Many of you who are long-time Horseshoe shoppers have surely met Jill, Horseshoe's owner and founder and the original Horseshoe Gal! Since Jill opened the store 12 years ago, much at Horseshoe has changed but so much has also stayed the same. While trends come and go, Horseshoe remains committed to providing women with shopping experiences where they can develop their personal styles and find those timeless pieces they'll keep forever. Keep reading to learn about how Jill decided to open Horseshoe, what her all-time favorite Horseshoe pieces are, and what pieces she's most excited about for fall!
Why did you decide to open your own store?
I’d worked in women’s fashion retail for sixteen years prior and knew through my experiences that this was the industry I was most passionate about. I had always envisioned that I would one day open my own store but wasn’t looking to do so at the time it happened. I innocently spied a small retail space that had just come up for lease. I was quite intrigued by it and my husband encouraged me to look into it and the rest is history.
What are the biggest challenges and biggest rewards that come from owning a small boutique?
There are so many challenges and rewards in owning your own business and they change as time goes by. In the beginning the biggest challenge was getting customers to find the shop & have a reason to come back. Exposure is essential to your survival. The other biggest challenge is finding creative ways to fund the business. Unfortunately there’s not a lot of support from financial institutions when you are a new small business owner.
The biggest reward has always remained the same and that’s being part of a community. I have such deep gratitude for all the customers who walk through Horseshoe’s doors time after time. It is truly an honor to get to do a job that I love so much and through it meet so many amazing people.
Jill wearing a favorite print blouse from Weston Wear.
How would you describe Horseshoe’s aesthetic?
From the beginning I always described Horseshoe’s aesthetic as being captured by the Donnie & Marie lyric, “It’s a little bit country & a little bit rock ‘n roll.”
What this means to me is while our décor is filled with antiques from farmer Americana roots our products are contemporary; the juxtaposition of the two seems to work in harmony.
What is your average workday at Horseshoe like?
My average workday depends on the day since my responsibilities vary. Most days start with some basic operational tasks such as answering emails, paying bills, following up on miscellaneous things & of course, catching up with the team. Some days we have buying appointments in the store or I’ll be writing orders for future seasons. I’m responsible for the voice of our social media so I’m often working on creating new content. Additionally, I’m responsible for shophorsehoe.com which involves weekly photographing, editing & uploading our new arrivals to be featured on shophorseshoe.com
Here, Jill wears a favorite blouse by The Odells and a 70s-style pair of jeans from Mother Denim.
How would you describe your personal style?
I need to feel a balance of masculine and feminine energy with the pieces I wear together. Essentially, I will wear jeans with blouses and jackets to keep the look less dressy or I’ll put a denim jacket over a dress or with a skirt. The element of denim in my wardrobe keeps me feeling grounded and more like myself.
What are your 7 all-time favorite Horseshoe pieces that you own?
This is such hard question to answer because things change a lot in fashion and I’ve shopped here for the past twelve years. :) I’d have to say in the past few years some of my go-to fav’s are: Mother Denim Vagabond Ripped Jeans, Etienne Marcel Military Jacket, Maguire Workman’s Denim Jacket, BB Dakota Black Leather Jacket, Veronica M. Jogger pantsuit, Molly Debiak stud earrings with ear jackets & Chikahisa Studio Elemental Six Triangle Necklace.
Jill rocking her favorite army jacket from Etienne Marcel and Chikahisa Studio's Elemental Six Triangles Necklace.
What essentials should every Horseshoe Gal have in her closet?
A great pair of skinny jeans & a great pair of rigid denim jeans, a favorite white & black t-shirt, a blouse that makes you feel pretty, a classic blazer or structured jacket, a cashmere sweater in a neutral tone, a sexy pantsuit, a little black dress, at least one denim jacket (if not three), an army jacket, a bomber jacket, a stylish hoodie, a tailored leather jacket in black or brown, statement earrings, a signature ring, go-to necklaces (short & long), a great pair of sandals & boots and a signature leather handbag.
What are your favorite Horseshoe brands?
This tends to change by season and often with fashion trends, but I’d have to say some of my tried-and-true favorite brands are Mother Denim, Velvet, Bella Dahl, Bailey 44, Molly Debiak & The Odells.
How has your style evolved since you opened the store?
When the store opened 12 years ago fashions were a lot different and I was a lot younger. I would say that my evolution has been true to my own personal style which has evolved into collecting more classic pieces into my wardrobe. I’m more focused now on buying solid colors, where in the past I was obsessed with prints. I’ve always preferred to wear pants, or more specifically jeans. I truly feel more like myself when I am wearing denim in some form. Additionally, I’ve always loved wearing jackets and have a pretty solid collection to date. Statement earrings have always been my thing and I feel I’ve completed my outfit when I add this finishing touch.
What are some of your hobbies?
I do love to craft! I’ll dabble in a lot of different things but my main passions are creating jewelry and practicing knitting.
Jill sporting her beloved Workman's Denim Jacket by Maguire, a Veronica M pantsuit, and statement pair of Jill Renae earrings.
What’s your favorite Ballard restaurant?
This is a tough question to answer because I love food and Ballard has so many great restaurants. I’d have to say that The Walrus & the Carpenter is a favorite mainly for its ambience, great cocktails and oysters galore! It’s my & my husband’s favorite summer date-night spot.
What Horseshoe pieces are currently on your wish list?
Since we’re always looking at products a season ahead my current wish list is filled with new delights for Fall 2018. Everything by Mother Denim without question. We are welcoming Michael Stars back into our fold and they have a menswear plaid jacket and pant that is quite sharp, among other lovelies. There are some structured jackets coming in from a new brand named Caara that really are quite special. A favorite past designer, Corey Lynn Calter, is back on the scene and her collection is a wow! Repeat Cashmere created some of the most beautiful cashmere sweaters and it will hard to say no to adding them to my personal collection. It’s going to be a good fall season!