It all started with an obsession of jeans.
Laci Bonner is a graduate of Mena High School's Class of 2007. Without knowing what she wanted to pursue in life, she opted to skip the college degree and help at her Dad’s local motorcycle shop named Hog Country Cycles. The motorcycle business was very seasonal, however, and she wanted to somehow attract more attention from customers during the off-season. She talked her Dad into offering a brand of denim to cater to women that aren’t just in the motorcycle world. So with one table and six styles of denim on the floor, she introduced Miss Me brand to Mena. The idea was a hit, since there was no shopping at the time in the small town of 5,000 people. After selling them on the floor and on eBay for 4 months, she knew what needed to come next—her own store. She had to thank her Dad though, for the experience that encouraged her to take this leap of faith. It was at Hog Country that she learned how to run a business. A true hands on experience relating to customers, accountability, and responsibility. That's something that can’t be taught in a classroom.
Three short months later, on April 12, 2010, The Rage was opened on Mena Street in Mena, AR. In an old downtown building, it had just the boutique feel that she was wanting. Although she was nervous about its future and her lack of retail experience at age 21, her gut kept telling her to follow through with it. And so she did. It was apparent that in no time at all, she had finally bridged the gap in Mena’s missing clothing market—popular clothing without the enormous price tag. Something trendy, fun, and relatable... all at a price that was reasonable and logical. It just made sense. Customers came filing in, and kept returning…meaning something was going right.
For two solid years, she babied The Rage. Behind the counter every single day and rarely giving herself a day off, she put in all the work that was needed to make it a success. Thanks to Facebook in the early stages, her sales grew every single day. She brought on one employee within a year, but things really took off when she launched her website. Believe it or not, Laci didn’t want a website for almost two years. She thought if Facebook was free, why not keep utilizing that? Why pay for a domain and worry about another sales channel?
Against her better judgement, in May of 2012 she decided to finally launch www.shoptherage.com. (This is one of the few times Laci admits she was wrong..Ha!) This allowed the checkout process online to be more professional and give the customers more confidence while making their purchase. Laci has always been about analyzing data and reports about trends and how consumers behave. With the website she was finally able to monitor this and focus her energy on what was working and what wasn’t working. With all of this new information and business booming, her internet division outgrew her storefront location. In July of 2013, she made the move to an off-site warehouse for online sales. What a great decision this was! The warehouse now hosts a team of 8 women who make the company stand strong today. With 10 employees including herself, The Rage has become famous nation-wide. With photos all over Pinterest, Wanelo, and other social media platforms, The Rage grows each and every day. But it’s thanks to The Rage’s followers and loyal customers that it’s become what it is today.
Laci isn’t stopping there though. With ideas and goals that far exceed the normal level of ‘contentment’, she has bright plans for The Rage’s future, along with other divisions of the company to come soon. “There are so many directions The Rage can go at this point—but for me, it’s following what I feel is right in this moment, right now. I want to create something that will make an impact and somewhat become a role model for other local shops. The Rage and my new company, Revv, are exactly that. I can’t wait to see what 2016 has in store for us,” she says. “But I also want to mention how very grateful I am to have a team that I can rely on and trust. They are golden to me, and without them, The Rage wouldn’t be here.”
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