This week, we present you Member Ellen Vellez, from ReWilde Store. Ellen is a graduate from our last cohort of Accelerate HER PEI Program!
Name of Business: ReWilde Store: Body Confident Clothing for Men and Women
What kind of work did you do in the past and what inspired you to start your own business?
My previous careers were that of a Counselor and also a Professional Latin Dance Competitor and Instructor. I opened a Dance Studio here on Island for a few years, but that was shut down due to Covid. After 20+ years of being self employed, I had to go back to a regular 9-5. After a while, my entrepreneurial spirit started stirring and I wanted to do something completely different. I had always an interest in fashion, doing my own thing style-wise and was into anything that helped empower and increase a women's confidence. I also grew up in NYC, one of the fashion capitals of the world, so it was a bit of a natural next big business step to open a clothing store.
How long have you owned your business?
ReWilde opened this past October, after spending a few months securing a location, renovating it, finding the best designers and working hard on making it a really beautiful spot to welcome clients into.
What have your challenges been? How did you overcome them?
The store is located at Spinnakers Landing in Summerside. Initially, I had intended for the store to be open year round so I did some winterizing + was using four space heaters. With the building not being insulated, and it's been super cold, the store was too cold to welcome customers, much less expect them to actually wanna try clothes on. I had to come up with something different for the meantime.
So I created an online store for ReWilde which offers shipping + delivery. Also in the works are personal development workshops, pop up events, fashion shows and private shopping parties. I'm also working on specially curated style boxes for my customers. Overall I think the challenge has been great because it really forced me to think even more out of the creative box and fine-tune my business model...and get ReWilde to be a clothing store that really gives her customers what they want and need.
What have your successes been?
I would say just taking the initial risk and opening up a business at this time, in the middle of a pandemic, is one of my successes. Usually I'm pretty okay with going head to head with a new challenge, but even I thought this was a pretty risky move, especially with it being a retail store, and to some degree, in the tourism industry. But, even with opening the store "late" in October and it introducing an edgier side for clothing in the Summerside area, I've had a pretty great reception from customers and guests.
Any unexpected surprises?
Yes, most surprisingly was how well received men's fashion was --- meaning from the men! I knew that my men's line was amazing and unique and something that definitely all my female clients would love for the men in their lives. But the men...! Seemed they've been secretly hoping for some style to come their way.
What services does your business provide?
Essentially, ReWilde sells clothing and accessories for both men and women. But the store's philosophy is that you're gonna be your best self and do amazing things when you feel great, believe in yourself and you also look great, meaning the clothes and how you carry yourself. So ReWilde offers clothing that's going to help you with that. The clothing is for all shapes and sizes, from XS to 3XL...pants and jeans from 1-13 (women) and 28-42 (men). Throughout the year, but more so in the off-season, the store also hosts workshops for you to increase your confidence and presentation skills.
Why are your services better than your competitors? What sets you apart?
ReWilde sells completely new clothing; it is not a consignment or thrift store. So you're getting better than just "new to you"...and I think sometimes (especially us women and moms) we need to "top shelf" ourselves more often and know we are worthy of brand new, luxury and exclusive. Also, the designers + suppliers have been specially chosen and come from Canada, Europe and the States, so you're getting some unique brands to wear, not the common ones you see around. And since I purchase items in limited quantities, you really get to strut around wearing an exclusive look. But like I said earlier, the thing that sets ReWilde apart is that I carry a range of sizes, up to 3XL. I really feel it's important, for every BODY to look and feel amazing.
What areas do you serve?
ReWilde is located in Summerside at Spinnaker's Landing (the orange cottage). The store offers delivery for those clients who shop at our online store and live in the Prince County area. Or, if you are further out on the Island or worldwide, ReWilde offers shipping for online purchases.
How can people contact you?