This week’s Melanated & Motivated is focused on the power of sisters in business! Meet the twin-preneurs Bridgette and Bianca Tatum, the owners of the boutique, Eighttwenty91 (representing the twins’ birthday) Their story is one of many examples of keeping it in the family.
In 2012, the Atlanta-based entrepreneurs launched their first online boutique called Liz & Bee. As the twins began to mature in their personal lives so did the evolution of their passion, and 5 years later that’s when Eighttwenty91 was born. In the beginning stages as business owners, their style mission was to create a place for women (in college) who needed their wardrobe to be as transitional as their academic, and social schedules. Now, it’s changed as far as the age range, but the niche to provide ‘transitional pieces for their consumer’ has never changed!
Ladies, we can definitely relate to this because it’s nothing more confident than a stylish look that can take you from class to a conference, then straight to cocktail hour. That said, I had the lovely opportunity of speaking with Bianca Tatum, one-half of the Eighttwenty91 duo… Check out the full interview below.
“Eighttwenty91… Fashion & Style for every woman!” – Bridgette and Bianca Tatum
Lexii: Tell me about the genesis of Eighttwenty91.
Bianca: In 2012, my sister and I launched Liz and Bee online boutique, that’s where we started. It catered to college women who were multifaceted. Women that had classes in the daytime, enjoyed social events and also those who worked. We catered to the woman who needed transitional pieces that would work with any of these parts of her life. We use that same model now except we cater to a woman who has transitioned out of college, and into the working world who can create things to wear to class, or out to parties. It’s basically the same now, but for a mature audience.
We slowed down on our focus due to life changes like having children. My sister Bridgette is an educator and I’m working for an IT Placement Firm now. Back then it was women in their early twenties, but now we cater to a mature group of women from the ages of 25-36. Consumers who are in grad school, who like to do brunches, and who are looking for transitional pieces.
Lexii: When did you fall in love with fashion? What or who inspired you?
Bianca: I have been in love with fashion since I was a little girl, I distinctly remember being 13 or 14 working for a family member at a boutique called, Papers Dolls Boutique. I would dress the mannequins, pick out pieces, go to the mart to shop with her, do pricing, come up with marketing concepts. At such a young age that stuck with me. Still, at the moment you think it’s normal, but all the things that she showed me it really stuck with me and I brought it into my adulthood. Her name is Kimberly [cousin], she was the beginning of my passion and just throughout high school and middle school I stayed with it. I remember having a Teen Vogue subscription and cutting out pieces. Not knowing at the time I was making mood boards and picking out outfits. Just small things that carried with me into my adulthood.
Lexii: What do you look for when pulling trends for the upcoming season?
Bianca: Of course I look into fashion week and trends, but I still pick a lot of pieces based on my own style. I like to pull from men’s fashion, oversized jackets, and other apparel. Although we all have something we wear that shows a bit of skin we don’t always have to do that to be fashionable. I think it’s important to be stylish, but you should hold a level of integrity for yourself. I used to shop at H&M all the time and they wouldn’t transcend into the next year because they were out of style. So that’s when I knew I needed my own pieces that I could wear with something else. Transitional pieces are a continuous trend that we’d like to make a staple. For example, we have a burgundy suit. You can go topless to make it sexy or add a cami to make it classy… there’s a lot you can do with it.
Often times I face the same exact fashion obstacles Bianca touched on. I am constantly looking at my college (wardrobe) like “damn, I either going out or going to the gym!” Every girl can relate to trying to find the perfect outfit for an event/activity and you don’t want to be too much, but you don’t want to be unpresentable either.
Another point she mentioned that I loved is how uncomfortable fashion has become, especially fast fashion. Everything is latex, transparent, a plunging neckline, cutouts, and skin tight. And if this is your style, by all means, ROCK THE HELL OUT OF IT, but if your body isn’t built (complimentary) to wear these trends it’s hard to wear it with confidence. It’s time to bring the sophisticated woman back to fashion! Whether it’s a suit or a fanny pack, no matter your size, shape or height, Eighttwenty91 got you covered!