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  • Rival Week: The Belles in the Biz of ShopPop

    Nov 25, 2015 CATEGORIES: Alabama, Alabama SEC Football, Belles in Biz, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, Outfits, SEC Football, Southern Women

    Rival Week usually results in fewer phone calls between divided familes; more taunting texts between otherwise amicable friends and certainly divides states right down the Navy and Crimson line. At least in Alabama.   Gridiron Belles loves a good rivalry as much as the next fan, but what Gridiron Belles loves even more is two women, graduates of rival universities, starting their own business, and finding a way to still be able to communicate during the Iron Bowl.

    Randall Copeland (University of Alabama graduate) and Anne Morgan Montgomery (Auburn University graduate) both grew up in the great state of Alabama and remained dear friends throughout college, despite their rival colors on game day.  Post graduation, both Randall and Anne Morgan started full-time careers but could not deny the entrepreneurial draw of creating a one-of-a-kind mobile fashion business.  Their story  (and their “style boxes”) are what Belles in Biz’ dreams are made of: A dream, the passion to make it succeed and a little rivalry on Saturdays!

    Below, they tell us the key to success, what to wear on game day and how they manage to speak to one another during the Iron Bowl (only during commercials of course.)

    Name of Biz:  ShopPop

    The Belles in the Biz:  Randall Copeland (Alabama) and Anne Morgan Montgomery (Auburn)

    Explanation of your Biz—tell us how it works!:

    ShopPop is a “mobile” boutique without a brick and mortar store. We sell our merchandise through a pop-up shop experience {trunk shows} and  create “style boxes” that we send to clients—locally and across the south. We launched our website {www.shoppopmobile.weebly.com} in April of this year, and now our merchandise is also available for purchase through our site.

    How did you get your start?

    Randall: Our love for shopping and fashion inspired us to start a business as a way to expand the scope of brands available to the women around us. We wanted to offer customers a unique shopping experience with high-quality, stylish, yet affordable clothing.

    AM: I have always loved fashion and styling. I graduated in Apparel Design and worked in NYC as a designer as well. This taught me a lot about business and retail. Randall and I started ShopPop in April 2013 after the idea came to us while standing in my kitchen. The next week we found ourselves applying for a business license.

    How do you all split up responsibilities?

    Anne Morgan lives in Birmingham and Randall is in Mobile so this has been a tricky part of our business. We are both responsible for selling and we both set up trunkshows in our corresponding cities. It has been nice being able to widen our customer base and touch more clients.

    How does a not so friendly gridiron rival work in a very friendly work environment?  Do you speak to each other on Iron Bowl Day?

    Randall: We keep it light. Of course I want Alabama to win, but at the end of the day, it’s a football game and life goes on. Our relationship is way more important.

    AM:We both love sports but neither one of us would let football get in between our work. I think we love clothes more. 

    Most challenging part of your job? Most rewarding?

    Randall: There are not enough hours in the day! Juggling a full time job, ShopPop and life in general – it can be hard to fit it all in sometimes.  But Nothing makes me happier than seeing a customer in a ShopPop outfit feeling confident and beautiful.

    AM: The most rewarding part of my job is the smile on a clients face when you make them see how pretty they are. I think everyone is beautiful but not everyone sees himself or herself that way. My life verse and motto has always been, “You are fearfully and wonderfully made declares the Lord” Psalm 139:14 and I truly believe that about everyone.

    What’s one thing your biz would not survive without?

    Randall: Social media. Instagram has been a godsend!  (follow them here!)

    AM: Our customers. We have the best customers and are blessed to call most of them friends. Our friends and family have continued to support us and we couldn’t ask for better loved ones.

    Work-life balance, fact or fiction?

    AM: Fact. I think it is very important to have boundaries with work. It can be so fun and challenging some days but to excel in business I believe you need to also live. I am inspired by so many people outside of work that make me better at what I do.

    Business/career advice to other Belles?

    Randall: Do what you love. If you are passionate about something, go for it, because people are great at what they love. Maximize opportunities and make your own momentum. Follow your instincts, stay positive and surround yourself with good people.

    AM: Never be afraid to fail. Having fear can only hold you back. Learn that failure can be a positive thing. It only makes you stronger and teaches you what not to do. Most successful people have failed at LEAST once.

    Favorite part about being an Alabama/Auburn fan? 

    Randall: Game Day in Tuscaloosa! Tailgating, meeting up with friends at Gallette’s, the energy of Bryant Denny Stadium… being in the middle of it all is so exciting. I enjoy watching football, and the years I was in school at UA were some of the very best, so it’s hard not to love it.

    AM: The community and family feel that the Auburn campus has. Everyone is so friendly and willing to help others.

    What do you wear on game day?

    Randall: Skinny jeans or leggings, boots and a silk top. If it’s cold, I’ll layer with a fitted jacket or fur vest.

    AM: Orange is honestly not my best color – I cant say that I even wear team colors…don’t judge me !

    What do most of your clients request to wear for game days? Is that a good choice?

    Randall: Slouchy sweaters, silk tops, and basic “throw on and go” dresses. I think any of these options are perfect for game day – you feel comfortable and still look cute. These styles are also easy to layer for games on colder days.

    AM: Most of our clients request something solid in their team color. For example, Crimson or Navy are probably the biggest sellers for us. And that works.

    What do you suggest/send to your clients to help them look their best that they may not know about?

    Randall: A pair of jeans or leggings that truly flatters your figure will always stay in style. I always advise them to actually try something on (even if it’s out of their comfort zone of usual style).  Some pieces look completely different on a hanger. 

    AM: I always think about their body type and what area they may or may not be self conscious about. Then I play that up. For example if someone is shorter I let them know that monochromatic schemes are best, color blocking is usually not your friend or if they are bigger in the bottom wearing a longer top is the best look verse something cropped.

    What fan base has the best dressed Gridiron Belles?

    Randall: To be honest, I have a bit of a houndstooth hangover, so I’m passing my style points to the UGA girls.

    AM: I have to say Ole Miss. The Mississippi girls really know how to dress for a game and they definitely have the best tailgating. Where else can you eat chicken fingers on china?

    Favorite tailgate dish? Recipe?

    Randall: I love making my way around a dip table, but if I had to choose one tailgate treat, it would be Stadium Dogs.

    AM: BLT Dip with Ritz Crackers. I could eat this all day. It is comprised of Sour Cream, Mayonnaise, Bacon, Tomato, and Green Onions. Sounds bad but it really is the best!

    Game day drink of choice?

    Randall: Yellowhammers! {Gallette’s signature cocktail}

    AM: Honestly, a stadium Coca-Cola is my favorite thing in the world.

     

    What do you always have in your touch down purse?

    Randall: Lipstick

    AM: Stilla lip colour. My mother always taught me you must have color on your lips.

     Heads or Tails?

    Randall: Heads

    AM: Tails, always

    Who wins it all this year?

    AM: Well, I’ve got to say Auburn J But seriously I think Florida might pull it out for the big win!

    Randall: ALA-BAMA!

     To see what all the belles of ShopPop are up to or what the latest styles are, visit, follow and post here!

    Website, Instagram

     

     

  • Belles In Biz: bySMITH Collection

    Oct 7, 2015 CATEGORIES: Alabama, Belles in Biz, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, Nick Saban, SEC Football

    BAMA Belle Smith Sinrod, thrived in the Big Apple in one of the hardest industries: fashion.  One trip to Thailand, a huge leap of faith  and the upbringing that encouraged her to never give up, has led this Belle to a successful career running her line of chic women’s clothing for the modern woman.  BySmith helps the working woman get from the office to dinner out on the town. This focus on work-life balance, all while looking divine, is what hooked me on the BySmith line… for the work day, game day, and everything in between. I can’t imagine any other line to wear through life’s events. Read on. You’ll be ordering pieces in no time.

    Name: Smith Sinrod

    SEC Team: The University of Alabama’s Crimson Tide

    Graduated from: The University of Alabama

    Name of Your Biz: bySMITH

    Explanation of Your Biz: by SMITH is a contemporary women’s line of sophisticated, chic dresses and classic day-to-night separates recognized for the use of Thai Silk, vibrant colors and bold patterns that place a spin on classic looks. Made up of versatile and transitional day-to-night pieces, by SMITH pieces are perfect for a young professional heading to meet friends after work, or for a young mother going out for date night. by SMITH recently celebrated its 10th season and is distributed online and located in national and international retailers, consistently appearing in fashion shows and media outlets across the country, like Town &  Country, Southern Living, E! News and Real Simple.

    How did you get your start? I developed my business plan prior to graduating from The University of Alabama. I officially started my business directly following graduation with a sourcing trip to Thailand—that’s when it all began.

    So tell us, what exactly is your role? I’ve been designing my own pieces and collections from the beginning of college, but officially launched by SMITH in 2009. As owner and designer, I wear every hat. I design each collection and develop our prints each season, work with manufacturers directly to ensure our production is running smoothly, and I coordinate our wholesale business with the boutiques on a regular basis. I’ve learned a lot by owning my business and being an entrepreneur, and have found that even after six years, I am still learning and evolving my brand.

    Most challenging part of your job? Most rewarding?  I would say the most challenging part of all of this is making sure I keep up with the ever changing world of fashion. There are so many moving parts to this business and just when you feel like you are caught up, it’s time to design another collection, a year ahead of course. I like how fast the industry moves and how it constantly changes; it challenges me in a good way.

    The most rewarding part of my job is seeing strong and diverse women wearing my clothing. Fashion is a choice and the consumer gets to pick what they like, buy it, and then wear it. It’s a form of self-expression so when my art is chosen, it makes me happy.

    bySMITH collection showcased at a University of Alabama fashion show.

    What is one thing your biz would not survive without? Me (and a lot of caffeine!)

    What’s next? I am excited to be back in the south again and am enjoying every second of it. I am working on expanding by SMITH from New Orleans and so far, we have exciting things in the works. More to come!

    Work-life balance, fact or fiction? I think that’s a fact for me. I really work to be the best businesswoman and designer I can be, but also make it a priority to find quality time with my husband, friends and family. Those are the people that encourage and inspire me daily, so it’s a win-win.

    Business/career advice to other Belles? Never give up. My dad told my sisters and me this on a regular basis growing up to encourage us to be strong no matter what. Even though it’s pretty straightforward, it’s helped me navigate my career over the past few years and has kept me grounded when things get crazy busy.

    What do you wear on game day?  I wear one of my Barrow Tees in black or white with my jeans or my crimson East Village Skirt. A black dress is also a home run for BAMA games.

    What have you found most inspiring about SEC and Gridiron Belles’ wardrobes?  What I love is seeing how girls at each school show their school spirit. At some schools, people dress to the nines as if it’s a cocktail party.  At other schools, girls are more relaxed with a cute T-shirt and jeans. I certainly get inspiration on how to mix and match items, particularly as many of the schools have different climates that they deal with. It’ fun to see how the girls dress weekend after weekend.  

    Favorite part about being an Alabama fan? My favorite part of being an Alabama fan, is the pride that comes along with the Tide fan base.

    Favorite tailgate dish? Stadium dog

    Game day drink of choice? There’s nothing better than a Yellowhammer from Gallettes on game day. This was my friends’ go-to game day cocktail during our time in Tuscaloosa.

     

    Smith celebrating all things Alabama with fellow belles at an Alabama tailgate


    What do you always have in your touch down purse?
    A shaker and a pen/notepad. I’m constantly inspired by my surroundings and football games are no different! I love seeing what women are wearing and often find myself jotting down sketches of some of the styles and trends that inspire me.

    Coach Crush? I might be a bit biased, but I’m partial to Saban.

    Heads or Tails? Tails

    Who wins it all this year? Alabama, of course!

    Keep up with Smith and all of tricks of the trade she has for Gridiron Belles by visiting her website and following her on: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. 

  • Belles In Biz: Maddy Glab: The Sideline Belle of The VOLS

    Sep 30, 2015 CATEGORIES: Belles in Biz, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, Tennessee Football

    When the “Belles In Biz” weekly feature began, I knew there were some pretty talented and successful women out there who deserved to be applauded and congratulated on their achievements. Maddy Glab of the Tennessee Volunteer athletics broadcasting team is no exception to the rule.  Maddy is an inspiration to all women involved with sports, or simply just a fan of any game.  Maddy, you make this Gridiron Belle proud and quite frankly, your achievements help get me out of bed in the morning!  Read on to be inspired by this Belle in Biz, we certainly were. Keep up the great work, Maddy!

    Name: Maddy Glab

    SEC Team: Tennessee Volunteers       

    Graduated from: Mizzou

    Name of Your Title: (University of Tennessee Athletics Broadcasting) VFL Films Multimedia Producer/On-Air Talent

    How did you get your start?

    My dad says I had an interest in sports before I could walk— and zero interest in dolls, barbies or the color pink. My apparel preference was T-shirts and gym shorts which was fitting for a girl with a dream of being the first female to play in the MLB. When that didn’t work out, my second best idea was to find a way to talk about sports for a living by being a sports broadcaster. I decided to go to Mizzou for their revered journalism school. I got involved at KOMU 8-TV, the NBC affiliate station in Columbia, Mo and started anchoring sports during my sophomore year. The rest was history.

    After I graduated, I moved to Palo Alto, CA for a job with Stanford as a producer for Cardinal Channel within their athletics department. After a year in California I got home sick for the SEC and here I am now with the most amazing job I could dream of!

    So tell us, what exactly is your role?

    My role breaks down to a little bit of everything. I – along with an amazing team at VFL Films – shoot, write, edit for all different features, segments, stories, interviews, highlights, etc. dealing with Tennessee athletics/Tennessee athletics alums (VFLs).

    I also serve as the on-air talent for Tennessee athletics – you may see me on-camera conducting one-on- one interviews, anchoring highlights and hosting. On top of that, I am the sideline reporter for SEC Network digital plus (aired on the internet) / linear games (aired on TV) for sports like women’s soccer, volleyball, and basketball. It makes for a busy life.

    Most challenging part of your job?

    Every day is a challenge to make something creative and pleasing to everyone who’s watching whether they are sports fans or not.

    Most rewarding? Getting to be a part of all the action through the games I get to cover, the interviews I get to do, the people I get to meet.

    What is the difference in football atmospheres between Mizzou and Tennessee?

    Tennessee has the history and rich traditions that give you chills.  In Knoxville, football is a way of life and I’m in awe of the fan base they have. The sports fan that I am, I feel like I’m with my people here.

    Mizzou is still trying to prove itself, but that works for Mizzou, they love that chip on their shoulder. The Tigers are the new dogs in the SEC and are doing a great job of assimilating to the SEC culture. Both atmospheres are similar this year by both trying to prove themselves. 

    What have you learned about the behind the scenes of the gridiron since you’ve been there?

    I am in awe of how hard Tennessee football works to put their program together and in a respectable way that is noticed around the country. From the coaches to the players; from the training staff to the department, they work their butts of day in and day out. It definitely makes me proud to work at UT.

    Greatest part of being on the media team?

    I think the greatest part is getting to be a part of the team. We are One Tennessee, everyone wants to be a part of something great.

    What is one thing you cannot survive without in your career?

    I can’t live without my pen and legal notepad. I’m a note taker, whether it’s writing down a catchy line that pops into my head for my next story or writing down a statistic. I’ve got to have them near me at all times. 

    What’s next?

    I want to be in this business until I retire. Well, when I retire I want to work at Wrigley Field and direct people to their seats. I hope to be with Tennessee for a good amount of time. I want my next step to be big – so in my eyes that’s working for an NFL team or at a network station as on-air talent/producer.

    Work-life balance, fact or fiction?

    FICTION. In this business it’s impossible to leave work at work. It’s hard for me to take my work hat off once I’m home. I’m always thinking of new story ideas.

    Career advice to other Belles?

    Don’t take no for an answer. There is always a way around a “no” for women to break into this business. Keep grinding, don’t ever give up and study up! Know your facts and teams so you’re able to talk the talk. Give women in sports a good name!

    Favorite part about being a SPORTS fan. I love sports. My passion for sports could light this world on fire. Sports bring people together, sports tell amazing stories, sports are our weekends. Sports make us smile, laugh, and cry. Sports will be here till the end of time.

    Favorite tailgating snack? Fiesta ranch dip – so amazing. Fiesta ranch dip seasoning packet (can find at walmart/chain grocery stores), tub of sour cream, chopped black olives, chopped green chilies, bag of cheddar cheese. Mix. Serve with tortilla chips. I could eat a whole bowl.

    Game day drink of choice?   Since I work on game days my drinks  – coffee and water. I need coffee to wake me up every day. Gotta have that water to keep you hydrated through a hot Saturday in September!

    Coach Crush?

    No crush. I’m in this industry to cover sports, not have crushes.

    To keep up with the VOLS and everything this Gridiron Belle is getting into, follow Maddy here:  Website, Twitter, Insta

  • Belles In Biz: Kathryn Lucchesi, The Next Big Thing Out of Mizzou

    Sep 23, 2015 CATEGORIES: Belles in Biz, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie

    When I first visited Columbia, MO to check out the newest school in the SEC, I was skeptical for a variety of reasons… until I met Kathryn Lucchesi. This Gridiron Belle epitomized Southern hospitality, hard work, dedication, a love AND understanding of the game, and a true insider’s perspective about Mizzou football. 

    What started out as an opportunity for Kat to use her video editing skills in 2009, has now turned into a full-time position where she sits in coaches meetings, stands on the sidelines and is responsible for all coverage on Coach Pinkel’s website.  Talk about a high stakes job!

    Meet Mizzou Belle, Kathryn Lucchesi. And yes, keep an eye out for her—she’s too modest to say, but we are betting that she’s going to be the next big sideline talent for network TV!

    We’re proud of you. Welcome to Gridiron Belles, Kat and keep up the great work!

     

    Name:  Kathryn Lucchesi

    SEC Team: Mizzou Football   

    Graduated from: Mizzou, 2009, Broadcast Journalism

    Title: Multimedia Director

    Explanation of Your Job:  I provide multimedia content for GaryPinkel.com as well as oversee all social media for the football team.

    How did you get your start? Our local sports director called me to inform me that Coach Pinkel and the football staff was looking for someone to create promotional videos about the team for a web site. It’s grown tremendously since then into all types of multimedia, including social media.

    How long have you been in this role?  I started as a graduate assistant with the team in 2009.

    So tell us, what exactly is your role? I am technically part of the coaching staff so I sit in the staff meetings soaking in the Mizzou Football philosophy and finding ideas on what the team should promote.

    What’s it like to be the only woman in the coaches meetings? (I assume you’re the only woman…?)  I am the only female in our staff meetings! 27 guys and me watching film and going over plays. It’s great to see how organized and efficient coaches are in meetings. In a high level, demanding environment a team needs great communication and that starts with a great coaching staff.  I get to be a part of that every day.

    You’ve got a great “seat” for watching the games…What are you doing on the sidelines?  Mostly taking photos and video of our coaches and younger players. I’m also getting bench reactions for social media.

    Hardest part of being a woman in a male-dominated sport?   It’s a bit more difficult to learn football because I’ve never actually played the sport. Fortunately, the coaches are patient and answer questions when I ask (such as, “why did we go for 2 rather than kicking the extra point?”).

    Most challenging part of your job? Trying to stay ahead of the social media world every day!

    Most rewarding? Seeing student-athletes grow through their time at Mizzou

    Coolest opportunity you’ve had while in this position?  (Saw you in front of a helicopter and at the NFL draft… that looked cool.)   Yes, the helicopter is always fun! We take it out while visiting high school football games. The NFL Draft and Combine were interesting experiences that I’ll never forget. Being able to visit every SEC stadium is great, and bowl games are absolutely amazing. At the end of day, seeing the guys grow up from the 17-18 year olds we recruited into young men with families makes every second of the job worth it.

    You work closely with Coach Pinkel every day, what’s his greatest trait?  He is a man of integrity. What he says, he does. It’s not easy for anyone to do this, but I am always impressed by Coach Pinkel’s ability lead by example every single day.

    What is one thing your career would not survive without?  A positive attitude!

    What’s next? Finishing my execMBA degree in May 2016, and then we will see.

    Work-life balance, fact or fiction? Fact! I can run half marathons and travel with friends – it takes planning, commitment, and understanding.

    Business/career advice to other Belles? Don’t be afraid to try something new – challenge yourself every day.

    Favorite part about being a Mizzou fan? I wouldn’t call myself a normal Mizzou Football “fan” – but it is rewarding to see the student-athletes succeed!

    Favorite tailgate dish? I don’t remember the last time I tailgated, but if I did, I would love my mom’s chili.

    Game day drink of choice? I drink pickle juice on the sideline before every game!

    What do you always have in your touch down purse? A phone charger.

    Coach Crush? N/A! 

    Heads or Tails? Defer!

    Who wins it all this year? Mizzou of course! ;-)

    Keep up with Kat and all that is relevant to Mizzou Football:  Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

     

  • Belles In Biz: Annabelle Laroque Babcock, Designer of Laroque

    Sep 16, 2015 CATEGORIES: Belles in Biz, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, South Carolina, Southern Women

    Annabelle Babcock knows hard work. With what started as a sewing project of dresses and skirts for friends and family turned into a local–and now national– success, nearly over night.  But don’t let Annabelle’s laid back first impression fool you.  This Belle is a design and business women force to be reckoned with. Certainly someone to take note of.    After all, trading in the corporate world for a sewing kit isn’t generally the opening line to a success story, but in the case of Annabelle Babcock and the Laroque label, success was inevitable thanks to the drive and dedication from the South Carolina native. 

    Meet Annabelle.  You–and your wardrobe– will be glad you did. 

    Name:  Annabelle Laroque Babcock

    Name of Biz:  Laroque

    SEC Team:  South Carolina… but slowly learning to pull for Clemson… I married a Clemson fan.

    Explain your role:  I am the owner and designer here at LaRoque in Columbia, SC.  I run a retail shop where we only sell LaRoque pieces. I also design two wholesale collections each year that are shown at the Atlanta market. 

    How long have you been in this role? 8 years.

    Most challenging part of your biz?: The most challenging part of my career is managing a balance between my personal and professional life. Now that I am a wife and a mother I have to delegate more.  Before I wore many hats and now I try to focus on design. 

    Most rewarding?: The most rewarding part of my career is when I see someone truly happy in a piece that I have created. There are so many talented designers in the world, when someone chooses my creation for a special event there is no greater feeling. 

    Business advice to other Belles? Have a clear goal. What do you want to create, do or help you audience with?  If you have a clear vision and passion no one can stand in your way! 

    What’s next? Expanding the wholesale collection. We’ve also started a “Mini Collection.”  (Shown here on Annabelle’s adorable daughter!)

    Favorite part about being a Gamecock fan? The best part about being a gamecock fan is living and owning a business right here in the heart of Gamecock country. Being in Columbia during the fall is so much fun! Everyone is so excited to cheer on the gamecocks; the energy that football season brings is unmatched.

    Favorite tailgate dish? Fried chicken from Lizards Thicket! 

    Game day drink of choice? Rum and coke.

    What do you always have in your touch down purse? Always a camera.  I have so much fun capturing all of the tailgate and garnet moments on a game day. The best part is when I spot another fan in one of my pieces! 

    What do you wear on game days?  Can’t go wrong with a flow silk top–or our Ivy Top (below) and a pair of skinny jeans.

    Heads or Tails: Heads

    Coach Crush? My all time favorite coach is Ray Tanner. He was our baseball coach and led the Gamecocks to the national championship several times. He is now the athletic director here at USC. I really admire his loyalty to the Gamecock and South Carolina. (Pictured here)

    Who wins it all this year? The Gamecocks of course! Well, or maybe Clemson!

    Don’t miss out on seeing  all the game day outfits—and much more–that Annabelle has created for Laroque and stores near you!

    Website,  Facebook , Twitter,  Instagram

  • Belles In Biz: Bebe Goodrich Brews Up Icebox Coffee

    Sep 9, 2015 CATEGORIES: Belles in Biz, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, New Orleans, SEC Football

    Bebe Goodrich hails from the Big Easy but knows there is nothing easy about starts-up. Founder of the smoothest iced brew in the south, Bebe gave us some strong words of encouragement of having a work-life balance and how she’s turned a hankering for the taste of home into a growing business that is in specialty stores and Whole Foods Markets throughout the south.  

    If I ever thought I was too busy to fulfill my dreams, one conversation—or a few lines of questioning—later,  had me knowing that it may take just  one idea to launch a start-up but it takes a village led by a strong belle to make it soar.   

    The Gridiron Belles order of decaf and regular is being placed for our upcoming morning tailgates.  ( You should follow our lead by ordering here.)  After all, what tastes better with grill-fried bacon and eggs than a true Southern brew to wash it down and cool you off?

    Name: Bebe Goodrich

    SEC Team: We have Alabama tickets, but I like the underdog in any game.

    Graduated From: Washington and Lee

    Name of Your Biz: Icebox Coffee (website: www.iceboxcoffee.com)

    Explanation of Your Biz:  Icebox Coffee is a handcrafted, cold-brewed coffee concentrate that’s rich in flavor. Our brewing process leaves us with a low acid, flavorful concentrate that can be diluted to make any coffee drink you can imagine or it can be used as a baking ingredient to add a coffee flavor to any dish.

    How did you get your start? In 2012 I went searching for the cold brew coffee I grew up with in New Orleans. When I couldn’t find something as smooth and flavorful as the coffee back home I decided to make it myself. Icebox Coffee was born.


    Most challenging part of your job?  
    Start-ups are never easy, they require a lot of non-stop hard work but every step forward is exciting.

    What is one thing your biz would not survive without? A hardworking team; I wouldn’t be here without them.

    Work-life balance, fact or fiction? Fact. Business will come and go but family is forever. Three generations deep, my family has had two working parents. Each generation has turned out better than the one before it because of a great balance and shared responsibility.

    In our house, my husband Thomas shares the load. Sometimes, our boys are at work (they’re under two, so consider how smoothly that goes!) and sometimes it’s coming in on the weekends. At the end of the day, building a family and building a business are the same, it takes time, attention, and an understanding that failing on some tasks is going to happen. Just stay focused on what’s important.

    Career advice to other Belles? Never stop learning. Go to seminars and find mentors. Listen to everyone who’s willing to talk, whether they’re the bag boy at the grocery, a college intern, or a Harvard professor. Everyone has something you can apply to enhance your business and life.

    What’s next? Icebox Coffee in every home, office, and restaurant throughout the southeast for starters; then we’ll keep moving until we’re in everyone home, office, and restaurant in the country. We’ve got work to do!

    Favorite part about being an Alabama fan? Winning.

    Favorite tailgate dish? Buffalo chicken dip, but Icebox Coffee popsicles are a close second.

    Game day drink of choice? Icebox cocktails are perfect for an early game-day drink.

    RECIPE:

    Take 8ounces of coconut milk or half&half

    Add:     Two shots of Icebox

                 One shot of Tito’s Handmade Vodka

    It’s delicious and oh so easy to pack our concentrate bottle with the tailgate supplies.  (For more delicious Icebox recipes, visit Icebox on Instagram)

    What do you always have in your touch down purse? Having grown up in New Orleans I always have minis and snacks. My purse is a mobile pantry.

    Coach Crush? Tommy Tubberville (does he still coach?)

    Heads or Tails? Heads

    Who wins it all this year? Ohio State has the best chance and easiest road… so my husband told me. 

    Follow Icebox Coffee:  Instagram , Facebook, Twitter

  • Belles In Biz: Kelly Plank-Dworkin of SWOOZIES

    Sep 3, 2015 CATEGORIES: Belles in Biz, Swoozies

     

    It’s time that all Gridiron Belles be introduced (if you haven’t been already) to Swoozies. It is THE one stop shop for all things celebratory. From baby announcements to birthday parties; from backyard BBQ supplies to Christmas decorations; from bachelorette party favors to our favorite… tailgate must-haves.  Walking into a Swoozies location (9 across the south– and Colorado), is like walking into a fairytale where all of your hosting, gifting, and celebrating dreams come true.  

    I’ve been a fan of Swoozies since 2011 when I won my first tailgating contest with them. Then Gridiron Belles partnered up with “The Swoo”  for a book tour and endless book signings. So you’ve probably seen me mention them a time or two by name.  But in case you’ve been sleeping, or are just joining us, today’s feature is on the Belle Behind the Biz, Ms. Kelly Plank-Dworkin who is the fearless leader of making the magic happen.

    Note:  Kelly is so humble in her accomplishments and thankful for her team,  that she opted out of solo shots for the post and only included ones of her team.  She also offered to do a “Swoozie Up Your Tailgate” Giveaway with $100.00 to use for one of our lucky readers’ next tailgate party. (See below for details). 

    Enough already, let’s meet Kelly!

    Name: Kelly Plank-Dworkin

    SEC Team: Alabama

    Name of Your Biz: Swoozie’s

    Explanation of Your Biz: Swoozie’s is a destination specialty store for gifts, party décor, invitations and personalized gifts and more. The company was founded on a few basic fundamentals – brilliant product, personalization that sets the standard, outstanding customer care, and giving back to our communities.

    How did you get your start? I was very blessed in my career to work for some of the best minds in the retail business who are still making waves and doing brilliant things 40 years later. I started in retail at a young age and fell in love with the ability to work creatively, statistically and with people. It is because of my early experience that I had the foundation and opportunity to start my own company.   David, my late-husband, and I opened up the first Swoozies in February 2001.

    So tell us, what exactly is your role?

    For almost 15 years I have been leading the merchandising assortment and marketing.  While my title is technically the president (and the visionary), I have always had a brilliant team that I get to work with to support the vision David and I had.  There is a wonderful group of women that work at Swoozies and we love our customers—the Swoozies community has become my family.

    Most challenging part of your job?

    Often times our biggest challenges and weaknesses are our biggest rewards and strengths.

    In my business, our customers are our biggest challenge and our biggest reward. Each time a customer comes into the store, I want them to have a flawless experience: find the perfect gift they were looking for, connect with our staff and stay with us through all of life’s moments and celebrations. Sometimes we make a mistake though, and those hurt. I hate to hear of any customer that is disappointed. I do, however, see every single comment online and take the time to review them with the team. Those moments make us better and we learn from them.

    Most rewarding?

    Learning how to be a better company is what makes makes our relationships with our customers the most rewarding part of my job. We wouldn’t be here almost 15 years later, growing, if it weren’t for the loyal customers – the people that we get to help everyday.

    What is one thing your biz would not survive without?

    Customer feedback – we listen to feedback and react to it daily.

    What’s next?

    Continue to drive and lead our recent merger with Beau-coup.

    Work-life balance, fact or fiction?

    Everyone has their own interpretation of what that balance is for them. I may not have it to other people, but I have a mission and so much of my life is my work. I like to believe fact.

    Business/career advice to other Belles?

    Work hard. Trust your gut. Never stop learning. Surround yourself with smart people – and kind people.

    Favorite part about being an Alabama fan?

    I was not always an Alabama fan, but when my son went there, I quickly drank the Crimson Tide Kool-Aid. The energy of that stadium and not to mention the years he was there were some of the very best – there was no way I couldn’t be a fan. I have some wonderful memories of those games with my kids.

    Favorite tailgate dish?

    I love everything about a tailgate. Not just one dish – it is the combination of all the dishes that make a tailgate so fun. Being able to sit outside, relax, hang out with friends and graze all day is my perfect Saturday. If I had to pick though, I love a great layered dip.

    Game day drink of choice?

    Mimosas

    What do you always have in your touch down purse?

    My lipstick

    Coach Crush?

    Pete Carroll (my girls went to USC)

    Heads or Tails?

    Heads

    GIVEAWAY!

    Enter to win $100 to “Swoozie Up Your Tailgate” ! 

    Here is how you win:

    1) Must follow @GridironBelles on either Facebook, Instagram or Twitter

    2) Tag @Swoozies and  3 friends who you think would also enjoy this giveaway!

    3) Winner will be selected at random on Wednesday, September 9. GOOD LUCK!

    Stay in Touch With Swoozies:  Website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter

  • Belles in Biz: Haute Threads Boutique GIVEAWAY!

    Aug 27, 2015 CATEGORIES: Arkansas, Belles in Biz, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, SEC Football

    This week’s Belle in Biz is Arkansas’ very own, Amber Ham of Haute Thread Boutiques.  She’s innovative, creative, a mother, a business woman and a fan!  Read below to be inspired by her ambition and to see how you can win your very own Haute Threads Boutique game day dress!

    Head Belle In Charge of Haute Threads Boutique, Amber Ham, showcases one of her dresses as she cheers on her Razorbacks!

     

    Name: Amber Ham

    Team: Arkansas Razorbacks

    Graduated from: University of Arkansas in 2003                             (Bachelors in Nutrition); Texas Tech in 2011 (Masters in Education)

    Name of Your Biz:            Haute Threads Boutique  

    Explanation of Your Biz:   I convert regular college/team t-shirts into game day dresses and rompers to help each girl be the cutest girl in the stadium on game day.

     

     

     

     

     

    How did you get your start?  I had a pile of old t-shirts from college sitting in my closet and knew I needed to repurpose them so I would wear them again.  I cut up a few shirts and quickly designed the dresses that I still make today!  After I made a couple for myself, my friends started asking for them… and then someone pinned me on Pinterest… and it’s been an amazing ride ever since!  It’s been about four years since the business really took off.

    Explain your role:   I’m pretty much a one-woman show.  I own the business, do all of the marketing and advertising, research new trends and designs in fashion, as well as shop for all of the latest trendy fabrics.  I work one-on-one with each customer so they can custom-design their own dress from beginning to end; I cut all of the dresses/rompers out myself as well. 

    Most challenging part of your biz?:  Finding enough time in the day to get it all done.  During football season, I could spend 8+ hours a day working on the business; however, that’s also the time that school—and my responsibilities as a teacher– starts back up. Making time to run my dress business on top of everyday life can be challenging some days.

    Most rewarding?:  When customers send me pictures of them wearing their dresses. I love seeing women enjoying my creations and feeling like they are the “belle of the ball.” The fact that it’s a custom dress that THEY got to help design really gives them ownership over it and makes them truly feel unique in their dress.

    Business advice to other Belles?   Don’t wait around.  I read a quote from Coco Chanel right after I began my business.  It said, “If you want to be original, be ready to be copied”… and that couldn’t be any more true.  Get out there full force and make your dreams yours so you can be the original and people come to you first.

    Favorite part about being a Razorback fan?   Gameday.  The feeling in the stands when everyone unites for one day to cheer on our team… it’s electric.  I grew up going to Razorback football games in the same seats we’ve had since I was 3 years old. Fayetteville is an amazing place.

    Favorite tailgate dish?  Sausage Crescent Wraps.  Ground sausage mixed with cream cheese… rolled up in a crescent roll and baked.  Delish! 

    Game day drink of choice?  If I’m tailgating, you can guarantee I’ll have a bottle of Prosecco close by! 

     

    What do you always have in your touch down purse?  Business cards.  You never know when someone is going to stop you and ask, “Hey, where did you get your dress?”   

    Who wins it all this year?  We have had a few rebuilding years and I think we will do a lot better than a lot of people think we will this year… so I’m going to stay true to my roots and cheer on my Hogs for the big win!

     You can win your own Haute Threads dress or romper by winning our giveaway!  Simply share this link via the Gridiron Belles Facebook page , Twitter (@gridironbelles) or our Instagram (@GridironBelles) post more times than any other Gridiron Belle and you can have your very own favorite team shirt transformed into the perfect game day dress!  #GBHauteThreadGiveaway

    You can follow Haute Threads Boutique on Facebook  or order your custom dress on her website !

    Happy shopping, Belles!

    Xs and Os

    Christie Leigh

     

  • Belles In Biz: Coach Dr. Jen Welter

    Aug 21, 2015 CATEGORIES: Belles in Biz, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie

    Image Credit: USNews.com

    Gridiron Belles was published because football isn’t just a guy thing. Women of all ages appreciate Saturdays in Dixie and everything it has to offer from the tailgating to the stands; from the outfits to the sidelines.  Which is why we were delighted to learn of Dr. Jen Welter, who is an extraordinary Gridiron Belle… of the Ph.D-Gold-Medal-Winning-International-Federation-of-American-Football-Women’s-World-Championship-Masters-In-Sports-Psychology-Ph.D.-In-Psychology-First-Female-To-Play-A-Non-Kicking-Position-In-A-Men’s-Professional-League-First-Female-Coach-In-The-N-Freaking-F-L type of a way.

    Image Credit: Eonline

    We admire smart women.  We are inspired by motivated women. We are encouraged by women who achieve their dreams.  We jump out of bed ready to work hard knowing of Dr. Jen Welter’s accomplishments on and off the field.

    What we appreciate even more is that the Cardinals’ head coach, Bruce Arians, didn’t see her gender when hiring her, but simply someone who understood the game and could get through to the players. “Someone asked me yesterday, ‘When are we going to have female coaches?’” Arians said. “The minute they can prove they can make a player better, they’ll be hired.”

    Smart man to hire a smart woman.

    Dr. Welter may only be an assistant intern coach for training camp and preseason, but this is history. We tip our sunnies, to you Dr. Welter, and raise our glasses for all that you endured to get where you are. Women love football, too. All aspects of the game are now up for enjoying!

    Congrats, Coach Jen!

    Xs and Os,

    Christie Leigh

    Image Credit: Christian Petersen of Getty Images

    More articles about Jen Welter:

    ESPN.Go.COM   

    ESPN.Go.COM- Just How Big Deal Jen Welter Coaching Is

    BizJournals- Things To Know About First Female NFL Coach

    NBCNews: Cardinals Hire First Female Coach

    ESPN.Go.COM:  Jen Welter and Sarah Thomas Break Glass Ceiling(s)

    Coach Dr. Jen Welter first female coach in NFL meets Sarah Thomas, first female official in the NFL during a preseason game. Photo Credit: AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

    Follow Dr. Coach Jen:  @jwelter47

  • Belles In Biz: Meet the Belle Behind PIZZAZZERIE!

    Aug 14, 2015 CATEGORIES: Belles in Biz, Gridiron Belles: A Guide to Saturdays in Dixie, SEC Football, Southern Tailgating, Vanderbilt



    If you’ve been wondering who is the brains–and the beauty— behind the awe-inspiring entertaining blog, Pizzazzerie, look no further! We are honored to feature Ms. Courtney Whitmore in Belles in Biz as the epitome  of a creative, ambitious, dedicated and oh-so-talented Belle who has been inspiring pizzazz for all occasions for over six years.  We already love her–and get LOTS of ideas from her website– and we know you will too.  Please, allow us to introduce and welcome, Ms. Courtney Whitmore.

    Name: Courtney Whitmore

    Team: Vanderbilt University

    Graduated from: Vanderbilt University

    Name of Your Biz: Pizzazzerie

    Explanation of Your Biz: I’m a food and entertaining blogger, cookbook author, and I style and create recipes and party ideas for brands!

    How did you get your start? After throwing lots of dinner parties for friends, I launched a blog to share photos from the parties. A few months later, I was lucky enough to land a book deal and get noticed by Tori Spelling as well as several local news channels. From there, I left my job and gave Pizzazzerie.com my full-time focus! And I’ve never looked back!

    So tell us, what exactly is your role? I’m in my 6th year with Pizzazzerie. My role is pretty much everything. I’m creating blog posts, styling and photographic shoots, prop shopping, working with clients, social media, and everything in between. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes to running a site and styling.

    Most challenging/rewarding part of your biz? The most challenging part of the biz is the ongoing momentum. It never ceases. There is always a holiday around the corner or more ideas to be styled. There aren’t very many lulls so it can get overwhelming. The most rewarding is seeing my creations up on the site for everyone to see. I love to get an idea, style it, photograph it, and then hit that publish button! I get such a thrill when I share ideas with readers!

    What is one thing your biz would not survive without? My laptop! It goes with me everywhere I go!

    What’s next? That’s a great question! This is such a fast moving industry that it’s hard to know exactly where it will go but I’d like to do another book at some point (maybe a children’s book) and continue to style for brands that I love and admire!

    Work-life balance, fact or fiction? Fiction, I love my job too much!

    Business advice to other Belles? For your own business to be wildly successful, you better eat, sleep, and breathe it! If you would choose that work over taking a nap or shopping at the mall, then you’re on the right track! You have to love it and have a huge passion for it because it’s a lot of work!

    Favorite part about being a Commodores fan? I love my alma mater! We’re a small but mighty group and my favorite part is our location (right here in Nashville, TN) and our colors (black and gold)!

    Favorite tailgate dish? Mini burgers!

    Game day drink of choice? Tailgate punch (a beer based punch).

    What do you always have in your touch down purse? My phone – so I can share pics on social media!

    Coach Crush? Kliff Kingsbury

    Heads or Tails? Heads

    Who wins it all this year? Auburn! 

    Don’t miss out on any of Pizzazzerie’s latest and greatest– follow here!

    Website, Facebook, Instagram, Pintrest, Twitter

     

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