Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Six Things I Have Learned in the Past Six Years!

Wow! It is hard to believe it has been SIX years since I first started Longhorn Fashions as a small website. In many ways the past six years have flown by. In other ways it has been such an incredible learning experience that I feel as if the amount that I have learned in the past six years could stretch a lifetime.

Reflecting on the past six years made me jot down a few things that I have learned over these years.

1. You have to start somewhere

My favorite motto for the store is "start small, dream big." For as long as I can remember I knew I wanted to own a store, but I knew that wouldn't be possible right away.  During my first year of working in media buying and paid search at an advertising agency I was happy, but the itch to start something of my own kept creeping back. Soon my dream was back in full force and I knew I had to give it a go! Even though I couldn't go all in and open a store-front immediately, I knew I could at least start small and give it a big effort.

I decided to launch with a very small initial investment out of my personal savings. I only used a debit card so that I wouldn't get in over my head. I made my sister and friends model for me (P.S. I still love looking at these throw back pics! Y'all are literally the world's greatest.), and I didn't buy new inventory until I sold what I had. I used the profit from online sales for more inventory and kept growing the selection. I went from 8 pieces of inventory when I launched to the 1,322 that I currently have without having to take out a line of credit. My savings held me over for a while so that I didn't have to pull money out from store and I went back to work full time after the launch so that I could continue to grow the website with taking out a loan.

(The image above is what the homepage looked like in August 2010. So funny to look at now and also SO grateful that the girls in these photos still go above and beyond to support me six years later!)

2. Trust in the journey

As I continued to work full time while growing the website there were definitely points of frustration and exhaustion. So many times I wished that I could quit my job and go all in on Longhorn Fashions, but I'm actually so grateful that I wasn't able to do that right away. The hard years are what make me appreciate my store-front and the ability that I can finally do it full-time so much. I know what it took to get here and I'm never going to take it for granted.

This is what my lunch breaks at work normally looked like! I would package everything in the morning and ship them during lunch.

I also learned so much during the years of working full time while growing the website. I'm honestly not sure if the store-front would have made it if I opened it right away, because in hindsight I really had no idea what I was doing (owning that one! haha). During those years I learned valuable lessons, met incredible co-workers that still support me, and grew my customer base. I was so lucky to have loyal customers that came to my store opening because they had already been following the website for years. Those same customers continue to support me and for that, I am forever grateful!

3. Know when it is time to go all in

Turning a 1968 Airstream trailer into a boutique on wheels
There came a time when I knew I needed to be able to focus more on the store. I was having such a hard time keeping up. Shipping orders over my lunch break, adding inventory at night, finding new designers in the morning, and answering customer emails when I could find any sort of the break during the day worked for a while, but it was stressful for me as well as getting to the point that I worried about maintaining good customer service, which is paramount to me, at that pace.

The summer of 2012 I restored a vintage Airsteam trailer and turned it into a boutique on wheels. I took it to every home game that fall and the response was great! I sold apparel, accessories, and jewelry out of it and handed out thousands of cards. The sales doubled that year and I knew I wanted a permanent location by the next football season. I made this my goal and did everything I could to make that possible by August 2013. Adding the Airstream Trailer as a way to shop Longhorn Fashions and seeing your connection to being able to see inventory in person made me start to wonder if I could finally go all in.

I finally got the key to my store-front in August 2013 and it was the best day of my journey so far! Even here, I was actually still too afraid to totally quit my job and luckily I had a very supportive boss who let me work part-time remotely. My friends and husband helped me get the store-front ready in one week so that I could have it open for the first game and the response that first gameday was unbelievable. I was over the moon to have my store-front and a chance to interact with my customers in person. Thinking back on it, the store only had one real dressing room, the racks were all temporary, and it only had a fourth of the amount of inventory that is in here now, but to me it was everything and a big step up from housing all my inventory in my one bedroom apartment! My customers were so supportive that I don't remember a single person saying anything negative about the store and I was finally able to remodel it last summer.

While some of the steps were intimidating and huge investments with me, I trusted your support and wanted to grow Longhorn Fashions with you. Every big leap has grown Longhorn Fashions more and been the right thing to give you more options and better customer service.
This picture is from the first Gameday party with my long time shop gals Becca and Amelia and my fabulous intern Devin. All three of them were at the store for 2+ years and I miss them, but am so proud of them! I'm lucky to have had other great girls help over the past year including Caroline, Haley, Abby, Brooke, and Janelle! All of y'all are the best!

It isn't Gameday without cookies, hook 'em donuts, and mimosas at Longhorn Fashions!
3. Cherish your customers and support your local designers

I know that there are so many places to shop, whether it is in Austin or online, so I can't tell you how much I appreciate my customers that come back week after week and year after year. If you have a bad experience, need help on sizing, want a custom order, let me know! Keeping you as a happy and loyal customer is my first priority.

I love this collage of pictures that our customers have tagged us in. You all mean so much to me!
There are over 30 Austin designers in the store right now and it is one of my favorite things about it. I have loved getting to know the designers, many of whom are UT students or alumni! Building relationships with local designers has made all the difference. During the spring and summer, it is normally just me at the store during the week in terms of staff and that can get lonely when there are breaks in the day’s foot traffic! I went from years of having co-workers, so it has been an adjustment for me to be the only person here when it isn't football season.  I love my sales associates so much, but our hours don't overlap much during the spring and summer.  Working with local designers has really helped fill this void and I've gained some strong friendships out of it. I'm fortunate to be able to work with so many creative and driven artists!

4. Don't sweat the small stuff

My husband, family, and friends know that I have a hard time sleeping through the night because I am constantly thinking about the store. Whether it was a customer that seemed upset or an order that didn't go out on time,  I probably woke up about it. I used to replay everything in my head and I'll never forget the Christmas Eve that I full on sobbed because a customer emailed me that her order didn't arrive - even though I remember chasing the UPS man down the street to make sure he got it! I will always worry about this stuff, but I am learning to fix it and move on from it quicker. The less time I spend sweating the small stuff, the more time I can spend on making the store the best it can be.

This is my favorite picture of the store. It is from the 5th birthday and first game kickoff party last year. It was such a fun Saturday at the store! The store was full of supportive and sweet customers. It is a day that I will never forget!

5. Step outside your comfort zone

I was painfully shy growing up and public speaking is still my biggest fear. Not even public speaking, but just speaking in front of 2+ people to be honest. I start shaking uncontrollably and will fret about it for days. The store has really helped me overcome my shyness, but speaking at career days and events is still a healthy challenge for me. I force myself to do it though because it is always worth it. I have met some incredible people from saying yes to these opportunities and it gets a little easier every time.
This picture is from of the four sessions that I did at Ursuline career day this year. Each session was easier than the last and I met some amazing girls!

6. You will be thrown a lot of curve-balls, but don't give up

This summer has especially been almost non-stop curve-balls. Even during the really tough days giving up has never been an option. There is always a solution besides giving up and I plan to always find it!

On that note, it is with a heavy heart that I say this might be the last year at this location due to the building being torn down, so let's make this the best year here possible! I am confident I will find an equally great space to replace this one with, but I want to make the most out of my last year here. Let's go out with a bang! And open a new space with an even bigger bang!

I can't thank you all enough for making my dream a reality. You all are the reason that I wake up excited to come to the store. I realized there was a stretch last fall where I worked 72 days in a row (yikes! - learning to balance that more as well and it means so much that now I know I can leave the store with my amazing team if needed) and I remember when I finally had a day off I was already missing the store by nighttime. I woke up the next day refreshed and happy to be back! I am looking forward to another wonderful and hopefully busy fall here and can't wait to see you all at the shop!

I’ll be working our Le Garage Sale booth this weekend, so save the date for cookies and champagne the weekend of the first home game!

Hayley Cakes and Cookies will be making the cookies for the first game! Hope to see y'all at the shop! 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Bevo's Back To School Tips (Part 1)

(Photo Credit: Linkedin)

Welcome to August! (AKA the month that school starts for most of us!) With this post comes some friendly tips about The University of Texas at Austin campus that can be helpful whether you are a freshman student, transfer student or a student who is just returning back to the 40 acres.

Hopefully by now, you have all purchased the Big Ticket--your all access pass to every home sporting event on campus. This ticket allows you entry into football games, basketball games, baseball games and so many more athletic events. All that is required of you is to go to the Big Ticket website and purchase the ticket, decide if you want to create a friend group that allows you to have football seating by your friends, and then they will email you your print at home tickets for the football games. To get into basketball games or other sporting events, they will just scan your UT ID for entry. Pretty easy right? While the Big Ticket has closed for purchase this year, you can always purchase individual tickets to the events you wish to attend and then purchase the Big Ticket next year.

The 40 acres is a big place--thousands of students and staff are on campus every single day! They don't call it the 40 acres for nothing…you will need to invest in a good pair of walking shoes especially if you are going back and forth between classes. Trust me when I say that 10 minutes is never enough to get from Jester to Belo unless you are willing to jog a little. You can also purchase some cute t-shirts and tanks that will keep you cool walking between classes in the Texas heat. This y'all tank and tx shirt are perfect options.  My personal favorite is this Nap Queen t-shirt--super comfy and perfect for the girl that loves to nap (like myself).

While simply walking to class may not be enough for those of you who love to exercise and stay in shape, remember that you have admission with your UT ID to some fully loaded work out facilities on campus like Gregory Gym and the Rec Center. Both of these feature racquetball courts, basketball courts, weight rooms and all the machines and treadmills you could ever want. So slip on this funny running sucks tank or I slay tank and hit the gym for some healthy cardio!

(Photo Credit: Blenders and Bowls)
Extra work-out tip: Blenders and Bowls is the absolute perfect place to go after an intense workout to fill up on delicious acai bowls or smoothies. Like their website says, "Everyone seems to enjoy an acai bowl—you will see suits, spandex, strollers and backpacks at their locations." They are located in downtown Austin on 4th street and everything can be made vegan and gluten free.

Now when it is time for your classes to fully begin, your new best friend will become your agenda. For students taking twelve hours or more, it can be hard to try to mentally remember all of those test days and project due dates. Invest in a good one, one that you will actually want to write in! agendas are always a good go-to agenda and feature cute stickers to liven up the pages. They even offer small ones and large ones so you can pick the one that is perfect for you. Check out this lady of leisure classic bando agenda and the I am very busy planner.

Hopefully these few tips make your first week back to school a little more manageable and enjoyable. Keep an eye out  for the next series of Bevo's Back To School Tips and hook 'em horns! \m/

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

4th of July Fun!

Kick off your 4th of July in a completely fashion forward way! This fourth is all about not being too literal and avoid jumping for that flag bikini or American flag striped t-shirt. Show off your stripes in a patriotic way that is more creative and changes things up a little bit.

Take this made in the USA blue and white printed off the shoulder dress for example. It incorporates two of the most important colors for this holiday, but not in the way that is usually seen. Pair it with leather sandals, wedges or cowgirl boots.  To add even a more patriotic touch, add a red bandana around the neck for a pop of color.

Now, if you are wanting to dress more patriotically for the holiday and want to be a little more literal about it, look no further than this navy striped romper. Not only does it feature the red, white and blue, but it also features the stripes of the flag without looking too "flag-ish" if you know what I mean. You will be sure to stand out. A great pair of shades and some gold accent jewelry will take it to the next level.

For those of you who do not want to invest in an outfit that you believe can only be worn on the 4th, I bring you the blue and white striped off the shoulder top. This top again features two of the key colors for this holiday, but it is a great summertime top that can be worn to other events like baseball games and at the beach. To make it 4th of July ready, add some red or blue necklaces/beads.  You can even wear it with shorts, tuck it into a button down skirt or pair it with white skinny jeans and wedges! The options are endless for this cute off the shoulder top.

This 4th of July make sure to be sure your own firework! Enjoy those hotdogs and hamburgers, illegal fireworks, and the memories that are sure to be made. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Game Day Fashions!

While it might be sad to think of summer coming to an end in a little over two months, it is never too early to start planning out your outfits for the first couple of football games! On September 4, your UT Longhorns will be taking on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at home in Darrell K. Royal Stadium.

Since the first game is in the beginning of summer, the heat will still be fairly killer for the first few games. However, as we get further into football season, it will begin to cool off in the fall months around the middle of October. So make sure your wardrobe includes some burnt orange and white fashions that can fit all of the temperatures that Texas has to offer from September to December, but lets first focus on the fashions for the hotter football games.

You can never go wrong with this burnt orange tank top that is accented with white embroidery on the bottom. For an even bigger plus, it features adjustable straps and a racerback design that is sure to keep you nice and airy on those hot humid game days. Pair it with these denim lace cut offs and tan lace up gladiators and you are sure to stand out in the crowd during every touchdown celebration.

You can even use some staple pieces like those denim shorts and tan lace ups over again and pair them with different tops and accessories. For example, pair them with this white open shoulder top with a burnt orange diamond print. This top is made with medium weight woven fabric that is soft, drapes well and has no stretch so what you see is what you get! Dress it up even more with some turquoise beads around the neck.

For those of you who like to take your game day fashion to a dressier level, here is the perfect burnt orange sleeveless dress with white embroidery. This high quality burnt orange dress features white embroidery, a drop ruffle hem and double open back. It is the perfect shade of burnt orange and goes nicely with your favorite pair of cowgirl boots.

This white cut out dress is also a good choice for a hot game day. It is lightweight and will keep you cool all game long so that you can cheer on your longhorns for the entire game. To dress it up further you can add some burnt orange jewelry like bracelets to add a little color to the overall outfit but that won't take away too much attention from the beautiful cut outs.

Now, some people may want to take a more laid back approach with their game day fashions. Longhorn Fashions has the perfect tees and rompers that will keep you comfortable and cool. Try out this burnt orange romper with pockets. The v neck design gives it a soft feminine touch. Or keep it really simple with this burnt orange short sleeved top with a round hem at the bottom. Matches perfectly with your favorite pair of jeans and boots. Trust me when I say that you will probably want to live in this tee.

Football games are the perfect way to let out your inner fashionista and express your true fashion finesse!  We cannot wait to see what outfits y'all choose and cannot wait to cheer on our guys as they bring home a win. Hook 'em horns! \m/ 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Sizzilin’ Summer Style the Longhorn Fashions Way

With the last round of finals ending and graduation ceremonies coming to a close, the sweet smells of summer are beginning to enter the air. Summer brings about a sense of freedom and rebellion that becomes present everywhere—even in fashion. Simple relaxation and fun are always a must in the summertime, but who says you can't have a little fun with your wardrobe over these next few sunny months?

For those relaxing days where you want to sit around in some comfy clothes or go for a rejuvenating jog (fast-ish walk in my case) around Lady Bird Lake, you can always turn to those cute but comfy T-shirts and tanks. Pair this Running Sucks tankYALL tank or LOVE shirt with some leggings and tennis shoes and you'll be set!

The X Games are coming to the Circuit of the Americas in a few days so you might be looking for something a little more dressy that still has a high comfort factor. Rompers are always a good outfit to turn to because they can be dressed up with bandannas, layered necklaces, hats and who could forget a pair of cute sandals as seen with this navy floral romper, burgundy romper, and light blue romper.

While summer has its relaxing time and carefree festivals, there are still
events like weddings and formal parties that require a little more pizzazz and the real wow factor when it comes to your outfit. Matching sets like this rust colored set are perfect for parties and can easily be matched with a pair of nude heels. This lace dress as well as the white eyelet dress look stunning in photographs and are a sure fire way of standing out.


Don't be afraid to take some risks with your fashion choices. Summer is the perfect time to experiment and see what works for you. Hopefully these quick Longhorn Fashions style tips will come in handy as your sizzilin' summer fun begins! Happy Summer! 😊 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

SXSW/Spring Break Outfit Ideas!

As March approaches we’re starting to get excited about both the South by Southwest music festival, here in Austin and spring break! These two occasions call for fun, free spirited clothing that is stylish and without being too heavy or fussy. Luckily, we’ve picked some looks for you to save you some time!

Here at Longhorn Fashions, we can’t get enough of rompers; they’re perfect for throwing on quickly over a bathing suit or layered with a cute bralette. One of our favorites, the Mint Romper, is perfect for SXSW when paired with our Beige Floppy hat and cute leather booties. The open back detailing and lightweight silk make this romper lightweight and breezy; ideal for a day spent outside in the hot Texas heat!

If bright florals are more of your style, this open back sundress is an adorable music festival look! The bright colors in this shift are perfect for the hippie-chic look that is always popular at music festivals, and the open back makes this dress light and flirty. Paired with booties or sandals and a flower crown or floppy hat and you’re good to go! For double duty, throw this dress on over your bathing suit as you go to the beach this spring break.

Perfect for this bohemian babe, this double-strapped dress is effortlessly chic and ideal for South by Southwest. The lightweight, gauzy fabric will keep you cool all day long, while maintaining your laidback vibe. Paired with sandals or cowboy boots, this look is feminine and delicate while remaining stylish and flattering. To mimic the double-straps, we recommend finishing the look with two different length dainty necklaces.

Are you a local Austinite that is proud to show off your hometown roots? If so, this next look is for you! Our comfy “Local” shirt paired with these fun tie-dye shorts are a perfect combination. Paired with our Black floppy hat and sandals, this look is chicly monochromatic and playful.

Combine a lightweight tank with brightly colored, tribal print shorts, and you’ve got one of our favorite festival looks. This whitecutout tank is perfect for warmer weather as it is lightweight and airy through its paneling. Paired with printed shorts, this look is youthful and chic while remaining comfortable and effortless. Pair this look with a long pendant necklace and bright coral purse for a winning combination!

Perfect for SXSW and spring break double duty, this silkymaxi dress is great for staying cool and while looking hot! This dress is ideal for a day at Zilker Park listening to music when paired with a floppy hat and booties; and looks great over a bathing suit or at dinner during spring break. The bright colors in this dress make it perfect for your tropical vacation, and the cut of this dress is universally flattering. Regardless how you style this piece, you’re sure to feel comfortable and stylish all day long.

For more South by Southwest looks, be sure to tune into Fox 7 this upcoming Tuesday!

Written by Devin Custalow!
Read more from Devin at Shop our SXSW/Spring Break looks in store or online at