New ecommerce sites launch all the time, but sometimes they’re special. Jaclyn Bethany launched Audrey Grace in her hometown of Jackson, Mississippi about a year ago and it first popped up on our radar earlier this year when she staged a Marie Antoinette-themed pop-up shop at the Highline here in NYC. She shoots dreamy look books with cool bloggers and stocks the kinds of precious, ultra-feminine, vintage-inspired (and vintage) pieces we can never seem to find outside the pages of magazines like Lula (one of her sources of inspiration) and, like, Zooey Deschanel’s wardrobe.
She sources her inventory from all over the world and now those perfect frocks from hard-to-find brands like Orla Kiely, Lauren Moffatt and Rachel Antonoff are all in one place, accessible for all on audreygraceshop.com, which officially launched last week. To promote the launch, Bethany collaborated with Claire Cottrell on a pretty video, which you can see here exclusively.
Bethany’s also an example of a new trend we’ve noticed of young twentysomethings opening up shops straight out of (or, in her case, while still in) college. She just graduated from Fordham with a BA in Acting, which she says is her true passion (perhaps the name of her business wasn’t the only thing inspired by Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly). We chatted with her about how she did it and what’s next. Watch the video below and read on for our interview with Bethany.
Fashionista:Can you tell me a little bit about your background, what you did before opening your store/what you studied in school?
Jaclyn Bethany: I am originally from Jackson, Mississippi, although I am now based in New York. I just graduated from Fordham with a BA in Acting. I am first and foremost an actor. I have been acting and singing since I was a little girl. I suppose the fashion bug sort of set in at some point too. I was always very interested in how a costume can transform a person into a character. I come from the deep South, and a very fashionable family. My grandmother and mother instilled in me at a very early age that dressing well was important, and I learned through them that fashion could be very fun.
What inspired you to open Audrey Grace? How long ago did it open?
I was inspired by an uber feminine aesthetic that I felt was missing from boutiques today. The type of clothes you see in beautiful magazines like Lula, with a reasonable price point. I wanted to stock clothes that were hard to find and have them be accessible to girls everywhere. It was perfect timing really, because many of the SS12 collections were so vintage and girly. I love the way the women in the 50s and 60s dressed. I love Old Hollywood. The store was inspired specifically by Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly. I was also inspired by many stylish actresses today- Alexa Chung, Kirsten Dunst, Michelle Williams, Elle and Dakota Fanning, etc.
I have been working on the store for about a year. I have traveled all over the world to source amazing pieces for the boutique.
How did you fund the store in the beginning?
My parents helped me open the store and I am forever grateful to them. Specifically, my father because he is a business owner himself and really helped me with this process. I could not have opened the store without them.
How do you find/decide what to stock?
I initially just started contacting independent designers, but then I reached out to higher end designers and vintage dealers from all over the world. I got to work with the owners of my favorite London boutique Koh Samui (which is closed now), which was pretty cool.