – I always feel like I got run over by a truck when I get back.  And let’s not mention the 5 lbs I usually gain from eating chocolate continuously for a week just to keep my energy up… I am seriously in food detox, but I want to eat my arm off right now. Entry back into the real world is always painful:/

This is what my store manager, Susan, and I looked like on Day 1 – it seems like an eternity ago – not just a week.  We look so fresh and ready to buy, don’t we?!  You should see us both at work today – ha!

Everyone always wonders what it is like to go to market.  Fun, of course.  But also stressful and lots of long hours.  Just ask Susan – I didn’t feed her dinner – TWICE – during the January market because we were writing orders so late.  I took it easier on her this time though – we even got to have dinner with my husband and little girl one night who were in town visiting my inlaws – so fun!

People ask me a lot of questions about buying at market – the tops ones are: What does market look like?  How do you buy?  How do you know what to buy?

I thought I would answer these for you today!
What does market look like?  Here is a pic inside one of the buildings of Americasmart.  And this one is the smallest!  There are 2 other buildings that are 18 stories high and a full city block each.  I go to market for 6 days and still can’t see everything!  The advice I got from a seasoned buyer on my very first trip to market in 2002 was this, “Look in every nook and cranny – that’s where you can find some hidden gems.” And I try really hard to do that – every market!


How do you buy? Because market is so big, I adopted the policy early on that if I see a line I like I will buy it.  I know a lot of people get pamphlets or take notes and come back to their favorites at the end of the show or they buy when they get home, but that just doesn’t work for me.  I figure if I can’t pull the trigger while I’m standing there, I don’t love it and I need to move on.  I purchase items for the 6 months following that particular market and work off an Open To Buy budget plan that I create based on sales numbers from the previous year.  There is a lot of work and planning that goes in way before I step on a plane!  I really don’t know how business owners buy if they don’t have a point of sale system with reporting.  I guess that is the engineer in me – but I love numbers – they don’t lie and they are very helpful in making decisions!

How do you know what to buy? This is a tricky one.  I just do.  That’s not to say I haven’t made mistakes before.  I’ve gotten a couple lines in over the years that I LOVED, but apparently no one else felt the same way and almost all of it went on sale.  Which is a bummer.  A BIG bummer.  But knowing when to say when and actually putting the items on sale is a characteristic of a good retailer.  Cry Uncle, give yourself a pat on the back (you tried) and get out your red pen!  You certainly don’t want to hang on to stale merchandise.  The key is to have more buying successes than failures, and the key to that is to listen to your customers!  Our customers have been asking for House of Harlow necklaces for the last 6 months, so I purchased the line this time! So if you want one – please come to Swagger!:)


I’m glad to be back in North Carolina, but I’ve got to enter in all my orders and follow up on the 900 emails I received while I was gone!  I hope you enjoyed this post and if you have any other questions for me comment below and I will try my best to answer them!