You each are entrepreneurs, respectively. Your shop is Vogue recognized, Anne-Marie. Can you tell me more about Cicada and that journey?
AMG: I never had the intention of owning a store. I knew I probably wanted to do something on my own, but it never was, like, a certain field I wanted to go into. It was fate that it just organically happened here in Oxford. There was a need for it. I'm from right outside of Dallas, and there were these things that were happening there that I felt like could work in Oxford. And so I started with a day spa and transitioned into cosmetics, then into apparel. I sold the day spa, and then I focused mainly on apparel. And as the town grew, as Oxford grew as a community, I was able to build these businesses simultaneously. Then we opened a men's shop in 2011, and that's how our relationship started with Billy Reid. Some folks from Billy Reid came for a trunk show and saw Bradley's work, and that's how the relationship formed. Bradley took it from there. It was just a wonderful organic thing that happened with us and Billy.
The way things happen organically in the South is truly very special.
AMG: The company [Billy Reid] is such a breath of fresh air to me. I've been doing this for 25 years, and to meet a brand that really cares about partnering with people and advancing creatives by using their platform has been wonderful for us as a family, and for Bradley's business. We’ve been so grateful to the company for really helping to grow both of our careers, and then this opportunity has been amazing.
Speaking of Billy, Cicada, and style. What are each of your philosophies on getting dressed?
AMG: The first thing that comes to mind is just being comfortable. Flattering on the body, the shapes of the garments, and then mixing textures, colors, and prints. To me, that is how I express my artistic side. I can't paint. I can't really play music. So getting dressed is how I express my creativity. Learning how to work with fabrications and layers and how different pieces play together is something I try to teach my girls here at the store. When we're merchandising, I remind them to look at the mannequins and the racks. Making sure they consider how everything looks together and how you can think outside the box when getting dressed. But I'm going to quickly diverge here and talk about the Billy Reid brand. The quality of the clothing always blows my mind. The pieces I've had from 2011 are still staples in my wardrobe.
BG: [Laughs] I look homeless most days. Jokes aside, I dress the same way I have growing up – growing on a farm. I'm a boots, blue jeans, and t-shirt kind of guy. It's all function. And that's one thing that I love about Billy's clothes. They work well for me. I can go from the studio with paint on me to dinner at a nice restaurant, all in the same outfit. Most everything I have has paint on it.
That’s fair. Our pieces are meant to be lived in.
AMG: Absolutely. And I’ve been in this business so long – you just don’t see that kind of quality and attention to detail. It’s inventive, too.
For parting words, any lessons learned that you’d like to share?
AMG: Going through a financially hard time like the recession we had in 2009 was a challenging time because we could have lost everything. What I could glean is how important having mentors is. Having people that you can call upon that know more than you do. Sometimes you must put your humility on the back burner and ask for help. Know that you don't know everything. You can't do it all by yourself. It takes a village. As a family, we wouldn't be where we are if we didn't have the mentors that we've had. It's just essential to me - if you can't give back or be grateful for who or what has helped along the way, you just won't last very long.