Monday, December 01, 2008

Introducing The Annex

As I travel it has always been a priority of ours to scour cities looking for the current "hot spot" in fashion and retailing. Many times we find ourselves following the buzz, whether it be a rumor or quick mention from our friends in the fashion industry. As I was wandering around in my own back yard, (Royal Oak, MI) I stumbled upon one of the most refined and elegant jewelry, accessories and home decor retailers I have visited in some time. No buzz, no friends whispering, just pure luck in my own hood. So let me be the first to formally start the buzz and introduce you to The Annex in Royal Oak. Recently I had a chance to catch up with Doug and Annie (Founders and Owners) and get their thoughts on all kinds of shit. Enjoy!

-Where did The Annex name come from?

  • The Thesaurus..ha ha The Annex is another word for extension or an edition, so we were thinking that the store is an extension of us and accessories like clothing is really an extension of your personality so it just fit.

-What is the Annex, where is it located and why should people visit?

  • The Annex is a store filled with accessories; jewelry, hats, scarves, belts, books, candles, mirrors, frames, wine rack, tea cups, and so much more! But it’s definitely a space were people should feel comfortable to take their time look through the books, take their time, and enjoy the atmosphere.
  • We are located at 738 S. Washington Ave. – Right on the corner of Washington and Lincoln – across from Oakland Community College.
  • People should visit the store because they will truly find something unique. It’s a great place to find yourself something special or the best gift ever. Accessories are a great way to update your wardrobe without getting new clothes. Really… accessories make an outfit!

-I understand you and Annie are married, how does that work doing the whole work and relationship thing?

  • We aren’t technically married – we tell everyone we’re mentally married J But it works because our personalities complement each other well in business. I do most of the buying, inventory, and organizing and Doug is great at all the marketing and advertising.

-What’s your long term goal both personally and as a retailer?

  • Personally I want to be happy, enjoy what I do and really stay passionate about the things I’m involved in.
  • As a retailer I want success for the store and I would love to venture into clothing and outerwear someday.

-What do you enjoy about your work?

  • We both LOVE fashion, art, antiques, decorating, and pretty much anything that lets you be creative and that’s what we do every day at The Annex.

-What do you hate about your work?

  • It is definitely hard work, but in a good way. So I guess there is nothing we hate about it, maybe ask us in a couple of years J

-What are you most proud of either personally or professionally?

  • I’m very proud of us for opening the store and really following through with our dream (sounds cheesy but true).

-What skills are needed for a job like yours?

  • Passion and drive! Oh yea and organizational skills!

-How do you market the Annex?

  • We’ve just been trying different outlets, for example Six Degrees, Metro Times, ect… We’ve also been lucky and have got some great free press. We were on Channel 2 and 4 as well as being featured in some newspapers and online sources. I think once we’ve been open for a substantial amount of time we will know what works for us and what doesn’t. We know that word of mouth is the best advertisement so anyone we meet that loves what we’re doing and will help to spread the word is great!

-How do you stay motivated?

  • Lots of Red Bull! Just kidding - We really do love this and are passionate about the store so that keeps us motivated.

-The athstetic of the store is amazing, where do you get your creative inspiration from?

  • Well thank you! We were definitely inspired by our travels. I think the more places you go and things you see the more creative you become. I also grew up around antiques and my mom, dad, and grandparents were all very artistic people. My grandparents had an amazing old home full of great antiques and artifacts. They were celebrities in the antique world back in their hay day J I actually have used quite a bit of their things as displays in the store and when I get an idea and need some old unique artifact I rummage through their things and I almost always find what I’m looking for.

-If there was one thing you could change about fashion/design/jewelry ect what would it be?

  • I would probably rip any visible labels off everything! I really don’t like the label obsession. Don’t get me wrong I love everything from Prada to Dior, but I don’t need the label raging across the front of my shirt and I don’t by something based on the label either. If an item is amazing and well made that’s all that matters. Some of the smallest designers are the greatest. You have to think of it like this, CoCo Channel didn’t just become an amazing designer overnight and think of how cool it would have been to be wearing her designs when she was just starting out! Discovering the next big designer or trend is the most fun thing about fashion!
The Annex
738 S. Washington
Royal Oak, MI 48067



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