Rory Boyd is the owner of Sussie’s in Frisco, Texas. Sussie’s is the mecca for all things fabulous. From cocktail dresses to colored denim (a current FIG favorite), Sussie’s has it all. Don’t know what to wear to your next event? No worries, Rory can help. Rory has an extraordinary eye for style and knows how to use it. We sat down with Rory to get the scoop on life as a boutique owner. Her journey to success is below.
What is the story behind the name Sussie’s?
RB: I had a partner whose nickname was Sussie. It means surprise. We were young and thought it would be a great name.
FIG: When did Sussie’s open?
RB: We originally started out in Dallas in 1976. It was just a little tiny t-shirt shop. It was kind of in the Lake Highlands area. We opened the store in Frisco in 1977.
FIG: Describe your store in 5 words.
RB: My store is not really a store and it’s not really a boutique. It’s more of a relationship driven experience.
FIG: So do you find a lot of your customers are repeat customers?
RB: The grandmothers who shopped with me 34 years ago are still customers and so are their daughters, and now their granddaughters. It’s a multi-generational store. It’s old school. When I get new product in, I call my customers and I buy with them in mind. They come in and get their wardrobes here, and I enjoy dressing them. I have customers call me on my cell and say “I am standing in my closet- I have an event tonight and I have no idea what I am going to wear.” I am able to style them over the phone because I have helped to create their wardrobes.
FIG: Do you host any in-store events? If so, are there any coming up?
RB: We have two major sales each year. Our summer sale starts June 15th and we offer 50% off Spring/Summer merchandise. We also host Milly and Trina Turk trunk show once a year.
FIG: How has Sussie’s transformed over the years?
RB: I started out with lower price point clothing. We supplied the basics like t-shirts, jeans and also focused on children’s wear. I was 27 with a two year old daughter when I opened this store, so children’s wear was important to me. But as the moms in their 30’s and 40’s started coming in, my children’s clothing focus evolved into more of a missy driven business, which was what the mom’s were looking for. In 2000 contemporary designers emerged in the fashion industry in a revolutionary way. I never stamped myself a certain way and because of that I was able to change with the times and my focus became contemporary. The only thing consistent in this industry is that it changes often. I decided that I was going to pick lines that were going to last, which is what I have always done. Lines that were classic and vintage inspired. Lines people could wear forever. Fashion always changes, but hopefully the lines have the ability to change with it.
So what do you look for in a line to carry in your store?
RB: Quality. I look at the inside of the garment; I see how it is made, that is very important to me. My uncle was a designer in New York in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. He instilled the importance of quality in a garment in me and I have instilled that in my customers. I also look for consistency in fit. I’m very honest when my customers come in. I intentionally purchase pieces in a select size range, with my customer’s body types in mind. If you see something here in only a 0, 2, or 4, that is the body type it best fits. I do the same thing for a size 6, 8, or 10. I understand that my customers are my advertisements. Someone asked me the other day if I thought the jeans she was trying on were too tight and I told her no. She said “oh you’re just saying that,” but in reality I don’t need to sell a pair of jeans so bad that I would to lie to you and have you look bad when you walk out of here. I want my customers to look good.
FIG: If you could give one piece of advice to someone opening a store, what would it be?
RB: You need to know who your customer is going to be before you open up a store.
FIG: How long have you bought at FIG?
RB: Since they opened!
FIG: What do you love most about buying at FIG? What ways do you find markets at FIG unique to a buyer?
RB: Oh it’s just so easy. I love the honesty and the spirit of FIG. When you walk in the door you just feel so comfortable. I love the ease of navigation and the youthfulness of it. I love that everyone there is so knowledgeable. You just get that garmento mentality at some other markets. FIG is great though. I love everything about it. I mostly love that I can drive up, valet, walk a few steps and I am in the building. It is easy. It is cheerful.
FIG: What are your top selling lines?
RB: I have sold Trina Turk for 11 years. I have sold Milly for about the same length of time. Those are staples for me. I have carried Rebecca Taylor for 11 years. Haute Hippie, Vince, Joie. As long as they remain fresh, I like to stay with my lines. I like to have relationships with my vendors and my sales reps. But every single thing I buy, I buy at FIG.
FIG: What are your favorite pieces this season?
RB: For spring I was initially afraid of all the color. My favorite colors are black, brown, grey and neutrals. That said, I have been really pleasantly surprised at how fun it has been to put all the colors together. To put red and orange together has been great and I am looking forward to the fall season having more color.
FIG: What style or trend have you seen consistently over the years?
RB: I do tremendous business in dresses. I think they’re fun, and in uncertain economic times, they provide more value for the money than separates. As I said before, I like more classic and vintage inspired designers because they last for more than a season. Milly, Trina and Rebecca Taylor all interpret vintage designs beautifully in their collections.
FIG: If your customers wanted to buy 5 staple pieces, what would you recommend?
RB: I would recommend a great black dress; a great pair of well-cut jeans; a great jacket; a great cardigan; a great pair of shoes. Bracelets are also a must.
FIG: What is your favorite piece in your own closet?
RB: I love my jewelry and I love my shoes. I do have a great Rebecca Taylor silk chemise that I could never get rid of. I love chemises. My other favorite thing I wear a lot is Vince. I love just about everything they make.
FIG: Who is your biggest fashion inspiration?
RB: It is just such an individual thing. I just look at things and I either like it or I don’t. I like the bodies of Chanel and I like the shape. I think the shape of what they do is so phenomenal and it is not just for one
FIG: Outside of Sussie’s, where is your favorite city and store to shop?
RB: I like vintage clothing stores.