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UrbanMinx Contemporary Designer Clothing Boutique in Medford Oregon Celebrates 6 Year Anniversary
UrbanMinx, a 2 million dollar a year company has survived economic storms with owner Melissa Walton at the helm. UrbanMInx.com and two designer clothing boutique locations in Medford, Oregon and downtown Bend, Oregon bring you luxurious fashion.
By: Danielle Grigsby, social media/marketing maven fo
Melissa Walton was born in London, England and she was raised in a family of fashionistas. As a child from the early age, she began dressing up in her mother's clothing who was a fashion journalist in London. Melissa at the age of 16 attended Epping Forest in London where for her A level studies. She had emphasis on French, Art, and Business and graduated at age 18.
By that time, she had already been working for two years at Harrod's Department Store, the most prestigious store in the world. At a school assembly at the age of 16, a careers advisor teacher was informing the students of various employment opportunities. When Harrod's was mentioned, Melissa nudged her friend next to her and said, "I want that one." Out of thousands of Londoners applying for jobs that day, she and 19 other lucky people were given "store approval" at the finest department store in the world, Harrod's of London, and were hired to start.
At Harrods, she was the "Saturday Girl" where she started in the small leathers department. She was given intensive training on all types of leather and sold wallets, purses, coin purses, jewelry boxes, all crafted from leather. She was trained especially on all types of leather: nubuck, suede, lamb's leather, different types of grains, treated leather, patent leather, etc. The salesgirls on the floor were a direct reflection of the store and the image Harrod's sought to project was that of the quintessential English Rose.
There was a uniform. The dress code was a white blouse, black skirt below the knee, nylons, a small heel never over 3". It was permissible to wear a colorful scarf, or a brooch or a black blazer. Every Saturday, the owner of Harrod's at the time, Muhammed Al-Fayed, would parade through the store accompanied by bagpipers in full regalia. If he found a girl with the too short a skirt or too tall a heel that would be their last Saturday.
Melissa was soon promoted to the front "oyster" counter concession.
At the age of 16 she was earning eight times her peers in East London by selling Yves Saint Laurent handbags, Chanel purses, Fendi Wallets, Mui Mui clutches at the front oyster concession counter at Harrod's. Melissa served many famous people at Harrod's frontmost counter including the likes of Bruce Willis, Barbara, Streisand, and many famous English people not the least of which is Princess Diana. Melissa recalls that Princess Diana used to come in wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses in her workout gear. Her recollection of Diana was not her beauty but her aura of innocence and realness.
Melissa moved up the ranks and eventually became a buyer at Harrod's. She was at Harrod's for four years until the age of 20 and always having been fascinated with the marketing aspect of the fashion world she went on board with Fleischman Hillard, an international marketing and pr company. At the age of 23 she was seconded to Sydney, Australia and networked in the circles of the up-and- coming Australian fashion scene. It is a high pressure, high status, a creative 7-days-a-week industry. She found herself wrapped up in a whirlwind of media and journalism. At the age of 25, she found herself to be burnt-out in a job that was a comfort trap because although she had prestige and money. The cost of living in Australia is very expensive and she had no life. She was not that happy in Australia, but she didn't want to go back to London.
As a child in London, she had always been obsessed with the American television show CHIPS and had always wanted to come to America. She dreamed that America was a treasure box of land, resources, stuff, and fun lives.When she had an opportunity to come to America, she jumped at the chance and landed in Ashland, Oregon. Sitting in the beautiful Lithia Park in Ashland, Oregon, she felt like she could breathe again. She had space for the first time in two years to rediscover her creativity which she had lost in the in the whirlwind of fashion marketing.
In America, Melissa felt inspired again and poured her creativity into interior design. Also, she felt revived by the signature American entrepreneurial spirit and support of her new American friends. It was in this environment of energy, freedom and space that the seeds for UrbanMinx began to grow. She went into interior design for about 12 months but soon she longed for fashion again. She thought to herself, "I have to get back into the rag trade again." She always missed her Harrod's days.
in 2004, UrbanMinx made its first sale in owner Melissa’s home in Ashland, Oregon. In 2005, she opened up in a small location in Ashland, Oregon. The first UrbanMinx website was built from a Yahoo shopping cart template in 2006. The second UrbanMinx site was launched in 2007. And at the end of 2010, UrbanMinx.com transformed its look with an improved third generation site. UrbanMinx now has two retail locations in Southern Oregon, and a growing online business.
During the past six years at the helm of UrbanMinx, a 2 million dollar a year company, Melissa at the tender age of 33 has weathered storms, economic and personal. Three UrbanMinx locations, one in Corvallis, Ashland and one in Sun Valley were shut down during the economic slowdown surrounding the mortgage crisis / Wall Street derivatives scandal which also affected the entire American and global economy.
In an environment of uncertainty, many of UrbanMinx's competitor's have either completely folded or been bought out by a larger entity. There is currently a monopoly that is taking place in the contemporary fashion e-commerce space. Some of UrbanMinx's competitors remaining in the smaller to midsized space are: Couturecandy.com, Revolveclothing.com, Meringueboutique.com, Tobi.com, and Unicamelrose.com.There is a polarization in fashion e-commerce. The large companies are Netaporter.com, Zappos.com, Amazon.com, Piperlime.com, Nordstrom.com, Neimanmarcus.com, and Saks.com.
This polarization is a great thing for UrbanMinx and UrbanMinx.com because it means less competition in the small to mid-sized companies range. Big business can’t be as inventive and quick to move on business trends or customers as small business can. UrbanMinx has every advantage moving forward.
With six years under her belt, the young, witty, and beautiful Melissa Walton is determined to move forward prizing her hard-fought and hard-won business lessons.For Melissa Walton, owner of UrbanMinx boutique, the fulfillment in creating intimate connections, and in touching and changing peoples' lives is at the heart of her business. Society views fashion as a superficial thing but in fact it is the polar opposite--the deepest expression of oneself offering a glimpse into their interior world. Any company in the fashion industry must to keep apace of the technological side of the fashion industry, and offer the best styles the fashion world to her customer. Melissa Walton, a champion of innovation and creativity, welcomes you to her wonderful world at UrbanMinx.com and looks forward to what the next six years will bring. UrbanMinx.com showcases the latest fashions from over 70 leading designers like Sky, Melissa shoes by Vivienne Westwood, Hale Bob, Bailey 44 and Juicy Couture.
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Danielle Grigsby of Danielle Celeste Couture is a social media and marketing maven for UrbanMinx.com. She is also fashion designer, writer and fashion blogger at http://www.danielleceleste.me. Danielle Celeste Couture offers one of a kind collectible designer couture clothing for the fashionista for whom one closet is not enough.