It was more than a decade ago that Diana Harbour decided to open a brick-and-mortar shop in Athens, Georgia, called The Red Dress Boutique. She and her husband, Josh, eventually grew that business into an online success, bringing a distinct aesthetic to their e-commerce site. Diana Harbour wrote on the Red Dress Boutique website that they built a unique enterprise by asking customers what they wanted to see in the shop, and then providing it.
The Red Dress Boutique got an investment from Mark Cuban on Shark Tank and has become one of the show’s most well-known successes. They were featured on the companion series Beyond the Tank during which, as Inquisitr reported on last year, they appeared to have a disagreement with Cuban about plans to overhaul their website. After the program, however, the Harbours took Cuban’s advice, choosing to retool their existing site instead of building a new one from scratch.
Fans of The Red Dress Boutique can get the full retail experience by visiting their shop in Athens, which is still the cornerstone of the business. But as of the spring of 2016, Georgians have another option: the new shop Fringe With Benefits. When My Athens Is… covered the opening back in March, it described the store as “boho chic,” with its space featuring fabric installations designed by two graduates of the University of Georgia. The article uploaded a series of photographs of the store, which appears spacious with high ceilings and hardwood floors.
According to someone who worked closely with Harbour in the development and launch of Fringe, the concept was brewing for some time before it came to fruition. Kristen Kacmar, Vice President and Creative Director of Red Dress, said in an interview posted to Explore Athens in July that the store is another outlet for its originating entrepreneur.
“It’s been in Diana’s mind for years and is just another way she can express herself creatively. Red Dress has its own aesthetic and we were comfortable with it, but Diana really wanted to do more.”
The store opening that happened in the spring was particularly meaningful for Kacmar, who credited the team for bringing the new shop together.
“It was a really proud moment and a true team effort. From the vision, to the layout, to the contractors working with us, to Diana’s creative spins to [Art Director] Christy’s creative spins, to the behind the scenes team putting things together logistically. There was an overwhelming sense of pride for everyone involved to see what happens when everyone works together tirelessly.”
Kacmar emphasized the artistic element of the business and its connection to Athens.
“There’s a true mixture of art and fashion, which is really the heart of Athens.”
She said they will continue to make the shop “fresh, local and relevant” by working with the community.
The Explore Athens article noted that The Red Dress Boutique employs more than 100 people in Athens and Atlanta, and is now a multi-million dollar company.
While Harbour and her team work to bring a seemingly endless supply of stylish clothing and accessories to their customers, a press release from last week revealed that the company has found a new digital marketing partner in Visiture. The release said the company will focus on paid search and search marketing efforts for The Red Dress Boutique.
During their Shark Tank pitch, Diana and Josh discussed how they had gained a huge organic social media following, and were looking for shark partners to strengthen their technology on the back end so they could scale their website and keep pace with their rapid growth. Both Cuban and Robert Herjavec agreed to invest at the end of the pitch, but only Cuban has appeared on follow-up segments on Shark Tank and Beyond the Tank.
Shark Tank airs Friday nights on ABC.
[Featured Image by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images]