Growing up on a farm in Kiowa, a small city in southern Kansas, Hope Foltz said she didn’t have much exposure to the clothing and fashion worlds, but she’d loved them all the same.
She said she knew she wanted to be involved in the industry ever since she was a young girl.
That passion has culminated in Foltz running her own online boutique, Revelry Thread Co., which opened in March, with her husband Brett.
Foltz, 32, graduated from K-State in 2010 after studying apparel and textiles and business. She met Brett while at K-State, but the two did not become a couple until they were both living in Wichita. After they married, Brett received a job offer with K-State so the couple moved back to Manhattan in 2015 to start their family with their now 5-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son.
As the couple became settled, Foltz decided to work as a stay-at-home mom, but even before she said she was having trouble finding an industry job that spoke to her. Since the couple had already established in 2017 another online retail business, Catty Shack, which sells K-State golf apparel, Foltz used her experience to take the plunge of starting a trendy and everyday wear women’s boutique.
“I just felt like I knew I’ve wanted to do this for quite a long time and I was kind of holding out for the right timing to make sure everything was in line,” she said. “If I started this, I wanted to do it the … way I’ve always envisioned and dreamed it.”
From flowy Bohemian dresses to animal-print booties (which are short boots), Hope said she wanted to make the clothing she sells accessible, multi-occasion and affordable with a little bit of country flair thrown in as a homage to her roots.
“I knew I needed to find an image to separate me because online shopping is pretty saturated right now,” Foltz said. “There’s a lot of options out there so I knew I needed to find a way to stand out so I just wanted to make it everyday, casual pieces that could go from work to play and also something that really was affordable.”
While her husband helps with some things like photographing shoots, Foltz runs pretty much every aspect of the business herself — handpicking what items make it onto the site, running the social media accounts, marketing, designing graphics, fulfilling orders and even modeling.
Foltz said she is lucky her schedule allows her to balance all those different tasks.
“I always consider myself a mom first, (my kids) always come first,” she said, “But definitely this is what works so well with our family. I can kind of set my own time and hours and get the work in when I can, so a lot of it is when they’re in school in the morning or in the evenings after they’ve gone to sleep. It’s great to have the flexibility to be able to squeeze all this stuff in when it works for our family.”
Foltz said she tries to lean into new ways of publicizing her brand to set it apart. Revelry Thread’s ambassador program allows people with social media followings to apply.
If accepted, they can share the clothing and a discount code with their followers, making a commission through any sales made with that code. Foltz also utilizes TikTok, a short-video social media platform popular with teens and young adults, to show off the clothing.
“I feel like I’m always brainstorming, ‘OK, what’s a new way to set ourselves apart and be noticed?,” Foltz said.
“Like I said, there’s so many online shops out there. That’s definitely where the trend is heading towards instead of the storefront ... so we’re trying to come up with different things.”
Foltz was able to work out an exclusive partnership to create a K-State and Rolling Stones line, with K-State’s Willie the Wildcat alongside the iconic logo of a mouth with its tongue sticking out.
She also has hosted a handful of pop-up shops in Wichita and Manhattan, which she said were helpful in getting to know her customers face-to-face.
Ultimately, Foltz said, she hopes she can get a warehouse and storefront for the boutique, but her main focus now is learning what customers like and growing the selection with them.
“I definitely wanted (Revelry Thread) to be affordable so that everyone felt like they could shop with us, but also it’s a goal to handpick items that everyone feels comfortable and confident in.
“We want to find things that make everyone feel their best in and excited to wear, and hopefully we become a store that when someone has a special occasion coming up they think to come shop with us.”