Check out Merryll Christine's interview with the ONE and ONLY ARMANI CAESAR. Learn about Armani’S boutique, how to operate a successful boutique, fashion trends this season, and how she stays so flawless.
Armani tells us a little about your online store, Ar89?
Well AR89 is an e-boutique dedicated to the "Young, Broke, & Fabulous". I've always had an infatuation with fashion and although I have my own style, I also made a hobby of replicating my favorite celeb looks. Some of my favorites to do were the Kardashians, Sara Jessica Parker, and Rihanna just to name a few. I found there were many girls like me who would do anything for their closets and spend their last just to have the same shoe or accessory they (the celebrities) had and so I wanted to bridge the gap between fashionistas on a budget and celebs. AR89 offers A-List celebrity looks for a more modest price.
Being in a saturated industry can be very competitive, what is your competitive advantage to keep your business successful?
I believe the key is marketing. Everything is based on perspective. If you give your customer an experience they can never forget they will go over and beyond to get your product or service no matter how many other competitors have the same one (Just think of the devastation you experience when you want Chic-Fil-A on a Sunday lol) Although there are many options, there’s a certain something that makes a well marketed business special. I've started off taking my marketing to another level, making sure my photos and commercials show a lifestyle and not just the clothes which are very important when branding. Once I have my potential or returning customer, I give my customers A1 customer service, I go over and beyond to make them feel appreciated and I make sure my product is one that is of quality. I take all of these things very seriously.
Do you design the clothes that are displayed on your website?
As of now I don't, I purchase from different manufacturers, I do however offer complimentary tailoring on any piece of clothing purchased from the boutique for my customers. This was something I did because all women's bodies are not the same. I have to get a lot of my clothes altered to get the perfect fit, and I believed it would set me apart and be very convenient for my customers. I'm very sincere when I say I want my customers to look their best.
What style of clothes does Ar89 carry?
AR89 carries lifestyle wear. We carry both trendy and classic pieces, athleisure wear for the girl running errands or to the gym, multi-wearable items for the girls who want a lot of bang for their buck, and loungewear. I'm the type of person who likes to get up and go on my day-to-day but I also love a well put together club outfit, so we carry BOTH and everything in between.
What would you like viewers to know about your online store?
That we are very accommodating and reliable, we treat every customer with the same respect and care we would a family member or close girlfriend, and everything you'll find on the site is dope! I spent a lot of time choosing the different items because I stand behind everything I sell, and I refuse to sell anything I wouldn't wear myself (I've actually worn every piece lol) We're in it for the long haul, I'm not just in it for the fast buck. When our customers think of AR89 I want them to think of quality, a lifestyle, a brand, not just another online boutique.
Keeping up with fashion can sometimes be overwhelming, how do you keep up with the trends?
I read fashion magazines and blogs sometimes for leisure and entertainment, but when it comes to fashion I just like to do what feels right. I think that technique has worked for me because when it comes to style, it really has nothing to do with trends. It's really about feeling comfortable in your own skin and wearing what makes you feel good and powerful. Trends come and go, but style is eternal.
What is the trend this season?
Bodysuits are definitely in. Bombers (which I wear with EVERYTHING) this season they're also playing up the colors like Nude, Grey, Black, White, and Blush Pink which I love! Tribal print is another trend I love as well.
What do you have out for your spring line?
I have lots of transitional pieces, because this weather on the East coast has been so unpredictable. I have rompers, bodysuits, bombers, tribal print, mesh tops, lots of petal pink, rompers and two pieces. All of these pieces can be worn whether it’s warm or cold out, which I love because I personally hate having to go out and buy all new stuff every season. The only difference would be the colors are more adaptable to the season because of the nudes, pale pinks, light greys etc.
As we know fashion does repeat itself. How do you know what piece of clothing to keep and what pieces to get rid of?
For a boutique when you see it in a mall, it’s probably time or almost time to get rid of it because the trend has ran its course lol.
Armani you are so talented. We know that you are an artist and now you have your own online boutique, Ar89. Tell us how do keep your skin so beautiful? What is your regime that you use on your face to keep it glowing and ready for the camera?
I used to be big on Murad, the vitamin C collection. I still am to a certain extent, but now my secret weapon is activated charcoal. I wear makeup a lot and it was hard for me to find a product that would keep my skin and pores clear without drying me out. Activated charcoal has done wonders for my skin by evening out my complexion and clearing up any breakout scars I had. I wash my face with the soap and I'll do a charcoal mask like once a week. I always moisturize at night and in the morning with a moisturizer with SPF. And I also drink lots of water.
It has been a pleasure interviewing you Armani. Everybody check out her online boutique at www.shopar89.com. Thanks.