Small Business Saturday - Woolies Quality Clothier
Next up for our Small Business Saturday blog series is Woolies Quality Clothier. This company was originally started by Alisha Kurtz in 2010. Kurtz grew up in the equine industry showing in 4-H and APHA all-around events. She continued riding in college for the Utah State Equestrian Team. Kurtz continues competing in amateur events today.
Kurtz has a background working in public relations in marketing with APHA. She wrote about horses all day before deciding to go back to graduate school. She could never shake her love for horses and fashion when she came back to Utah the second time.
“When I moved back to Utah from Texas for graduate school I was having a really hard time finding fashions I liked,” Kurtz said. “I wanted to bring a little Texas to Utah, so I decided to start my own shop in January 2010. At the time, I operated under the name Dos Gringas Collection. DGC stayed pretty small, and I sold product on Facebook, at in-home parties, all the reining horse shows I went to, and barrel races. In June 2015, a month before Andy I got married, I rebranded to Woolies Quality Clothier that you know today.”
Kurtz wanted her company to have a very creative and unique name. It took a multitude of people to come up with Woolies Quality Clothier.
“When I was planning to rebrand, I knew I wanted a name that was classic and fit the western lifestyle I love, live, and promote,” Kurtz said. “I also wanted a name that could have an icon that represented the name as well. My family and some close friends all put together name ideas for me. My mother-in-law actually came up with Woolies. The minute I heard it, I knew it was the one. The design firm that did my logo talked me into adding the Quality Clothier on the end. And thus, Woolies Quality Clothier was born.”
Being a business owner and a mother can be tough, but there are benefits. Kurtz enjoys the chance to be a stay at home mother and work when she needs to.
“Every day is different,” Kurtz said. “I love being able to work the hours that work best for me and when I am most motivated. It also means the world to me to be able to stay at home with my 18-month-old daughter. The days get long, but I am so thankful I never have to miss anything about her growing up. Additionally, I really enjoy doing shows and getting to meet and converse with all my customers. I have always been an extremely shy and introverted person with social anxiety. I love that owning Woolies has forced me to step outside of all my comfort zones. I have been able to meet some really rad people and my favorite people ever because of Woolies.”
Relying on yourself to be your boss can be challenging. Making the big step from your business being a side job to a full time job is also difficult for most people.
“I think the biggest challenge I have had is that I did it as a side gig for so long that I never had the time to truly focus on building it to be as big as possible,” Kurtz said. “I’ve been doing it full time since June 2015, and the difference is incredible. Every year gets better and better.”
Kurtz met Matt and Amanda Kimes at the WESA market. She tried on the jeans and fell in love. She was asked to set up a booth at the AQHA Novice Championship Show in 2013 and was hooked after that. KRJ has been her top seller ever since.
“My favorite thing about Kimes Ranch Jeans is that they truly are exceptionally versatile,” Kurtz said. “I only sell items that I wear myself and believe in. With that said, I only own one pair of pants that are not Kimes Ranch. From working horses, to running errands, to dinner dates, my Kimes Jeans cover it all. My personal favorite is the Lola Soho. That jean is magic and truly fits any occasion.”
Every business owner has a piece of advice for others wanting to take their same path. For Kurtz, the work has been difficult, but completely worth every minute.
“Don’t be afraid to work,” Kurtz said. “The Instagram scroll of boutique life looks glamorous, but in reality it is a lot of hard work. Every NFR booth you walk past took days to set up. My booth is made up of 13 panels that weigh about 100 pounds each. Super glamorous. That’s just the set up. That doesn’t take in to account all the time spent planning, merchandising, inputting inventory, shipping, etc. You’re going to lose a lot of sleep, hair, and years, but you’re going to get to watch your dream become a reality.
Check out Woolies Quality Clothing on the links and social media handles below!
Facebook - @wooliesqualityclothier
Instagram - @wearwoolies
~ Courtney Hall, photos courtesy of Alisha Kurtz