Notes on Starting a Business: Isle of Skye Cashmere

RitaNote to Reader: Customers often ask how I got started and I thought to respond in greater detail with my blog. Below is the overview of a conversation I recently had with our chief blogger.

Feel free to ask any questions you may have!

Question:

Why did you start Isle of Skye Cashmere?

Response:

We had just moved back to the States after spending years in South America. Venezuela –our home away from home– was warm enough to make sweaters unnecessary, so I needed to update my winter wardrobe.

After shopping at high end boutiques and department stores across the country my choices were surprisingly clear – in fact I was shocked by my limited options! Cashmere came in only two kinds: loosely knit and liable to pill, or of high quality but more expensive than dinner at The French Laundry!

Why did I want cashmere – in particular, Scottish cashmere? Not only is it whisper soft and stylish, but a cashmere sweater is so gentle on skin. Allergies had always bothered me and back in the States, the fall pollen was especially taxing. Also, winter was on its way and looking over my closet left me feeling unprepared.

But I needed something I could afford, something that would last…

So just like that, Isle of Skye Cashmere was born.

I ended up buying one of those sweaters more expensive than The French Laundry –I needed something! – but I also researched its origins, trying to find its actual cost.

Pretty soon I’d convinced myself to start my own business – never mind I hadn’t worked in business for over 10 years!

High quality, affordable cashmere – my wardrobe needed it! – but more importantly, I thought what I wanted was representative: maybe other women had spent days shopping at the best stores, frustrated. Maybe they even needed it due to sensitive skin, like me.

I contacted a mill in Scotland (the research I mentioned above), my husband helped with a website, and just a week after receiving my first shipment from Scotland, my first order came in: a twin set in periwinkle blue.

I was surprised, even thrilled.

Things were slow at first (I stored inventory in a room next to my home office.) But one order led to the next and then… Real Simple Magazine called! But that’s a story for another time.

A few years later I opened my first store, surprising everyone – most of all myself.

Looking back, you could almost say I found my way into the business the way people say you find your way into anything that makes good sense! What I had was one really good idea. But I learned that when you’re starting a business, good ideas are the key to sustainable growth and long-term success!

Isle of Skye Cashmere Summertime Style

Summertime…

And cashmere cardigans make living easy. For those cool nights on the Cape, nothing quite compares. Likewise with cashmere shawls: they’ll keep you comfortable, chic. Warm but never too warm, our sweaters and shawls –made with pure Scottish Cashmere– are perfect for those balmy island nights, for those late evening walks down shore. So say you’re fogged in on the Grey Lady –‘Sconset, Nantucket– or maybe you’ve gone out west –the Bay Area– to visit an ambitious, adventurous son (this August mine is married a year!): a sweater or shawl ensures you won’t miss out on Surfside clambakes, on late afternoon rambles through Golden Gate Park. Lightweight, whisper soft: Isle of Skye Cashmere is clothing to wear with any kind of weather – no matter the coast. It makes comfort and style easy; it gives shelter from the fog. Summertime with family and friends! If only things were always this good!

Store Sale for 2 Days only : Sept 30 – Oct 1

Dear Friends:Rita

As many of you know, I have closed the Isle of Skye Retail Store while I continue my rehabilitation for my broken femur. My surgeons have told me it will take a full year to rehab, and I take them at their word.

During this time, I continue to have the Isle of Skye Cashmere website open.

I know my Cincinnati customers prefer to come to the store, so I have decided to open for my valued customers. My store will be open for a Special Sale , Wednesday, September 30 and Thursday, October 1 from 11am – 5:30pm. All Isle of Skye Cashmere sweaters will be on sale at 40% off. My other merchandise will be on sale at 50% off.

This will be a great opportunity to stock up on Christmas gifts!

In addition, I have invited ThRedheads and Girl with Pearl ( from
Cleveland) to join in this sale.

ThRedHeads offers “Men’s formalwear with Flair. Tux shirts with a
Twist and gorgeous cumberbund sets.” All ThRedHeads merchandise will be on sale at 35% off.

Girl with Pearl offers “Luxe pearls, pendants, gemstones, lizard
purses, buckles and more.” All Girl with Pearl merchandise will be on sale at 35% off.

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone! I miss you all!

Rita Jones

Isle of Skye Cashmere
7801 Laurel Ave.
Cincinnati OH 45243

6 Ways to Wear Green

Green has always been one of my favorite colors, but it’s not always the easiest color to wear. It can sometimes be hard to find the right shade for your coloring and your wardrobe. Luckily, this color is on-trend this season, so there are plenty of rich, beautiful shades to choose from right now! Isle of Skye has offered a soft, heathered, grass-green in many of our sweater styles for a couple of years now and we just received a gorgeous, deep Loden green in a couple of our cable styles. We have some beautiful hues in several other styles as well, but they are going fast! Whether green has been a staple in your wardrobe for years, or you are just starting to explore this new trend, I thought I’d offer a couple tips on how to style this secretly versatile color!

AshleyFinalGreen1#1: Wear it as a NEUTRAL – In working with color, I have found that colors can actually be more versatile than neutrals, because it can be worn with ALL your basics. A classic v-neck cashmere cardigan in a beautiful, rich green is as versatile as the style itself! You can wear it with black, brown, white, navy, grey, denim or khaki!

#2: Wear it WITH a neutral – Most shades of green are going to look great with any shade of khaki, oatmeal, beige or taupe. You can always wear an oatmeal cardigan or sweater set with a pair of green pants, or use a vivid shade of green to set off an achromatic outfit.

#3: Make it your POP COLOR – Kelly Green doesn’t have to be reserved for St. Patty’s Day. One of my go-to pieces is a stunning Kelly green Samantha Sung dress, and the color is beautiful with a tan or without! Wear this wonderful jewel tone in a cable cashmere sweater with a simple white blouse and a pair of dark jeans for an easy outfit that really stands out.

#4: Wear it WITH a pop color – Olive Green looks FANTASTIC with Fuchsia. One of my favorite outfits right now is a pair of olive green J Brand jeans with a tailored white blouse and a pair of Fuchsia suede L.K.Bennett pumps. The bright pink accents the earthy green perfectly!

#5: Wear it with BABY BLUE – Darker greens, like Olive or Loden, pair beautifully with light blues for a soft, sophisticated look. Pair a dark green pullover or cardigan with a pair of light-wash jeans for a casual, but unexpected look, or try the reverse. Wear a baby blue cardigan with a pair of olive green jeans or trousers for a dressier day-into-evening outfit. If you are wearing a cardigan, stick to an off-white blouse or camisole to maintain a refined palette.

AshleyFinalGreen2

#6: Accent it with LEOPARD PRINT – Add a touch of cat-titude by wearing olive green jeans or kelly green trousers with a leopard print belt, scarf or shoes! The neutral animal print on a nature-inspired hue is the perfect way to accessorize this color.

I hope you are as excited as I am to run home and see what outfits I can come up with…I’m falling in love with the color green all over again!

Ashley

Isle of Skye Cashmere
7801 Laurel Ave
Madeira OH 45243
513-271-2589

How to Pull Your Look Together: It’s All in the Details!

Whether dressing for work, a day out with your girlfriends or a romantic dinner-date downtown, I find an outfit isn’t quite complete without the finishing touches. Accessorizing is the best way to transform an outfit and show off your own unique style, and you don’t have to have access to Vogue’s sample closet either! In fact, some of my all-time favorite outfits have been created with just a few fantastic pieces.

2013 10 07 Ashley Blog Pic 2

Start with a pair of beautifully tailored pants or great fitting jeans and a clean, simple top…the crew neck cashmere tunic shown to the left, creates the perfect canvas for jewelry and scarves. Keep your outfit simple, classic and comfortable, then jazz it up using some of your favorite pieces! Add a statement necklace, or layer long, delicate chains together to create a statement of your own. Try stacking some chunky bracelets together and add a scarf…a beautiful, printed scarf, like the one shown on the right…to really pull your look together.2013-10-07-Ashley-Blog-Pic-4

Be sure to maintain a balance though, it can be easy to over-do it. I like to balance a stack of bracelets on one arm with a single ring on the opposite hand…or, if you’re wearing great earrings, you probably don’t need a necklace. I usually layer pieces on, then edit before walking out the door. In most cases, less is more. Now go ahead and try it for yourself!               by Ashley at Isle of Skye Cashmere

 

 

Isle of Skye Cashmere
7801 Laurel Ave
Madeira OH 45243
513-271-2589