Behold the winning entry of our Intagram contest, submitted by Texas-based apparel and home furnishings label Double D Ranch. Learn more about the label, and how it utilizes Instagram to connect with consumers in the Q & A below:
1. Tell us a little more about Double D Ranch, who you are as a brand, where you originated.
Double D Ranch started in 1989 as Double D Ranchwear. The Double D stands for Doug and Daughters. The “wear” was dropped when they added the home furnishings collection. The business was born out of Cheryl’s inability to handle the thin air atop the mountains at a resort at Angel Fire, New Mexico, where the whole clan had gone on a ski trip. Cheryl spent the day shopping in Taos, where she spotted a man wearing a coat made from a Pendleton blanket. She stayed in Taos and found the little shop where a man took custom orders and made the coats one at a time. She ordered one for herself. Cheryl and younger sister Audrey ran an interior design business in Yoakum, Texas.
The sisters made their way to the Dallas Market Center looking for home interior ideas and found that they couldn’t get through a hallway or courtyard without being asked about Cheryl’s new coat. Audrey recalled, “One lady even stopped the bus we were on to get on to find out where Cheryl got the coat. We finally had to check her coat in, because we couldn’t get anything done”. The sisters told their dad about the attention the coat drew; he suggested they make the coats and sell them.
Coming up with samples was a tough mission, but ingenuity and luck paid off and they made it to their temporary booth at the Dallas Market Center with the first Double D Ranchwear collection. Retailers came into the booth saying “I’ll take 2,4,4,2″. Cheryl and Audrey wrote down the numbers although they didn’t have a clue what 2,4,4,2 meant. They had to go to another booth to find out the person was ordering two extra small, four small, four medium, and two large jackets. The good news was they left the market with $150,000 dollars worth of orders. The bad news, they knew it would cost $170,000 dollars to make them. But mother and dad’s philosophy was, if you say you’re going to do something, then do it. We didn’t plan to embark on a large business venture, but Cheryl had been romanced by the beauty and culture of the Southwest during summers spent in New Mexico.
She began to envision clothes with a historic flair that would reflect the spirit of the American West. She came up with the Scout Jacket, a fitted, military style jacket that has become Double D’s signature item. A variation of the jacket is included in every fall line. Cheryl also uses velvet, wool, suede and leather.
2. What was your inspiration behind Double D Ranch’s winning Instagram entry?
The inspiration of our entry into the contest steams from our entire 2012 Spring Collection entitlted FREEBIRD. Iris Apfel hit the center of the collection when I added her book from the MET’s 2005 exhibition of her private collection “Rare Bird of Fashion, The Irrecerent Iris Apfel.” Each page was fascinating with Iris’ idiosyncratic outfits. And low and behold there were a few pages with Double D Ranchwear pillows from years ago in her Upper East Side apartment! I love that Iris is a freebird, a free spirit. So with this collection I wanted to fuse accessories and mix colors, as well as have elements of our feathered friends such as feather zipper ties. The photo combination we submitted, is of our Joya Real Vest and a few elements you can find in our FREEBIRD collection (silver and turquoise jewelry and bright hair extensions to allow our models to subtly resemble colors of actual birds). Not only do we think the look is great for Spring, but it also totally represents Double D Ranch’s FREEBIRD collection.
3. How important is Instagram and all other social media for Double D Ranch?
We saw Instagram in one of Stylesight’s reports earlier this year. It perked my interest and told me we needed to be using it from a business standpoint so I started playing around with it. We have a few employees that use it so since then, we’ve been trying to see how to integrate it into our social networking plan. We’ve been working with the application on our Facebook page, trying to get our customers and followers to use Instagram whether it be through sharing our submitted entry or holding our own contest or simply swapping Instagram usernames with our customers so we can follow them back. From a visual standpoint, Instagram works beautifully with fashion and we can’t wait to come up with innovative ways to share behind-the-scenes photos and first-look images with our valued customers.
4. Tell us more about your Design History 101 posts on your blog, Double Talk.
The thing here is that every collection I’ve done for over 20 years is inspired and based on
either personal stories or history. We do 101s to educate readers about the background of the pieces. We kept getting readers write comments like “Isn’t that neat!” or “Love hearing about your past” or “What a great way to learn more about these pieces!” Knowing the story hopefully gives customers an idea behind the personal touch we make each garment with. It’s also a fantastic way to talk about details and why I designed a jacket a certain way or why I called a dress what I called it. The blog serves me as well however, in that each post is sort of a record of previous collections. It’s great to go back and read archived posts, I’ve even recalled a story while I’ve been designing because of the blog!
5. Where do you get your design inspiration for upcoming seasons?
Well for starters, of course we use Stylesight. Lots of inspiration steams from the culture we live in here in Texas and what we are feeling at the moment. Not being in New York can be disadvantageous because we aren’t in the thick of the fashion Mecca, but the advantage of being sort of isolated in Texas is that we have the opportunity to look towards New York, Paris, Milan and use that as a jumping off point. Then we can mold trends into what our everyday customer wants. It allows us to do our own thing. Family and faith are two huge elements of our company that we pride ourselves in. People inspire me. Hearing stories of my family’s past inspire me. Music inspires me. We are very excited about our upcoming collections, such as spring 13, which was inspired by music festivals. Being so close to Austin we played around with South By Southwest and Austin City Limits in particular, but others like Coachella and Lollapalooza played influential as well.