As someone who has subscribed to fashion magazines for as long as I can remember, it’s fairly easy to put together a dream wardrobe gazing at glossy pages filled with pretty people dressed in fancy clothes. However, 99 percent of the time, drag your eyes to the bottom of the page and they leap out of your skull upon discovering that the pair of professional work pumps you’re coveting cost a mere $598.
For young business professionals, building a sophisticated wardrobe on a budget can be just as difficult as finding a job itself. Before you pull your hair out and succumb to wearing sweats to your next interview, take a trip to Trish’s Garage, located at 1249 Woodward Ave., Detroit, for a little bit of assistance.
Founder and co-owner Ebony Rutherford hails from Virginia, but was raised in Detroit. She majored in sales and economics at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, where she was prepared academically with the skills and knowledge to succeed as an executive assistant—but not the wardrobe.
After gaining her dream sales position, Rutherford found herself practically breaking the bank to acquire proper clothing for the job—the too short skirt and inappropriate open toe shoes she wore to a prestigious event just weren’t cutting it.
“That life changing experience inspired me to start Trish’s Garage, a fashion boutique that helps students, recent grads and young professionals to put looks together on a budget,” Rutherford said.
Rutherford provides patrons of Trish’s Garage with consultation services regarding the best clothing purchases to make, along with affordable options to choose from. After her own clothing-related fiasco, Rutherford went into business back in 2007 with her sister.
“An important factor is that your first impression, whether verbal or non-verbal, is your last impression,” Rutherford said. “We wanted to be able to provide some helpful tricks and tips so that you make the best impression.”
So how exactly does that work? There are two style mechanics on duty at Trish’s Garage (one male, one female) who simply get the conversation started. What’s your typical style like? What makes you feel most comfortable? From there, they’ll give you examples of pieces that should be in your closet, and how you can build your wardrobe on a budget.
If an in-store visit just won’t suffice, there are three additional levels of service, including an “Oil Change,” “Tune Up” and “Overhaul,” all of which are fee-based and require a home visit. Each involves a different level of personal shopping to a complete closet purge.
“Building a wardrobe should be fun; we suggest that (women) have a great white blouse, dark denim jeans, dress slacks (black or gray) and a cardigan sweater,” Rutherford said. “All of the pieces work well together and can be mixed for a casual or corporate look.”
Rutherford hopes to see Trish’s Garage grow into a permanent space near a college (the perfect place for her clientele), as well as turn into a learning facility where young entrepreneurs can learn how to run a business with hands on experience. She herself received hands on business experience through local services provided by D:hive and TechTown’s Pilot Program and Blocks Retail Boot Camp, respectively.
“D:hive helped me articulate a very strong business plan and I was able to network with other like-minded entrepreneurs. The pilot space not only taught me how to service my customers and merchandise, it has also opened up opportunities for permanent space,” Rutherford said. “(TechTown) provided me resources for funding through Kiva Zip Detroit as well as mentorship that continues after my class was over. It takes a village to raise an entrepreneur, and collectively, both D:hive and TechTown have done an amazing job.”
Since the grand opening of Trish’s Garage at the Woodward Avenue location, Rutherford said the support of the community and the fashion boutique’s customers have been simply amazing.
“The city is like a diamond in the rough. There is so much opportunity to be creative and innovative. Young professionals like me take pride in Detroit and are willing to put in the work,” Rutherford said. “There is no other place that I would rather be than Detroit.”