When Diana Harbour has an idea, no matter how grand, she doesn’t back down. More than ten years ago, she had the idea to start a boutique in Athens, Georgia - right on College Ave. Today, Red Dress Boutique (yes, THAT boutique - the one funded by investor Mark Cuban on ABC’s Shark Tank), is a multi-million dollar in-store and online boutique that ships nationally and employs 100+ Athens and Atlanta locals.
An update on Red Dress which recently aired on Shark Tank. But you've gotta read for yourself Diana’s story about how Red Dress came about.
A couple of years ago, Diana had another crazy idea. Let’s start an entirely new boutique.
She already has one wildly successful boutique (I forgot to mention though, I may be a liiiittle biased because I’m an intern for their Creative Department), so the obvious next step is to add another to the mix.
Owner Diana and and Red Dress/Fringe employees Sandra, Danika, Ida, Sarah, and Maygen at the Fringe grand opening.
She did just that. After two years of ideas, plans, construction, and creativity, Fringe With Benefits was born. You can find Fringe on Clayton St., right next to the new Urban Outfitters. (A shrewd business move! Diana and her husband and co-owner Josh never back down from a challenge.)
I asked my boss, Red Dress VP and Creative Director Kristen Kacmar, a few questions about how Fringe With Benefits came about. Here’s what she had to tell me (in between directing a team of 15+ employees, eating a 15-min lunch, and answering 15-20 different emails and messages):
G: When/how did the idea for Fringe first come about?
K: It’s been in Diana’s mind for years and is just another way she can express herself creatively. Red Dress has its own aesthetic and we were comfortable with it, but Diana really wanted to do more.
G: What was the store opening like for you?
K: It was a really proud moment and a true team effort. From the vision, to the layout, to the contractors working with us, to Diana’s creative spins to [Art Director] Christy’s creative spins, to the behind the scenes team putting things together logistically. There was an overwhelming sense of pride for everyone involved to see what happens when everyone works together tirelessly.
Owners Diana and Josh and warehouse manager Justin admire the newly finished Fringe with Benefits the night of the fashion show and grand opening.
G: What’s your long-term goal for Fringe?
K: Keep working with the community artistically to keep it fresh, local, & relevant.
G: What makes you most excited about Fringe?
K: Feeling like it’s a real part of the community. There’s a true mixture of art and fashion, which is really the heart of Athens.
There's no doubt Fringe With Benefits has seen success in its first months since the grand opening. With an evolving artistic style and a team of driven entrepreneurs at the helm, Fringe will only continue to thrive.