Posted: Feb 10 2016
With a background in multichannel retail consulting at McKinsey and Company and an MBA from Wharton, this smarty pants mama is flipping retail on its head with a collection of well curated, upscale pop-up shops featuring women-owned businesses and brands.
Hillary Crittendon and her partner, Laura Martin, created The Brandshop to connect emerging brands with relevant consumers, tastemakers and media outlets. The Brandshop is more than just a shopping experience. In every aspect, the founders focus to celebrate and support the talented women behind the brands through their speaker series and events surrounding the pop-up.
Follow @thebrndshop on Instagram to stay up-to-date on upcoming Brandshop events!
Read our exclusive Q&A with co-founder Hillary below. Plus, shop her impeccable #momstyle on sale this week only!
Even the most frustrating days are made better by a smile or a joke from my funny, sweet boy. I think it’s easy to get caught up in challenges at work, or at home, with family or with friends, and being a mom puts those challenges into perspective and makes me thankful every day.
I’ve become more patient and forgiving. I try to cut others slack, because I often find I need friends or colleagues to return the favor. I really try to focus on time management, especially at work, because every minute I’m surfing the internet instead of being productive, is a minute I don’t get to spend being with my family or friends (or occasionally working out!).
I breastfed for 5-months. And I give myself credit for every day of those 5 months—I was lucky that it worked for us but it is not always easy! I remember at one point having 2-month old Hamill, working hard on our company & moving to a new house and I was basically breastfeeding anywhere you could think of. Wardrobe choice was key because I needed to be able to breastfeed or pump at the office, in a powder room or in my car. Anything with buttons made my life so much easier. And big scarves.
I used to wear all silk all the time which is not an option with a 21-month old. I realized quickly that I needed to invest in lines produced in more durable, forgiving fabrics that didn’t stain from water or wrinkle easily. I’ve always loved simple silhouettes and more classic styles, and I don’t think that has changed, but I take a more casual approach to dressing for each day so that I can go from a coffee meeting, to preschool, to the office, to the playground, to an art opening without having to change. I also love layers.
Brandshop is a luxury shopping event that features top emerging brands created by women. Our 3-day events allow consumers to shop these lines directly from the designers themselves, and attend parties, book-signings and a speaker series that highlights accomplished women from across the country. We’ll be holding major events in Atlanta, GA (March 17-19) and New Orleans, LA (June 2-4) featuring women like Ann Sage, Ann Mashburn, Anna Kaiser, Mary Guiliani, Sarah Easley, Gen Sohr, Kelly Sutton and Mandy Kellogg Rye among many talented others.
Laura and I have been working with emerging, luxury brands for a number of years and distribution is always a challenge, even for the best young businesses, as most have small teams and limited manpower. Brandshop is a way for us to help these promising brands expand their distribution into new markets, while giving customers in those cities access to top brands and designers who might otherwise take years to appear in an Atlanta or a Charlotte in a meaningful way.
I’ve always been interested in the intersection of bricks & mortar and online retail, and it’s really interesting to me how experience is starting to play such a major role in the way people shop. My MBA years, as well as time spent at Bonobos and McKinsey, sparked my love for retail, and interest in its dynamic consumer. It’s an ever-changing world, guided by smart consumers, so it’s important to follow and forecast strategic shifts happening across the spectrum. Laura and I feel like we are at the forefront of experiential retail through our Brandshop concept and we’re excited to scale our business and explore new channels for growth in the coming years.
I try to wake up before Hamill but that rarely happens so my mornings are often crazy, but fun. We have breakfast, I take Hamill to preschool and then off to the office. Work varies each day, whether we’re planning or traveling for an event, connecting with new brands or influencers or hosting shows in any number of our target cities. I get home around 5- dinner with Hamill. Playtime, bathtime, and then often, back to work! It’s a tough balance and I work every day to try and find the 25th hour in the day.
I look to others (like BURU founder, Morgan) for tips on this all the time. For me, I would say, try to focus on a task at hand and avoid distractions as much as possible. When you’re at work, work. When you’re at home, be with your husband and children, not distracted on your cell phone. If there are things you need in your life to make you sane or healthy (for me yoga & pilates are must-haves), put them on your calendar at the beginning of the week and try to schedule around them or they’ll always be the first thing to go.
Our home is Charlotte, NC and now that we have Hamill, we spend a lot of time here. We used to be constant weekend travelers but having a little one has allowed us to discover so many great things about Charlotte. Some favorite spots are Seventh Street Market & Duck Donuts on weekends, and (don’t kill me) we love Sycamore Brewery for the fun outdoor area where kids can run around & cool brewery scene for adults.
Mother: Champion (as in, his biggest Champion)
Business owner: Connector
Bedtime Story: Hamill doesn’t let us finish books because he knows he’ll have to go to sleep. Instead he jumps up and gets another book when we’re on the second to last page. Smart cookie.
Lullaby: I realized early on that I don’t know many lullabies so when Hamill was really little I sang Edelweiss from Sound of Music or Soft Kitty from Big Bang Theory. Now he loves those songs so the trend continues.
Vacation Spot: We spend time at Sea Island, GA in the summers and I’ll never forget Hamill trying to catch water in his mouth from the Lion-shaped fountains on the side of the baby pool
I was really nervous all through my pregnancy—that I would change, that I would lose a little bit of myself, that I wouldn’t be as good or sharp as I’d been before. Some of that happened, some didn’t. But what I didn’t realize, was that being a mother is the most wonderful thing in the world. It is a miracle and such a privilege and I instantly didn’t care about any of those fears I’d harbored for many months.
"I would rather die of passion than boredom"