In last Friday’s Closing Bell, IL reported there were big changes happening at The New Blak. Owner/founder of the eco-friendly clothing manufacturer, Amanda Dare, bought out her former partners in January of this year, launched a mobile store in April, and closed the brick-and-mortar store on Frankfort Avenue in May.
Now we have the full skinny from Dare. She calls the parting of ways “pretty amicable” and says the partners all had different visions for the company. Dare wants to focus on the mobile boutique, saying she’s always had “a touch of wanderlust.”
The mobile boutique is a 1991 Ford shuttle bus previously owned by a church. Turning the bus into a store was a family affair, with her extended family helping. They ripped out the seats and used as many supplies as possible from Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore to furnish the bus using sustainable products. The entire process took around two-and-a-half months.
Dare’s father was incredulous throughout the transformation. But both Dare and her mother knew the bus would turn out the way they wanted it to. “When we see the pig, we can smell the bacon,” says Dare.
Dare already is making four times as much money with the mobile store than she did with the brick and mortar. She has taken the van to trolley hops, Oxmoor Mall, Cincinnati’s City Flea, and she will be at Flea Off Market on Fourth of July weekend.
The bus is an old girl, so she’ll be sticking with regional travel for the time being.
Dare also has made changes to The New Blak line. Originally the line consisted of “little blak dresses,” T-shirts and skirts. Now she is offering tops and tunics in a variety of colors manufactured here in Louisville by Dare, along with an almost-full-time assistant designer and several contract seamstresses. The fabrics are dyed locally by an eco-friendly company called Baz & Bea.
Also included in the mobile store and on the website is jewelry created by local designers. You can get totebags and decorative pillows with sayings like “Girl Boss” and “Women who wear blak lead colorful lives” as well.
Look for three new dresses to debut this fall, along with the addition of new fabrics, including jersey-weight and sweatshirt material. Less-expensive options will be available in the coming months, and in the coming weeks, The New Blak clothes will be available at the Mysterious Rack and 5-0-Lou.
Dare is a busy woman. She recently has launched CUTRIGHT, a small-batch clothing manufacturer for local designers. Her clients include Mysterious Rack, BLōFISH and the former Pink Door, now Mabel & Moss. CUTRIGHT not only does manufacturing but can consult with designers on all aspects of developing their lines.
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