Here at Holmes Custom we are passionate about small business. We often receive orders from small businesses with big goals and even cooler logos! Here in our local Jacksonville community, many small businesses are succeeding and thriving, not through sales alone, but also through relationships with their community and passion for what they do.
As part of our “The Business of Branding Series” we are featuring Grease Rags Clothing Co. for our small business spotlight. We would like to introduce you to Cindy Platt, owner of this inspiring and unique Jacksonville based small business. Cindy has just recovered her shop from damage it underwent during Hurricane Irma and she has just had her grand re-opening!
We are excited to share Cindy’s unique point of view and the trials and successes that inspired her to spread her wings and become a business owner.
Q: When did you start grease rags?
A: Grease Rags Clothing Co. celebrated its 4th year anniversary at the beginning of October.
Q: What encouraged you to open your own retro clothing shop?
A: My prior background was in corporate banking. After completing treatment for Stage 4 oral cancer, I realized a few things. My brain worked a bit differently than before and my priorities had completely changed. No more banking for me, but I had to do something to keep me busy enough on my own terms so I could stop worrying about my health. I always loved the styles but they were difficult to find unless I shopped online.
Q: What keeps you passionate about running your business?
A: There have been moments when owning a business is too taxing on my energy. I still have late effects from my previous treatment and this makes daily life a challenge quite often. In those moments when I think I can’t do it anymore, I think about the community we have built around Grease Rags Clothing Co. I think about all of the good things I can do, such as starting my non-profit organization, to help others.
The shop is a home base for all of these other activities and also a safe place for people to come and decompress from things that are bothering them in their lives. It may sound silly, but this is more than a place to buy a pretty dress and I feel both committed and honored to provide such a place to the community.
Q: What damage did Hurricane Irma do to your business?
A: The storm surge flooded our dress shop and adjoining barbershop. The property owner had a crew down the day after the storm to tear out the damaged drywall, dehumidify the building, and replace the drywall. I believe the quick action saved us from having bigger problems. Luckily, the great majority of our merchandise was not harmed. The little things I initially thought were no big deal have really added up though. Most of our furniture had to be thrown out, we had to rent a commercial floor cleaner to scrub the floors (3 passes on that), replace all of the shop rugs, repaint the floors and walls, buy a new steamer, and more. Even though there has been some significant expense, I chose to look at this as a kind of reboot for the business. The rising water was a kind of forced de-cluttering so we are definitely more organized now too.
Q: What has been most difficult about recovering from Irma damage?
A: The most difficult thing has been trying to keep some sort of business activity going while trying to get the shop squared away. Our online community has done a great job at keeping orders coming in and we did some pop up shops at local businesses such as Steele Hair Gallery, The Volstead, and Hourglass Pub. We greatly appreciate how everyone has gone out of their way to support us and hope we have done a good job at expressing that gratitude.
Q: What has been most rewarding about recovering from Irma?
The most rewarding aspect of this process has been the activities we have participated in to help others. It has been very refreshing to see so many different kinds of people come together for a good cause.
Q: Tell us about your grand reopening!
A: Our Grand Re-Opening was held on Saturday, October 14 from 11 am to 7 pm. We had a huge cake along with refreshments, live music by Redneck Hummus and a sidewalk sale chock full of deals! The turn out was great!
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
A: You can find us all over social media so please feel free to check us out.
It is the determination of small business owners like Cindy that keeps our team at Holmes Custom passionate about what we do! If you would like to learn more about Cindy Platt’s not-for-profit, visit www.rocstartjax.org. You can also follow Grease Rags on Instagram at @greaseragsclothing.
Grease Rags Clothing Co. is a great example of a small business owner taking her personal passion and style and turning it into a brand. From clothing tags to custom buttons, the company’s aesthetic and brand style is apparent the moment you enter this unique shop.
Check back soon for our next post on establishing your brand’s culture!