Laci Bonner - Interview With Alicia Mathews by Alicia Mathews

January 13, 2017

Laci Bonner - Interview With Alicia Mathews by Alicia Mathews

Laci Bonner — Revv, The Rage & The Nash Collection

AT JUST 27 YEARS OLD, ARKANSAS NATIVE LACI BONNER IS MAKING WAVES IN THE NASHVILLE FASHION SCENE WITH TWO HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL BRANDS — THE RAGE AND REVV. AND HER NEWEST ADDITION, THE NASH COLLECTION IS ON THE RISE.

After graduating high school in 2007, Laci began working at her dad’s motorcycle shop learning everything she could about running a successful company and what it takes to be an entrepreneur. To bridge the gap in the shop’s off-season, she suggested bringing in some clothing to add to the parts and accessories section of the store. The choices she made did really well and they started selling like crazy.

Spending time in her dad’s shop gave Laci the confidence and the business knowledge she needed to branch out on her own. Laci opened The Rage in downtown Mena, Arkansas in April of 2010. At the young age of 21 Laci had discovered her eye for what’s in style and her natural ability to run a business.

“MY EXPERTISE IS NOT IN FASHION. MY EXPERTISE IS IN RUNNING A BUSINESS,” SAYS LACI.

Geared toward the southern, preppy and cost-conscious consumer, The Rage quickly became “all the rage” in downtown Mena and landed Laci on the state’s “20 In Their 20's” list. Additionally, Laci and The Rage were listed at #1578 on Inc.com’s List of the fastest growing companies in America. That’s in the top 30% of all American companies, with a growth rate of 239% over the last three years. That’s HUGE.

“I THINK THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE IN TODAY’S MARKET HAS SHIFTED TO FAST FASHION AT AFFORDABLE PRICES SO THEY CAN SPEND MORE MONEY ON EXPERIENCES, TRAVEL AND DINING. BECAUSE OF THIS, I’VE GOT TO STAY CURRENT AND KEEP MY PRICES AFFORDABLE.”

Laci’s next step in her career became clear when she visited Nashville for the first time in 2014. She fell in love with city’s beautiful scenery, its supportive, encouraging culture and the southern hospitality. Nashville had the feel of a big city, but not too big — and she couldn’t get enough of it. She made the decision to move to Music City and open a new division of her company.

“NOT ONLY WAS I CAPTURED BY THE STYLE AND ENERGY OF NASHVILLIANS, BUT THE SUPPORT AND ENCOURAGEMENT FROM OTHER LOCAL BUSINESS OWNERS IS ASTOUNDING. MANY ENTREPRENEURS HERE ARE LIKE-MINDED IN SPIRIT.” (SHOPREVV.COM)

Revv opened in Nashville’s Hillsboro Village on August 5, 2015. The brand is catered to an edgier kind of girl, is aligned with the Nashville vibe and directly reflects Laci’s personal style. Revv’s branding portrays a high-end, sophisticated look offering outfit options for any occasion with an affordable price tag.

“REVV IS A DIRECT REFLECTION OF MY STYLE. MY STYLE IS VERY GRUNGY AND TONED DOWN. I LOVE CAMO, BLACK, LEATHER AND PLAID — I ALWAYS HAVE A PLAID SHIRT ON OVER EVERYTHING — IT’S KINDA LIKE MY SAFETY BLANKET.”

Revv has seen great success in the past year from tourists and locals alike. From personal experience, I can tell you that when you walk in your first thought might be, “Oh, this is going to be expensive.” But it’s not. The items in Revv are high quality, on trend and very affordable. When launching Revv, Laci took great care in her decisions ensuring every aspect of the branding was on point. From the brands she carries to the signage, logos and bags all the way down to the hangers she purchased, her attention to detail is evident.

“DON’T BUY WOODEN HANGERS,” LACI LAUGHS. “THEY LOOK GREAT, BUT I DON’T WANT TO PAY MY GIRLS TO PICK UP CLOTHES OFF OF THE FLOOR ALL DAY WHEN THEY FALL OFF. I’D RATHER THEY FOCUS ON THE CUSTOMER AND WHAT SHE NEEDS.”

Laci never set out to start a career in women’s retail but was lead into the industry by her passion for business. She has been guided along the way by family members and mentors who have offered valuable advice. Throughout her journey, Laci has continued to learn, grow and better herself and her business. She was recently selected out of many candidates to become a member of the Entrepreneurial Organization. The EO is an organization of about 200 people of which Laci is the youngest, and offers a rigorous course comparable to an MBA program.

Because of her background in business Laci is heavily involved in all aspects of the daily operations. Each day holds a different set of tasks including designing apparel or cell phone cases, communicating with the shipping department, setting goals for her team, posing for photo shoots, maintaining the brand’s online presence, buying new inventory — the list is endless. When determining what product goes into Laci’s stores, she looks to the street styles in Nashville and in other cities as she travels. She puts together Snapchat polls to see what her customers respond to and keeps detailed notes of which social posts have the highest engagement. She then studies them to note whether the post featured a shirt or a skirt, a jacket or shoes, whether the model is blonde or brunette, the time of day it was posted all the way down to the lighting and photo edits. Once she discovers a pattern, she repeats it and modifies to fit the needs of the business.

Laci offers her advice to those considering starting a business of their own -

“YOU ARE ONLY GOING TO GET OUT OF IT WHAT YOU PUT INTO IT. IF YOU HALF-ASS IT, YOU ARE GOING TO GET HALF-ASS RESULTS. BREATHE LIFE INTO YOUR BUSINESS AND BE GENUINE ABOUT YOUR INTENT. DON’T PUT ALL YOUR EGGS IN ONE BASKET, HAVE MULTIPLE SALES CHANNELS AND OFFER BUSINESS COACHING. IF YOU CAN’T STOP THE COMPETITION, PROFIT BY HELPING THEM. LEARN EVERYTHING YOU CAN FROM ANYONE YOU CAN BECAUSE YOU WILL NEVER KNOW ENOUGH.”

In a tourist town full of kitchy knick-knacks, Laci and her general manager and go-to girl, Ally Barrett are excited to introduce the newest addition to the empire — The Nash Collection. The Nash Collection is a breath of fresh air for those looking for a Nashville souvenir that won’t end up collecting dust on the TV cabinet. The collection features ball caps and trucker hats in various colors with “N A S H” across the front in bold, capital letters. They scream local pride while remaining accessible to an out-of-towner wanting to remember their trip to Music City. The collection took off immediately, averaging 10–12 hats a day in the first 4 days and hit upwards of 400 units in the first 8 weeks of business.

As you can imagine, Laci stays busy with The Rage, Revv, and the launch of The Nash Collection. But when she’s not at The Rage’s warehouse, doing photo shoots or dreaming up her next design (or business idea, because let’s be honest, we all know she has one), you can find her at the lake, or by any body of water.

“IF I CAN GET TO A LAKE, YOU CAN FIND ME THERE OR ANY BODY OF WATER — EVEN IT’S A 2 OR 3 DAY BREAK, YOU’LL FIND ME NOT ATTACHED TO MY PHONE, IN AN ADIRONDACK CHAIR WITH A BOOK, MY SHADES ON AND NO MAKEUP!”

You may also find her sipping on a margarita at Saint Anejo wishing they were still 2 for 1 (We’re talking to you, Saint Anejo.), or shopping online. She’s currently crushing on the fall lines from Dolce Vita, Steve Madden and Chaser.

Though Laci makes sure to take time to get away, her business remains her top priority.

“A GOAL WITHOUT A DEADLINE IS ONLY A DREAM. IF YOU DON’T GIVE YOURSELF A TIMELINE, YOU’VE GOT NOTHING. IT WILL ALWAYS JUST BE WHAT YOU WISH IT WAS. SETTING A DEADLINE WILL HOLD YOU ACCOUNTABLE.”

The Rage continues to grow, Revv is picking up a steady momentum and The Nash Collection — well, that took off quicker than I think anyone could have predicted. Laci and her team are excited to share what’s in store (literally. Shop via the links below!) and are looking forward to many more successful years.

“THERE ARE DAYS WHEN IT GETS HARD,” SAYS LACI. “IT’S NOT ALWAYS EASY. THERE ARE TIMES WHEN I WANT TO THROW MY HANDS UP IN THE AIR, YELL AND SCREAM. AND THOSE ARE THE DAYS THAT REMIND ME OF THE ADVICE MY GRANDFATHER GAVE ME. HE TOLD ME THAT IF IT WAS EASY, EVERYONE WOULD DO IT.”

Keep up with Laci, The Rage, Revv, and The Nash collection by following them on Instagram, and by shopping the links below!

www.aliciamathews.com/shopinstagram

www.shoptherage.com

www.shoprevv.com

www.thenashcollection.com

Laci — @louloubon

The Rage — @shoptherage

Revv — @shoprevv

The Nash Collection — @thenashcollection

Article by Alicia Mathews — @alicianmathews | alicianmathews@gmail.com





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