POSTED ON APRIL 29, 2009:
Room for Growth
Local t-shirt company GreenHouse Clothing takes on the Web
Where Else? Schooley said that the company has only taken minimal marketing steps online, relying on the modern marketing spots of Twitter, FaceBook and MySpace to announce the opening of GreenHouseClothing.net.
I decided two weekends ago that it was time to spend the day out and about. Naturally, this meant some shopping.
I, of course, chose a rain soaked Saturday to venture out, not one of the beautiful ones we'd had the few weeks before. Still, I was feeling great. I made it to the shopping center and saw SALE in the window of my favorite store. And that's where the glory ended. Too much hustle, too much bustle, not enough "umph" in the clothing and definitely nothing worth purchasing.
I had spent the time getting ready and battling the busy weekend crowd with the intent to do some real shopping and instead I found myself back to the comforts of my home within an hour. I could have accomplished the same feat--looking at clothing--without all of the trouble had I just turned on my computer and embraced online shopping.
I have said before that I don't do much online shopping. I'm not really concerned about providing my credit card information on the net. Strong precautions are put into place for online purchases and, so long as the site looks legit, I don't fear that buying a pair of shoes online will mean my bank account will be drained.
Besides, that could just as easily happen in a retail store and I refuse to live my life in constant fear. No, really my distaste for it stems from the fact that I like the act of going out and shopping. Bouncing around from store to store and buying things that seemingly don't connect with anything else in my closet is fun. Sometimes it's a crapshoot, like the experience mentioned above, but I like knowing exactly what the garment looks like, what it feels like and, most importantly, how it fits my body. I was taught at an early age through shopping trips with my Nana that I had to try on everything. I still would never buy anything if I wasn't sure I liked how it fit. And obviously, I love that as soon as I sign my name on the credit card slip, the items are mine. There's no delay.
On the other hand, online shopping offers other opportunities. You can shop any time while only exerting the energy required to move a mouse around. You have the possibility of a wider selection since a warehouse can store more colors, shapes and sizes than any box store. The online shopping world also gives you a chance for a promo code. You can find a promo code for nearly any online retailer and get some kind of discount.
But probably the best thing about online shopping is the exposure to items to which we wouldn't otherwise have access. You can find one-of-a-kind buys on eBay, support a talented crafter on etsy.com, discover looks from across the globe or just purchase apparel from stores or designers we don't have in Tulsa.
This global shopping potential is not only appealing to consumers but to businesses themselves. One local t-shirt line has recently expanded its brand and opened an online store. GreenHouse Clothing had always planned to span the nation in small boutiques, said Bryan Schooley, one of the company's owners. Schooley, who runs the business with his brothers Tim and Jason Schooley and artist Matt Cartwright, also said the company had always intended to be online because "you have to have a Web site in this day and age." As the idea for the GreenHouse Clothing Web site came closer to fruition this past winter, the company decided to have an online store.
After finding someone who could handle all of the techie parts, building the online business GreenHouseClothing.net, Schooley said, was easy and fun. And because they already had an established business running, the Web site became their own, new boutique.
While a physical boutique might only sell some styles, the online store offered the newest designs and allowed the guys of GreenHouse to sell what they liked most. It also allowed them to expand their line. Beyond selling men's and women's t-shirts, GreenHouse Clothing now comes in toddler and kid sizes as well.
Schooley said that the company has only taken minimal marketing steps online, relying on the modern marketing spots of Twitter, Facebook and MySpace to announce the opening of GreenHouseClothing.net; but since its March 17 go-live date, the site has already reached 10,000 hits, a number that made the men of GreenHouse Clothing "giddy."
The Web site's launch and subsequent popularity have made it the central place to pick up GreenHouse gear. In fact, it's the only place, excluding one Tulsa vendor, K Renee's Uniform Closet, 5557 E. 41st St., which the Schooleys' mother owns. K Renee offers t-shirts unavailable online, and it acts as a place to pick up online orders rather than waiting for UPS to deliver. Schooley said that all deliveries usually arrive within two to three business days; GreenHouse Clothing prepared merchandise to send out right away before setting up the online store. He said that he dislikes it when he orders items online and the delivery time is so long that he forgets he purchased the item in the first place.
Buyers can also pick up their packaged GreenHouse Clothing order from K Renee's during its store hours, Monday through Thursday 9am-6pm and Friday and Saturday 10am-5pm.
Schooley said that the Web site will continue to change and grow along with the company. Using their connections throughout the nation (a brother in San Diego, a friend in Washington DC and so on), they will continue to spread the word of this Tulsa-based company. And certainly, they plan to go international. Schooley said that if UPS can ship there, so can GreenHouse Clothing.
Inventory will only continue to grow. In addition to the recent inclusion of the kid and toddler lines, Greenhouse now has stickers and koozies with the company's popular Crow City image; magnets and other chotchkies are to follow. They're also creating an accessory line with hats and stocking caps on the horizon. The t-shirt line will also grow, first with 15 to 20 new color combinations of the Crow City shirts. New graphic designs will also be arriving on the Web site seasonally so that shoppers have a reason to continue visiting the site. The company's easy-to-wear items also squelch any possibility of receiving an item that doesn't fit.
GreenHouse Clothing isn't the first and won't be the last of Tulsa fashion labels that take its wearables to the Internet. While not new frontier, it's where shopping seems most comfortable, with reports indicating online shopping continues to rise. And while I should be concerned that my acceptance of online shopping is only furthering my agoraphobia, I'd rather think that it's not me losing old places to visit but gaining new places to shop.
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