GOTG Profile: Josie Lee of RIRE Boutique
By Chantel Elder
Chantel: Let’s start right with Rire Boutique (2522 J Street) – how did the store come about?
JOSIE LEE: I used to have a fashion blog where I would post an outfit of the days (#OOTD). One company sent me a pair of shorts to wear, take photos, and post about it. However, the shorts arrived damaged and the company was going to send me a new pair until they saw I was one of their bloggers. They asked that I host a giveaway and give those as a prize. I was shocked and realized that if a company could survive while doing such an unethical business practices then I could also run a business (not doing unethical practices). Originally I was just going to sell online but I chanced on finding the East Sac Mercantile (sort of a co-op) and rented out space. Over a year and a half, I expanded my space twice. I felt like I expanded as much as I could and realized that many of my customers were visiting from midtown. The next logical step was to move to where my customers were!
CE: Describe your first memorable outfit:
JL: The earliest outfit I ever remember putting together was a t-shirt, jeans, and red suspenders. I loved those red suspenders and felt so awesome wearing them!! I was about 5 years old. One of my favorite shows at the time was Family Matters, that might have had something to do with it…
CE: What fashion trends are happening right now that makes you oh-so-happy:
JL: Skater dresses and skater skirts. I love them so much! They were not as common when I started my business and I tried to learn to sew to make my own (was not successful!) but now they’re everywhere and I love it! I also like that many brands are offering longer hem lines.
CE: If you could have anyone (in the world) shop in your store who would you be most excited about:
JL: Jess from Hapa Time. I stumbled upon her blog when she was very new (I think she was blogging for about three months or so) and started following her. She followed me back too!! She is amazing, talented, beautiful and has amazing style! Her sister takes the most beautiful photos! I would be really excited because I got to watch her blow up in the fashion blog world! She now flies around the world to attend events, photo shoots, all for her blog! She does live a couple hours away so it COULD happen! It would be very amazing if it did!
CE: While all the grid’s little boutiques have similar business models, they all have their own vibe. Describe the inspiration behind your shop and what style of clothes can be found in your space:
JL: I really wanted my shop to feel open, feminine, girly, but also down to earth, real, and comfortable. I want everyone to come in and feel like there is no pressure, I want it to be a relaxed shopping experience. This can also describe the styles I carry. I have a lot of clothing that can be worn to both work and out. A lot of the clothes are feminine and flattering on multiple body types. While I like to have trendy items, I make sure they’re not too extreme so that people can wear them for multiple seasons.
When you aren’t working you can be found … relaxing at home! I’ve been working nonstop every day, I think my two dogs are upset with me because I hardly see them!
Favorite local spot on the grid: RyuJin Ramen House
Article of clothing you couldn’t live without: Cardigans!!! I love them!
Current fashion trend you would like to see go away: Rompers only because I can’t pull that style off.
Fast forward five years, what do you hope to be doing? I’m not quite sure where but it’d be cool if I could expand and open another location!