If you’re a western fashionista, one of your favorite places to shop is probably large events and rodeos, because you never know what kind of epic pieces you’ll find. There’s no doubt in our minds that a few of you have probably shopped our next boutique on more than one occasion as you’re out and about. Welcome Rolling Ranch Boutique, and owner Gretchen Hilley!
Gretchen and her mobile boutique travel all across the country, setting up at different large rodeos, and events throughout the year. We finally found a time where she wasn’t traveling between shows, to ask her some of our favorite questions!
Tell us about life before owning a boutique? What consumed your life prior to fashion?
The past 13 years of my life was consumed in an elementary classroom teaching k-5th grade. It was a wonderful experience and teaching was my heart, but it was time to move on and dedicate my time to my own family. I homeschool my 7-year-old and Rolling Ranch has allowed me the opportunity to travel and go to rodeos with my family. I no longer feel like I’m missing out on life!
What has been the most fun or exciting part of owning a boutique for you? The most challenging?
Traveling to the big events has been an absolute blast. Since I homeschool Colt, we can go and stay gone in a different state for weeks. We are currently in Oklahoma City for 31 days at the USTRC finals and the AQHA world show. It’s a great opportunity to meet new people and for Colt to see and do things he otherwise wouldn’t experience.
What’s in your closet? Do you have a go-to style?
Graphic tees and layering pieces (kimonos and dusters), paired with cute jeans!
How does your style differ from that of your boutique? Or is your boutique a reflection of your style?
My boutique is me… the rodeo mom/roping wife.
What scares you the most in life or business?
Not having a salary.
What’s your favorite retail season?
I’ve only been in business for a year, so honestly, I don’t know! 🙂
What is your favorite social network and why?
Facebook. I feel like the older crowd is on Facebook more than they’re on Instagram. I guess I’m saying I’m old!
What’s the best marketing strategy you’ve discovered?
Shows. They allow the chance to meet new people. For people to learn they actually like you and become a lifelong customer.
If you could give advice to a young person, interested in fashion, and maybe one day hoping to start their own boutique – what would you tell them?
Work hard in life. Nothing comes easy.
Owning a business is hectic, how do you unwind?
Hanging out with the family in the roping pen!
Is there anything big goals for you as a boutique owner that you are excited about reaching?
I’ve gone back and forth on this. I had big goals of achieving huge amounts of online sales and now it has hit me… I realized the point of this is to be able to homeschool Colt and go to rodeos with Casey. I’ve realized my goals are to maintain the ability to provide for my family and stay a one-woman operation. The goal is happiness!
What are some of the biggest fashion trends you’re anticipating to see at this year’s NFR?
The vintage cowboy hat look, velvet bells, serape and fringe as usual!
If you’re an NFR veteran, what’s one thing you’d recommend a Vegas -rookie to make time for while they’re in town?
Make sure to head to the Mirage for the Rodeo Vegas party when Casey Donahew is there!
Your boutique’s brand in three words…go!
Punchy, Casual, Fun
How did your boutique get started? Any fun stories behind your name?
I knew I wanted a western type name and I also knew I wanted to be mobile in a vintage camper. The name Rolling Ranch just came…
When I walk into your boutique, what is the atmosphere like, how do you hope to make your customers feel?
Fun, western, trendy, different than the normal “western” boutique.
Tell us about the women who shop at your boutique?
The rodeo mom, the team ropers wife, the barrel racer. The gal who wants to look cute, but still might be dragging a hose across the barn or turning out steers in the roping pen.
In your store now – what’s one steal and one splurge?
Steal-Slouchy Cardigan $18
Splurge- Serape Duster $62
Which brands you carry are your personal go-to’s? Customer favorites?
Kimes Ranch Jeans. Once you put a pair on, you will be in love!
What are some of the things you’re looking for when choosing a brand to carry?
Does it fit the Rolling Ranch Brand? Do I love it? Is it something my ideal customer might wear? Can it be dressed up with a western look? Is it in the retail price range of my customer?
What’s been the best marketing decision you’ve made?
Working with influencers and meeting the right people. My first month in business I met Hannah Hogner and Katie Armstrong. They did my first official photo shoot. Meeting influencers in the western industry made a big impact on the growth of Rolling Ranch.
Do you use outside models and photographers or do you keep those things in-house?
Typically I model my own clothes, but I’ve gone outside for the NFR shoot using Janzen and Katy Jade (Denim & Velvet). I also love working with Hannah Hogner!
Do you work with bloggers or influencers? If so, what do you look for in an influencer or blogger before working with them, and what kind of expectations do you have in a collaboration/partnership?
Yes! Are their followers people who fit my brand? I have found it works better to work with people you know and have met. When you already have a relationship with a person it’s an easier partner in my opinion. Plus having a relationship with someone lets you know what kind of person they are on the inside outside of the spotlight.
If your boutique dressed a celebrity daily – who would it be?
Shada Brazile… the casual version!
What a fun interview! If you’re going to be in Vegas, you can shop Rolling Ranch at the Stetson Country Christmas Show, which takes place at the Sands Convention Center!
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