Urban Outfitters in Portland and a Great Local Blog

Woman's Display

As many of you know Urban Outfitters opened this past Thursday in the old Pavilion in the Old Port. I for one was very excited when I heard this was happening. I remember growing up on the south shore in Massachusetts and going into Boston with friends or family and always wanted to hit up Urban Outfitters while we were there. I loved the variety of home goods, clothes, books, and novelty items.. Now I know that it is a chain, and here in Portland we’re pretty anti chain. I appreciate the fact that there are local, independently owned businesses here. It’s something that makes our city special. So I do have a bit of guilt about being happy about this addition. But I’m not gonna lie, I love this store and love that it’s hear.

I walked around last night to scope it out. Such fun stuff! Flats with animals, glittery tops, colored skinny jeans, scarves, jewelry trees, lip gloss, records, the list goes on! I found some really fun stuff that I look forward to going back and purchasing.

Ashley Jordan is the Woman’s Department Manager at the new store. She has a great local blog called Sweet William. She has documented her own thrift finds with personal photos and also writes about style trends and other things going on in the world of fashion. I was able to do a little interview with her about her new position, her blog, and her own style. Read!

You went to FIT and have had various job in the fashion industry. Talk about your background a little bit and why you decided to go into this industry.

I have always worked in retail. My first retail job was at 16, so I’ve been in the industry for 10 years. I didn’t know right away that I wanted to build my career around fashion. I have always loved clothes and shopping but it wasn’t until college that I started merchandising and seeing the different paths fashion could take. After I graduated from USM, I decided to go to FIT to for a post grad merchandising program. I spent a few years afterwards as a visual manager with a large corporate retailer. I continued to do some buying and merchandising for a local business. I most recently worked for Akari assisting the buyer for the boutique and merchandising the store. I also led the sales team and was part of the management team. I loved working with more high end designers and building an assortment that would be appealing to the wide range of clients at Akari. During this time, I began doing some freelance personal styling and wardrobe consulting. I also spend a lot of time volunteering with Dress For Success and Goodwill, with a large focus on SWAPmaine. Currently, I am working for Urban Outfitters as the Women’s Department Manager. I have been with the company for about a month and we opened the store Thursday!

Besides my love for clothes and shopping, I wanted to go into this industry because I believe that clothes are more than just something you put on your body. They are a way to show off your personality and can greatly change how you feel about yourself and your confidence levels. I think it is important for everyone to be able to feel the change inside when you know how to wear clothes for your body. I feel it is important to help educate people.
Tell us a little about your blog, SweetWilliam. When and why did you decide to start it?
 I started my blog on my first day of work at Akari. I had been working for a company for a few years where I was not allowed to express myself. I had lots of clothes I had accumulated over years that I did not get to wear very often, or at all. At Akari, the only thing we couldn’t wear were jeans. I decided I was going to challenge myself to not wearing the same outfit and not buying anything new for 30 days. It was a piece of cake. I went on to do it for a year. I used my blog as a style diary. After the challenge was over, I have been using it to show my inspirations and my outfits and hope to inspire others with my tips and the things I am inspired by.
You also provide a styling service. What’s your favorite thing about doing that?
My favorite thing about providing styling services is seeing the way you can change how people feel about themselves. It is about great clothing and taking risks and building your own personal style, but it is always about building self confidence. It is a good feeling when you can show someone who thinks it doesn’t matter what you put on your body that it really does matter and see the change in them.
You will be working at the new Urban Outfitters in Portland. What is it about that store that drew you to the position?
Urban Outfitters is different than any other corporate retailer that I have come across. Everyone from the top management to a part time sales person has a say in what goes on in the store and takes on a lot of responsibility. Everything in the store is made in house and specific to the store and the area that it is in. The company is filled with creative people who get to show off their talents in the store. In my position as the Women’s Department Manager, I am in charge of how every women’s item is selling. They treat each manager as a business owner of that department and give you the responsibility to make the decisions to run the business. It is a company that values the opinions of their staff, as well as creativity and the arts, and wants to help out and be a part of the community that they are in.
Describe your personal style.
My personal style is always changing. I love to try things and take risks. I like to break the rules. I wear things that might make me look shorter or is the wrong color for my skin tone, but if I like it and I am drawn to it, I want to give it a try. I feel that at this age, I want to experiment and see what style really work for me. As I get older, I think I will figure out what works best for me and you will see a more refined wardrobe. But for know, it is all about having fun, experimenting, and taking risks.
What are your favorite places to shop?
I love to thrift shop and vintage shop. If you read my blog, you will see that Goodwill is one of my favorite places to shop. I think you can find very items that look very current and you know that not everyone else will be wearing it and not to mention it is very inexpensive. I am a bargain shopper at heart and love to shop sale racks. It mostly stems from not having much money to spend on clothes, but it is always about the thrill of the find and seeing how much you can get for very little money. I love to browse through Black Parrot. It is one of my favorite stores, but a little out of my reach at the moment. It is an aspirational and inspirational place for me. I also love the denim selection at Bliss, not to mention they have great shoes and basics. There really isn’t a bad store downtown. I love to stop in frequently to see what is new. And of course, I do like Urban Outfitters. It is a bit more fashion forward than the stores you would find at the mall with good prices points.
What other blogs do you read religiously?
Man Repeller, Fore Front Fashion, WhoWhatWear, Refinery29, The Glamourai, B Jones Style, Honestly WTF, Into the Gloss, What I Wore, and sooooo many more!
Thanks Ashley!
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