Vendor Snap {Series} . Rack + Clutch

2016 . Vendor snap roses

We have known Emily from Rack + Clutch for about 3 years now. Jonathan frequently works on event planning and set up and when we starting helping out with Brew in the Lou, we met Emily. She is always in the height of fashion and has so much insight on to what is on trend.

Emily, take it away!

Emily truck - R and C
(Photo credit : Jeff Ponath)

Share a bit of the history of your business:

Rack + Clutch is the very first fashion truck to open in St. Louis in April of 2013. We opened with the intention of roaming around the city each day to sell women’s clothing, jewelry, handbags and accessories to employees of corporate offices and patrons of local businesses much like the food trucks. After being kicked out of downtown a few times during my first month of business and arguing with aldermen, the mayor and the street department, I was featured on the front of the Post Dispatch and on News Channel 5 discussing the problems I was having getting my small business up and running in the city. That finally got me the help I needed from the right people to run my super awesome business! We’ve been going strong ever since! My husband quit his job after I was open for a little over a year and joined me as my business partner in 2014.

Tell us a bit about your background:

I have a degree in Textiles & Apparel Management with an emphasis in Apparel Manufacturing from the University of Missouri – Columbia and worked as an assistant buyer for 2 local apparel companies in St. Louis, one with 200 retail stores and the other with 50 stores, for the first 4 years after college. I also had a few other short-term retail jobs in between cause I liked to quit every job I ever had out of frustration of working with people who just didn’t seem to understand how to make a retail business profitable. After quitting my last corporate job, I worked for a couple guys I went to college with at their men’s boutique in the Central West End as a sales girl and later as the buyer for the women’s boutique I helped them open. We ended up closing the women’s store a couple years later and I quit, once again, without a job. For the next year, I wrote my business plan, secured financing and rehabbed the truck to get it ready for business, all while cleaning houses of friends and family to make extra money so my husband didn’t think I was lazy 🙂

Emily jumper - R and C
(Photo credit : Jeff Ponath)

Tell us about your experience in St. Louis:

As I stated earlier, working with the City of St. Louis proved to be very challenging, but the people who live here have been amazing! They’re so excited to have unique business models, like our truck, in their city and they’re so supportive of my business and me personally. I had major surgery in 2015 and my husband/business partner, Jeff, had to run the truck for me while I was healing and the support we received from the local community was astounding. My customers are loyal, genuine and share my concern for the issues that plague this city and we’re working together to make St. Louis a better place to live!

What are your favorite locations in St. Louis? Personal and professional.

We love the Botanical Heights neighborhood where La Patisserie Chouquette & Olio are located and we’re in love with the people who work at and frequent the local businesses there.

We also love parking the truck at 4 Hands Brewery & Green Goose Resale. It gets super crazy on the truck at all of these locations and the business owners are inspiring, ridiculously amazing people. Our best day of sales we ever had was our grand opening at 4 Hands.

What inspires you?

Seeing my customers at the different locations we park get so excited when we show up! It reminds me that what I’m doing matters to someone and that shopping on the truck is the bright spot in someone’s day every day that we’re out on the streets.

Going to market and seeing all the new clothing for each season inspires me to change things up and keep it fresh so that no one gets bored seeing the same old stuff too.

Emily floral - R and C
(Photo credit : Jeff Ponath)

What is your favorite piece this season? 

Ooo that’s tough ’cause there’s so much stuff but I’m gonna go with black rib knit tops & dresses. Very 90’s in a good way.

What do you believe is the best timeless piece of clothing?

There are two answers to this question and the boring one is a little black dress, but it’s true! My favorite timeless piece though is a great vintage dress that fits you perfectly. Doesn’t even matter if it’s a crazy print as long as you switch up the accessories/shoes you pair with it to go with the current trends. It will always be unique & stylish. My current favorite is from Parsimonia on South Grand. She has the best vintage clothing around.

Can you share a fashion tip on what to wear to a family/portrait/senior session?

For portraits, I would say wear something classic that will look good on the wall for a few years and not something super trendy that will be out of style next season.

For senior portraits I say wear your absolute favorite looks no matter how crazy and trendy they are! You want to forever capture the feeling of where you were and what was going on in your life at the time!

Thank Emily! Make sure you stop and say Hi to Emily when you see her beautiful truck around town. To know where the truck will be each week you can check out her instagram.

Learn more about our past snaps: Accents and Absolutely In!

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