Tell me how and when everything started.
A few summers ago in San Diego, Carmen Strather and I, Stephanie Bercovitch met. We instantly clicked and have been friends ever since. Close to two years ago, she gave me a call and told me she wanted to relocate and open up a trendy fashion boutique in downtown San Diego, the exact place where we had met. Intrigued, we got to talking, and one thing lead to another and we decided to give Tease a go. Being a Canadian, I re-located to San Diego, working visa and all, and decided to mix our two styles together. With Carmen’s Duke diploma (where she studied business and marketing) and my previous marketing and entrepreneurial experience, Tease was born.
When did you first know that you wanted to be a business owner?
Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, Carmen was raised to always be a leader and take charge in the work force. Although this is her first company, she has always been very hands on, living and breathing all things Tease. In Montreal, my hometown, I already owned a previous company surrounding around the nightlife industry. With my background of throwing parties, fashion shows and brand marketing, I think I was the proper fit to help Carmen on her journey. Carmen is in charge of the day-to-day operations while I handle all of the marketing, combining the things we do in San Diego and everything for our social media to online store. Together, with some help from time to time, we both handle the buying.
Where do you get your inspiration for your shop?
Since both of us are NOT from San Diego, the idea and inspiration for Tease actually bloomed from summer travels here. Both of us could meet here to spend summer vacation and find there was a lack of “cool” boutique shops to browse. We used to travel to LA to find the clothing we wanted and thought it would work well to bring a flavor of LA to San Diego. I wanted to bring in some Montreal and NYC based brands as well and really focus on some cool, unique vintage pieces too.
What advice would you give someone considering a similar path?
We both would agree that the best piece of advice for a young entrepreneur would be to give up your sleep and never give up. Not to be cliché but we truthfully never have a break! We are constantly traveling, networking and working as hard as possible to better the store and build and brand. We are fortunate to have an amazing and hardworking staff behind us, supportive families and patient friends to help us along the way. It is always nice to have those you love close by to rely on and we will forever be appreciative.
What makes your shop unique?
Our store is unique because we sell a bunch of lines that aren’t sold anywhere else in San Diego. We have great relationships with most of our brands, something we are very proud of and look forward to continuing in the future. Besides those lines, we also have an amazing vintage selection in our physical and online stores. We go around the US & Canada finding special gems and intimate pieces to sell to our “fans.” See, that is another unique aspect of the store.
We genuinely love and respect all of our customers. Without their support, we would be nowhere. We respond to every single email, Facebook message, Tweet, Instagram comment…you name it. We love to repost and re-tweet and see people walking around in our clothing. We try to commend ourselves on having approachable staff and a strong customer service to make our clients feel as comfortable and connected as possible. We often ask around and try to get as much feedback as we can on upcoming lines we want to bring in or local designers we should pick up because we want everyone who shops in the store to be part of our Tease family. We are constantly growing and expanding and we want to share the excitement with our customers.
How would you describe your personal style?
Carmen’s personal style and mine differ greatly, I think that is one of the reasons why we work so well together. Carmen is a huge denim and Free People fan, where I am often spotted wearing leggings, graphic tees and unique pieces from some of our Aussie designers. Carmen likes to dabble with different dresses, tights and Jeffrey Campbells, where I am simple and can always be spotted in a pair of Vans, a cool maxi and a kimono…not all in one outfit of course. I ALWAYS, anytime of day, can be seen with a pair of Sunglasses where Carmen’s accessory of choice is a Rebecca Minkoff bag. We both love to get glam, who doesn’t, and we hope rock a ton of arm candy. Staying fashionable is clearly a large part of our job.
What’s next for your company?
Hmm, what a good question. Ideally I think we would love to expand the store…into mens. We get comments DAILY from so many dudes complaining that we don’t sell too many things for them. We do have some men’s accessories and graphic tees but that is something we are working hard to expand. I think that by Christmas this can be in full affect so get your wallets ready! I also think within a few years we’d like to open up a few other locations to help build the brand. Carmen wants them all to be like this but I personally would love to really grow it and open up a Tease Toddler or Tween Tease but hahaha, not everyone is on board with that idea. I am known to be a bit crazy, but sometimes a little crazy is just what a startup needs.
Thanks to Stephanie & Carmen of Tease Boutique for sharing their story.
You can visit www.teaseboutique.com for more info!