Story by Rachel Schwartzman – Shop Beehive – Photos by Katie Jameson for The Style Line
“Creativity is what allows us to step out of our lane and
try something new and magical,” Claire Fields, the inspiring owner of Beehive relayed in our interview below. “I like to think that Beehive, in its own way, allows our customers to start their days feeling unique and ready to conquer whatever comes along while remaining true to themselves.”
Nestled in the heart of Austin, Texas, Claire has put her sartorial talents to use by building a haven (or rather a hive) that is intent on empowering women to embrace their individual style unapologetically. With five thriving brick and mortar locations under her belt it’s hard not to be inspired by Claire’s efforts – and on an everyday level – the shop’s bold interiors, dynamic assortment, and friendly ambiance have led to the inception of Beehive’s truly vibrant community of women.
Enter today’s story, which features our visit with Claire and a couple of local insiders, Adriana (Ana) Morfitt of The Gold Atlas and Ali Gray of Darling for a Weekend, who frequent the shop. We were thrilled to spend some time with the talented trio who kindly took us on a virtual tour of the space, shared their thoughts on Austin’s style culture and what role they believe creativity plays in their everyday endeavors. Without giving too much away discover the full story featuring more from Claire, Ana and Ali and enjoy exclusive photos from our afternoon captured by Katie Jameson for The Style Line.
*THIS STORY WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN JANUARY 2017 AND REFLECTS AN UPDATED INTRODUCTION AND LAYOUT
Meet the shop-boss:
Hey hey, I’m Claire.
If I’m not at Beehive or working behind the scenes, you can usually find me recharging my energy snuggling with my greyhound, Aqua Girl, in her bed. Literally. In. Her. Bed. It’s funny, I’m quite social at the store so I love discovering my inner introvert during my off hours. I really love hanging with my husband at home or on the lake, taking walks with friends and visiting all the magical local businesses we have in Austin. I also make a point to take mini-vacays: weekends with my best gals in San Antonio shopping the downtown Mercado scene, fishing in Rockport, heck – I’m leaving next weekend to go to my besties Ranch, girls only. LOL. I hope someone knows how to make a fire, gracious.
This pretty much sums up what I value in life: family, best friends, and cultural getaways. I also think it is really important to be thankful every day. I am constantly grateful for all of the blessings in my life. I have the best employees in the world, a supportive family, friends that make me laugh all day long, and a dog that thinks I’m the Queen Bee.
Walk us through the inception of Beehive Boutique and what you hope it brings to the Austin community.
I like to think of myself as a trend watcher and setter. It’s just something I’ve naturally enjoyed and found I was pretty good at. I’ve always gotten a kick out of taking a trend and making it my own, but when I looked around at boutiques I didn’t see anyone making that shift. My goal is for Beehive to be a place that allows our customers to draw outside of the lines when it comes to fashion. The city of Austin prides itself on being weird and unique. We like to think of Beehive as doing its part in that arena.
How would you characterize the Beehive community and how did you first meet Ali and Adriana? How does the community (and running a small business) inspire your own approach to personal style?
The Beehive community is a group of gals, young and old, who aren’t afraid to be themselves and express their individuality through fashion. Our customers are constantly inspiring us with their style, which is why we created the hashtag #sobeehive. We encourage our customers to post images that inspire them and embody our mantra of being true to yourself. The wackier, the sillier, the quirkier, the better. I first met Adriana via email. She introduced herself, let me know she was a blogger and asked me to pull some clothes for a shoot in Marfa. As soon as I saw her Instagram I jumped on the opportunity for her to feature us! She’s just #sobeehive! The second we met, we immediately hit it off. I think I’ve tried to hire her at least 5 times. The girl is golden. I actually just met Ali for the first time, my goodness she is precious and has such great style. I hope to stay in touch and see her more.
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What is one question you wish people asked you about Beehive more often?
Wanna grab a drink? We seriously have the coolest customers on the planet and I wish I could get to know each and every one of them. I know we’d have so much fun!
How do you think creativity plays a role in some of the world’s bigger conversations and how do you believe Beehive/entrepreneurship contributing to this shift?
Creativity is what allows us to step out of our lane and try something new and magical. Whether it’s a new approach to a big or small problem, creativity is so important to maintain in our lives. If we lose that ability, then it’s hard to make meaningful changes in our lives and the world. I like to think that Beehive, in its own way, allows our customers to start their days feeling unique and ready to conquer whatever comes along while remaining true to themselves. If we all stayed closer in touch with who we are, maybe our lives would look a little different. What I’m wearing has always influenced my mood, motivation, and outlook.
… and the ladies who shop there:
Ana Morfitt: I’ve been in Austin for almost 9 years. I love the atmosphere. I love walking to get coffee and exploring all the new foodie restaurants. I am a huge fan of local businesses and designers. I love to be in the know and check out my friends that play music around town. I am recently engaged and love spending a night in with my man binge watching The Office with some halo top ice-cream and popcorn. I am a girl who always has multiple windows open in my head. I am always doing multiple things at one time and multitasking. I value transparency and quality time. I am a people person through and through, so conversations that touch my heart are what move me. I want to support people who do what they love and have a passion for telling their story. I value transparency because it allows others to open up about their own story, whatever it may be, to evoke heartfelt change or influence others in a positive way. This all inspires my style. My look, outfit of the day, whatever you might call it – is a way to express how I feel and gives me confidence to go about my day. I want to encourage women to feel confident in their own skin, flaws and all, because there is only one you and you are beyond special.
Ali Gray: I’m Ali. My life consists of jam sessions with my husband, good food, Bible-reading, open windows and being constantly barefoot. I long to live a life of adventure, loving myself and others truly. ‘Perfect’ is overrated and so is trying to be.
Tell us more your relationship to style. How has life in Austin inspired it and how would you characterize Austin city dweller’s collective approach to personal style?
Ana Morfitt: I like to tell a story and paint a picture in my head of what I want to embody that day and how it relates to my wardrobe. I love throwing on my favorite denim and a cute top with some mules or booties. I think Austin has changed my “statement” piece to “everyday” wear that I can mix and match and still dress up. I love a good statement piece, but I invest more into it now – instead of just buying a cheaper-trendy piece from a larger chain store. I like neutrals that still make a statement and I can wear them day-to-night. Austin is a relaxed city and personal style is everywhere but it always has this toned down cool-girl vibe to it and I love that. Personal style is eclectic here with a touch of boho and western. The Texas vibes are strong but there is still a cool slow fashion movement happening and I see more and more people leaning toward local boutiques and vintage shops. It’s exciting and I hope it continues to grow.
Ali Gray: Style doesn’t stick to rules, each individual and their style is their own expression of themselves. There is no one way to describe Austin’s style but, that’s the fun part. Each time you go out, you never know what eclectic collection of unique styles you’ll see.
When it comes to shopping at boutiques like Beehive what do you look for and what do you think sets Austin apart from other cities in terms of the shopping/fashion industry?
Ana Morfitt: I look for statement pieces that still mix into my everyday wardrobe. I love their 70s beach babe vibes. You can find a top, dress, cool pants, jumpsuit, etc with ease! If I ever need something cute for a night out or an event, I go to Beehive. They also have the cutest accessories that take runway looks and make them trendy without breaking the bank. Not to mention – the CUTEST most fab décor! I wish my whole house looked like Beehive. I think Austin has this beautiful community of makers. I think what sets our fashion industry apart is the growth in local shops, brands, and designers. They are unique and it’s not a competition. There are so many beautifully curated storefronts and awesome pop-ups.
I think Austin is finally growing in the fashion area compared to 10 years ago. We still have the fun artsy pop-up vendors, but now there is a bigger market for local shops that put the sweat and tears and heart into beautiful clothing and pieces that stand out and tell a story. People have a deeper desire to know where their clothes are made and how and by whom. I love the growth but there are still those old Austin shops that have been around forever and give that edgy energy to the industry!
Ali Gray: I prefer shopping at boutiques rather than chains not only for the higher ethical standards but the people behind them. Shop owners, designers, and employees put care into clothes and the people buying them. Unique pieces made from brilliant designs are always the most fun to wear! Austin is home to shops from sleek to hippy, some born from Austinites and others from new locals bringing a different flair.
When it comes to your ideal day in town, where would we find you and what is your recommendation for first time Austin dwellers?
Ana: Well I would definitely be at one of our many local coffee shops. I personally love Figure 8 Coffee Purveyors and Brew & Brew. I love shopping on East 11th street and then going to grab brunch at Hillside Farmacy. They have the best bloody marys and amazing cold brew. The fried egg sandwich is my favorite. I recently fell in love with the new Grizzelda’s restaurant on East Cesar Chavez. It is full of palm-print and hot pink décor with a tropical-Mexican food menu. Their ceviche and salsas were amazing. I also love shopping on South Lamar. There are so many great local boutiques in that area and I could spend the whole day there! Dylan Wylde and Noah Marion Quality Goods to name a few. My neighborhood is Cherrywood and there are so many restaurants, bars, and coffee shops to walk to in that area. Patrizi’s is a hidden gem next to a bar called the Vortex. It is an Italian food truck and a cute date night spot. Violet Crown Cinema is a great place to chill and see a good independent-indie film with delicious food in a cozy small theater.