Small Business: Blue Jean Baby on Tulsa's Cherry Street
BY KYLE ARNOLD World Staff Writer
Saturday, October 20, 2012
10/20/12 at 4:57 AM
Complete coverage of Tulsa’s small businesses: Go online to find out the biggest mistake people make when choosing a pair of jeans, and read profiles of other local small businesses.
It's not easy to survive a year as an independent retailer on Cherry Street.
And it's no easier with a focus as simple as blue jeans.
But Tulsan Sheridan Gaton is now working on her second year of business at the Blue Jean Baby store at 1602 E. 15th St, advising men and women on how important a simple pair of denim pants can be. The store also carries other fashion items including dresses, shirts, jewelry and accessories.
Gaton, a University of Oklahoma graduate, started the boutique after working in social media marketing and web content, but seems to have found a fit in the fashion world.
So far, it's just Gaton and one other employee keeping the store running five days a week.
Gaton took a few minutes to answer some questions for the Tulsa World about her store and its first year in business:
Why did you choose a concept focused on denim?
Denim is such a staple in American fashion, and is something that we have worn and will continue to wear for years to come. There are so many fantastic denim lines made in the USA, and there really is a science to great denim. People either love or hate to shop for jeans, and I wanted to provide a fresh take to shopping for denim to relieve some of the stress that often goes along with the process. It is so rewarding to help customers find a fit that makes them look and feel great, and the rest of our lines and merchandise evolved around the denim. Denim is the base that we build really beautiful casualwear around at Blue Jean Baby.
What's the biggest revelation you had during your first year as a small business owner?
I don't know that I realized how many different hats I would be wearing as a small business owner. The success of the store, and all that entails relies so heavily on me, and that is what has kept me so driven and inspired throughout the first year. I've learned through a lot of trial and error, and am beginning to find what works best for us and our customers. The entire process, from buying to bookkeeping, has been a huge learning experience, and a very rewarding one.
What adjustments are you making to put Blue Jean Baby on solid ground for long-term success?
We have and continue to expand from being primarily denim, to carrying everything that you would find in boutiques without a specialty in merchandise. We are providing more options to our customers, therefore allowing us to expand our client base. Most importantly, we continue to build relationships with customers.
Customer service has been the most important element of this business from day one, and furthermore, getting to know our clients so that they feel comfortable and excited to shop with us. We have started a loyalty program to give our clients more incentive to shop here, and continue to reach out to the community by working with other businesses and organizations.
Why did you choose to open up Blue Jean Baby on Cherry Street, one of the area’s most popular, but most competitive retail districts?
While Cherry Street is one of Tulsa’s historic areas and is already very well established, I felt that we were moving to the area at a very exciting time. The street is really evolving with new national franchises and locally owned businesses, adding to the charm and character that I love so much about this area. Being on Cherry Street has given us great exposure and possibility for growth, and has really allowed us to grow the business organically alongside some of the most successful and supportive small business owners. Cherry Street’s merchants have provided me with a great sense of community that has been so important throughout the first year.
What’s the biggest mistake that people make when choosing a pair of jeans?
The biggest mistake people make is choosing a fit that is not complimentary to their shape. Knowing the way that certain fits, washes and lengths effect the way that jeans fit one’s body makes a huge difference in the way people feel in a pair of jeans.
Finding the right fit and fabric, and being open to having jeans tailored to fit your body perfectly are the easiest steps to finding a well fitting jean that will be a staple in your closet for years.
Blue Jean Baby
Owner: Sheridan Gaton
Date established: 2011
Address: 1602 E. 15th St., Tulsa
Workforce size: 2
Description: Boutique specializing in denim and other fashions and accessories
Original Print Headline: Keeping it simple
Kyle Arnold 918-581-8380
Sheridan Gaton is seen at her store, Blue Jean Baby, on Cherry Street in Tulsa. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World