From Cecile Oreste at danceDC
This weekend marks the two-year anniversary of Rue 14 located on 14th St. NW, just north of S St.. Owners Andrew Nguyen and Jiwon Paik-Nguyen plan to celebrate in style with champagne and cupcakes from Iza Cupcake — as well as a three-day sale.
Despite starting a new business during the troubled times of the recession, Rue 14 has been growing consistently since it opened and the Nguyens hope to expand their product offerings and eventually find a larger space.
I recently met up with Jiwon to talk about the business of fashion and to learn more about the men’s and women’s clothing boutique.
Borderstan: You and Andrew previously worked in New York for famous brands like Brooks Brothers and Ralph Lauren. What brought you to the District?
Jiwon: There is more opportunity in DC as there are not a lot of boutiques in the area. We wanted to bring a fresh, new store to DC that felt very local and not commercial. Our vision for the store was to recreate cool boutiques in New York City by offering a mix of well-known and up-and-coming designers.
We’re always on the lookout for something new and interesting. The style is forward thinking, not too cutting edge, but also not too conservative.
Borderstan: What made you choose 14th St.-Logan Circle for the location of your boutique?
Jiwon: This second floor space opened up and we jumped on the opportunity. There are so many new restaurants and businesses that have opened up in this area since we started. It has been great to be part of a growing community.
Borderstan: How often and where do you get your product? How would you describe Rue 14’s style?
Jiwon: We get new products every month. Andrew and I go to trade shows in New York, Las Vegas and other locations to find designers on the rise. We’re always on the lookout for something new and interesting. The style is forward thinking, not too cutting edge, but also not too conservative.
Borderstan: What is the biggest challenge of owning your own business? What is the best thing about it?
Jiwon: Promoting the store has been the most difficult challenge for Rue 14. We have a limited advertising budget and being on the second floor has its disadvantages. We have, however, been active in social media and also write a blog about designers we carry and about fashion trends. The best thing about owning your own business is interacting with customers and getting to know our regulars. I also enjoy setting my own hours and being my own boss.